There's a new star at Kickstarter today as the 3Doodler, an object described as the world's first 3D printing pen, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by a wide margin, and is on track to become one of the top 10 highest-funded projects ever put on the crowd-funding site. With 18 days left to go, the device has already received nearly $2.1 million in funding, shattering its intended goal by nearly 7,000 percent.
What's got Kickstarter in such a frenzy? The 3Doodler is, as mentioned previously, the world's first 3D printing pen. While other 3D printers require large boxes and big expenses, the 3Doodler manages to fit a reasonably complete 3D printing apparatus in a device the size of a particularly bulky marker, possibly more like a soldering iron. It weighs about seven ounces--under 200 grams, or about the weight of a typical apple--and is said to work with most any country's power supply with the appropriate adapter.
But the real kicker here is that, instead of leaving lines of ink, the 3Doodler instead leaves lines of extruded ABS (News - Alert) plastic, essentially allowing artists to create in literal 3D, drawing lines and then, subsequently, being able to peel them off the surface on which they were placed, leaving a kind of "wire art" behind. But this can actually go even farther, as with a note of care, artists can even go fully three-dimensional with their drawings, as evidenced by a model of the Eiffel Tower presented on the 3Doodler Kickstarter page. 3Doodler is even set to come with a line of stencils, allowing users to build things in parts like the 3D printed Eiffel Tower.
This is, of course, an impressive development and stands to be the first thing ever that could put 3D printing technology in the hands of nearly anyone for as little as $75. But this particular Kickstarter project is proving so successful that 3Doodler is actually running out of slots. Recently, there were only 151 $75 slots left to get a final version 3Doodler with two bags of plastic, and 129 $99 slots for a final version 3Doodler with 10 bags of plastic.
This kind of rapid advance in funding puts 3Doodler among some of the biggest names on Kickstarter, and should it carry on to the point where it sells out, will put in the same class as other game-changers like the Ouya, the Pebble watch, and the Double Fine Adventure video game. It has 28 days left to go, and some of these 3Doodlers will start shipping out in September of this year.
It's an impressive idea, one of those things that makes many slap their heads and wonder why that hadn't been done before now. But it also goes to show the ultimate state of 3D printing. With 3D printing currently getting behind a growing number of technologies from guns to cars to key chains and just about everything in between, it's clear that quite a bit of manufacturing may well be done from homes in the not too distant future, using devices that can work in anything from plastic to titanium. The rush, meanwhile, is increasingly powered by Kickstarter, a place that's showing that the field can be leveled in favor of a good idea and a little cash from a lot of people. That by itself is an idea worth considering, and will likely be responsible for many more innovations in the near future.
Edited by Brooke Neuman