Really, what can you not do with a 3Doodler?!!! It’s Phun Phriday, and I am here to tell you that the 3Doodler is PHUN, PHUN, PHUN!!!!!!
I did a search of my blog posts to find out when I first wrote about this invention. It was February of last year. That was when I decided to back the Kickstarter for 3Doodler. I have been waiting since February for this gadget to land in my mailbox. (In all fairness, the Kickstarter site nailed the expected arrival date of December perfectly.) Considering my husband and daughter told me that my one-word resolution for this year should be “patience,” I think waiting nearly 10 months to get a product this fun totally proves that I have no problem being patient. Add on to that the time that I had to wait to use it once my daughter got a hold of it, and, well, I’m practically the patron saint of patience;)
The 3Doodler is basically a fat pen that allows you to make 3D creations limited only by your imagination – and patience. You feed plastic in one end, push the buttons on the pen, and the heated plastic comes out the tip. You can choose to make the plastic come out fast or slow. There are tons of different colors of plastic, including neon and glow-in-the-dark. The plastic cools and hardens very quickly once it comes out of the pen.
3D printing is a big trend right now. (See our Donors Choose project going on right now for a Makerbot printer.) 3Doodler has advantages over other 3D printers in the following categories:
- Cost: At $99 for the pen plus 50 strands of plastic, the 3Doodler is way more affordable than regular 3D printers, which can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
- Time: Most current 3D printers take a long time, often hours, to print out even small creations.
- Simplicity: Most 3D printers require some software knowledge so the user can program the design; 3Doodler requires absolutely no programming or computer knowledge.
- Freedom: Without hardware and software restrictions, new ideas can quickly be imagined and created.
Of course, there are some cons to the 3Doodler as well:
- Heat: 3Doodler is recommend for ages 12+. I am guessing this is due to the amount of heat generated to melt the plastic. However, the only part that you need to be wary of is the very tip of the pen. My daughter just turned 11, and I had no qualms about letting her use the pen with my supervision.
- Precision: It takes some practice to make things look exactly the way you envision. Even then, you will not have the machine-precise product that you would get from a standard 3D printer.
- Planning: If you plan to use more than one color, think ahead. Once you feed a plastic strand into the 3Doodler, you can back it out if some is still sticking out. However, no matter what, some of that color will be left in the pen. If you don’t want to waste a lot of plastic, you might want to get a sense of how much is still waiting inside so you can use it all.
- Patience: Yep, there’s that word again. Since 3Doodler was a Kickstarter project, they are only shipping to backers right now. According to the website, if you want one (and were not one of the original backers), you will need to wait until March of 2014 for delivery.
Personally, I think the pros far outweigh the cons. I can’t make anything like the tri-plane at the top of this post, yet, but I’m just getting started!
If you decide to buy a 3Doodler, there are plenty of stencils and ideas to inspire you on the Community portion of the site. And, here is a link to the FAQ section.
Let me know if you get one!