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A more artistic use of this new technology is to create sculptures with incredible intricacy and precision. However, most artists would tell you that creating art isn't about getting the exact measurements correct. There's a fluidity and natural aspect that can only come from the so-called imperfect movements of the hand.
Well the 3Doodler is a pen that can help do both. It claims to be the world's first pen of its kind, requiring no software or technical knowledge really and using ABS or PLA plastic (which are commonly used "inks" in 3D printers and available quite widely). It's pretty much a plug-and-play device: plug it in, load it up and start drawing. It's even got a universal power supply so there's no need for an adaptor if you're outside the US (it works for 110V or 240V).
As the name implies, the pen is designed for doodling in 3D. You can use the pen to trace out the shape on a flat surface and then lift it and stick it together, or you can literally lift the pen off the paper to create a 3D drawing right there and then. It can be used to create decorative art pieces, jewellery, customized cases for your devices or even to make small repairs to plastic objects (like a plastic weld).
The creators have teamed up with some Etsy artists to exhibit how professional artists can use the pen. The designs are pretty incredible – it's art that has literally jumped off the page.
If you don't think you've got much artistic talent when it comes to drawing, you can still create some awesome stuff with the 3Doodler. They'll be uploading a bunch of "stencils" – which are basically print-outs that you can trace and then stick together to make awesome objects. They're hoping that as more people get involved, a community will form that will upload their own stencils to the collection (a la Thingiverse style). They've created an Eiffel Tower one as an example.
Even though the pen is incredibly easy to use, the tip can heat up to 270 degrees Celsius in order to melt the plastic, so it's a device, not a toy – it's recommended for ages 12+. That said, it's so simple that it seems it can be used by anyone – and it's really affordable too. It can be yours for only $75 on the pen's Kickstarter page (adding $10 to ship outside the US)! Add an extra $24 and instead of just two bags of mixed colour plastic, you'll get 10 bags each of a different color.
The Kickstarter has about a month left, and if you order it now, you'll get it delivered in November. They've already blown right through their $30,000 goal and currently have over $500,000 pledged, so it's a sure bet.
If you've got a bit of artistic flair and want to experiment with a new medium, or if you're just a gadget-lover or 3D printer fanatic, then this is definitely a device you want to be getting your hands on!