The 3Doodler is the latest craze on Kickstarter. A pen that takes the basic function of a 3D printer -- the extruder and a heat source along with a steady stream of plastic ribbon -- and turns it into pen-form, allowing you to hand-print your own 3D creations.
But... what's the point?
The 3D printer has a very real role in smarter and more sustainable design and manufacturing. A designer can create a prototype on the spot and correct their design with minimal waste. Consumers can order a product and have it printed locally, minimizing the carbon footprint of manufacturing, transporting and shipping mass-produced goods. The 3Doodler, though, seems more like a glorified glue-gun, a novel toy for an artist, while piggybacking on the popularity of 3D printing. And yet, look at the interest it is generating. It has raised over
$600,000 $604,000 $614,000 and rising (you can literally sit there and watch the funding amount tick up with amazing speed as the minutes go by... it raised half a million in just a day...) with a month left in its fundraising campaign.
Is the 3Doodler a tool that fills a real niche in the way a 3D printer does, or is it the latest "oh! shiny!" gadget that is little more than a toy or crafty device for the majority of users?
Maybe it doesn't really matter if you combine it with another gadget with a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Filabot which turns old plastic into new filament for 3D printing, and allowing the user to recycle their failed projects. Admittedly, you can make some really cool art with this thing:
What do you think about this product? Let us know in the comments.