December is on the doorstep, the nights are drawing in, Mariah Carey is warbling on the radio, halls are being decked with boughs of holly and secret santa recipients are being swapped in offices across the globe. Yes, Christmas is here but the problem with Christmas is that it is over in a flash. Before you know it the decorations look depressing and those novelty gifts begin their journey to the back of the closet to gather dust in preparation for their re-gifting the following year.
For the TCT team this year is different; International CES 2014 immediately follows the holiday period, extending the excitement and postponing those post-Christmas blues for at least another week. We get to enjoy gadgets and gizmos galore for an extra week. One gadget we’re particularly looking forward to seeing at the TCT sponsored 3D Printing TechZone is the 3Doodler.
From the moment WobbleWorks launched their 3D Printing Pen on Kickstarter, the world went gaga for the product that allowed you to extrude plastic filament freehand. The idea was so simple yet so genius that it left some green eyes being cast its way; some cynics criticised the creation, some copied it but most agreed that this was a really great product that could serve as an entry level into 3D printing.
CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, it could be argued that, certainly in the 3D Printing TechZone, you couldn’t get much more consumer electronic-y than the 3Doodler. Priced at just $99 (£60, €72) for the pen and 50 strands of either PLA or ABS, the 3Doodler is incredibly accessible and perhaps the cheapest electronic on show at the 3D Printing TechZone.
It is clear that the $2.3m of funding WobbleWorks received on Kickstarter has gone into making this as professional a product as possible. In September the Boston-based firm took some feedback from the community and enhanced the product by adding extra features, such as speed control buttons, a protective silicone cover for the tip and a mounting bracket so as the pen could theoretically be attached to a CNC machine.
Though you’re probably not going to rapid-prototyping parts with the 3Doodler, as a consumer electronic for creative projects it is impossible to argue with the 3Doodler’s appeal. Just take a look at the 3Doodler community website, you’ll see hundreds of stencils for designs, photos of objects people have made and in general just a slick, consumer facing website that simply works.