1 of 3
This sign was placed on the Eiffel Tower after Dan kicked it over like a total dufus.
2 of 3
The 3Doodler and the ABS that comes with it, packaging perfection
3 of 3
Not just a pretty product, a useful one too as this architectural model proves
When you spend five days on a booth at a trade show, as Personalize did at CES, you form bonds. You develop trench spirit-like relationships with fellow exhibitors, which consist of nodding to one another, shrugs when it’s coming to the end of the day, rolling of eyes when a person of particular levels of oddness is heading your way, scoffing sandwiches behind the stands as quickly as possible and generally becoming as tired and worn down as one another all in unison.
One of our neighbours in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre was 3Doodler and its safe to say that Personalize and 3Doodler built up quite the bond after a particularly disastrous start…
I was due for a demo of the world’s first 3D printing pen on the first day of the show, you can’t miss the 3Doodler stand, it has what some believe is the world’s biggest 3D printed Eiffel Tower standing about five foot tall, all made, painstakingly with a 3Doodler. Unfortunately I couldn’t miss it either, quite literally, as a misplaced step into the masterpiece sent it tumbling to the ground, I wanted the TCT + Personalize 3D Printing TechZone signs on the floor to turn into a portal into another dimension, what had I done? Ruined the centrepiece of 3Doodler’s CES debut. Fortunately for me co-founder Daniel Cowen reassured me that it is "built to collapse so as it is easy to put together again.” And up it went, albeit with a “Please do not touch” sign attached.
This kind of friendliness oozes through the team and into the most undeniably consumer 3D printer on display at the show. Priced at just $99, the 3Doodler is the only 3D Printing product that you could say is affordable right now to your average household and despite some cynics' scoffs it is quite a miraculous product with a clear market.
A demo of the pen ensued, I’m not the most creative of types but once you’re over the initial idea of drawing in thin air you can work the pen with consummate ease. The pen features two buttons one for fast and one for slow, simple stuff and it was surprisingly light, about the weight of an apple, not an American apple either - they're huge.
“We had to make it easy to hold, we want children to be inspired by the pen so being light was a core design point”, said Daniel Cowen who has been involved in the project from day one.
One of the most striking things about 3Doodler is not just that they've created an innovative product that works, they’ve created an entire branded eco-system. The website is one of the most visually striking and easy to navigate sites in the industry, the packaging of the pen is as slick as they come and the materials are bundled up to look like a pack of children’s modelling clay with names like Blue Steel, Martian Red and Gangsta’ Gold.
Then there are the models that the team and members of the community have submitted. The sheer range is astonishing from the giant Eiffel Tower to micro models of dragons with clear wings – the high quality PLA material gives that particular model, designed by Chief Doodler, Faraz Warsi, an almost glass like look.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the response from the community, everyday we see something that makes us go ‘WOW!’. What has taken us by surprise is the amount of time people are using the pen for, we had no idea that people would be using it for eight hours a time, which is why we designed this accessory.”
The accessory Daniel is referring to is the new holder/moveable platform which can be used to store or operate the pen for long periods of time. It’s another facet 3Doodler are getting a great reputation for; adding on value to your product.
Taking into account the money made from Kickstarter and pre-orders it would have been easy for the 3Doodler team to sit back and pat themselves on the back, but the dedication to the product shines through as, at CES, we saw the announcement of not only the holder accessory but new nozzles and DoodleBlocks; silicon moulds in various shapes that can be easily “filled in” with the ABS or PLA plastic from the pen.
Interestingly, in an all most RepRap like manner, the prototype for the holder accessory was made by Daniel with a 3Doodler, “We had this idea and I’m not creative at all, I can’t design on CAD so I picked up the pen and started drawing the sort of shape I imagined it to be, took it to our designers and said 'it should look like this', further down the line we had the first prototypes."
And that’s the thing with 3Doodler; it can be used as an educational tool, a design tool, a bit of fun or even a way to sketch out three-dimensional prototypes. The 3D Printing Pen is mightier than the sword…or even the 3D printed gun.