Monday, March 17, 2014

3Doodler: Be Your Own 3D Printer

No, I have definitely NOT abandoned my Cube 3D Printers.

But, I have ordered a 3Doodler 3D pen.  And, I had good reasons to do so.

The 3Doodler as Welder

First, it can act as a plastic glue gun, welding PLA or ABS pieces together.  For example, I have already written about creating a face relief of a child in one color and creating a frame to hold it in another.  With the Cube 2, limited to single color printing, this had to printed as two separate jobs and then I used glue to put the pieces together.

Using the 3Doodler to weld the pieces together should be a LOT more effective.

The 3Doodler as Accessorizer

Hmmm... not at all sure that is the right spelling.  But, you get what I mean.  There are designs that are just too difficult for the cadets I teach to pull off in a CAD program.  One of them, for instance, wanted to create a candle holder with angel's wings.  Yes, it could be done.  But, not at his skill level and certainly not in the time he could allot to it.

But, he COULD freehand the wings onto the printed candle holder.

Even closer to home, that frame and relief that I printed could be enhanced by 3Doodling (Is that a word?) a hanger onto the flat back of the combined piece so that it could be hung.

The 3Doodler as 3D Demonstrator

Because of the configuration of 3D printers, with the head being extremely close to the print table, it can be a bit difficult to show the extrusion process.  The actual 3D printing process is easily demonstrated with the 3Doodler since the head can be pulled up so that the extrusion process is clearly seen.

While the 3Doodler is NOT a toy and the minimum recommended age is 14, that does not stop us from using it to demonstrate the 3D printing process to younger children.  We'll be working with the girl scouts at YouthQuest and I expect to be able to put the 3Doodler to work in helping explain how the Cube 3D printer works.

The 3Doodler as Randomizer

So far, while I've seen a lot of fun objects that people have created with the 3Doodler, none could be called high art.  Part of the reason for that is the randomness of the flow when hand held as apposed to the precision of the Cube 3D printer's X-Y-Z engine.

But, there is a certain charm in randomness that has a place in design.  And, I expect that my artist daughter will be quite pleased with some of the things that she can do with this little hand held 3D print tool.

While it might seem that using the 3Doodleradding add accessories and to add randomness to an object is the same thing, it is not.  There are nuanced differences.  I expect to notice an accessory.  I do not expect to notice a subtle added randomness that mimics hand created works.

The 3Doodler as Fun

Let's face it.  Given everything I say above, everyone knows the real reason I ordered a 3Doodler.  I expect it to be a LOT of fun for me and my grandchildren, who are old enough to use it safely.  I sure hope they let me use it!

Bottom Line....

It should arrive soon.  As soon as I have a chance to try it out with all of the above applications I will be sure to post an update. 

Interestingly, YouthQuest, 3D Systems and 3Doodler will all be at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in DC in late April and our booths are adjacent.  (Actually according to the floor plan our YouthQuest booth and the 3Doodler booth are back-to-back on either side of the 3D Systems booth.   The cadets we teach will be helping explain 3D printing to visiting students and parents and I am certain that they are going to want to drop by the 3Doodler booth when they have a chance.  If they end up creating something we'll post images.


  1. Hi Tom,
    I continue my journey in exploring all things related to 3-D printing and beekeeping. In one of my projects, I needed to glue a 3-D printed knob to a metal bolt. Subsequent projects found the need to print a 3-D printed clock face (bee-themed, of course) to a wooden clock housing. In both instances I found the super glue (a product of Locktite Corp) does the job and does it fairly well. Cyanoacrylate (ie., super glue) comes in different formulations. The normal "liquid" formulation is a bit thin and sets up quickly. I found that the "gel" formulation is much easier to work with and the "extra time control" formulation is even better yet. The "extra time formulation" has the consistency of the "gel" formulation but takes 10 or 15 minutes to completely cure; plenty of time to get everything just right.

    (p.s. If you want, I can send you a few pictures of the projects. Just let me know how and where!)

    1. I forgot to add something!!!

      In looking for a way to demonstrate the concept of the 3D printing process, it dawned on me that BEES are the original 3D printers! So, I created a layered beehive puzzle for the younger children to put together and explain how bees build the honeycomb by building them up in layers.

  2. Please do send me the pictures! You can find my email address in the "Personalizing Help" section to the right. Thanks!