The 3-Doodler: A Pen that Lets You Draw 3-D Objects

A cool local invention is a big, big hit on Kickstarter.

Here’s a pretty cool invention to come out of Boston: Peter Dilworth and Max Bogue are local guys with a small toy and robotics company called WobbleWorks that’s harnessing the technology behind 3-D printing to create a pen that can “draw” solid objects. They’re calling it, appropriately, the “3-Doodler.” The duo asked for $30,000 on the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter, and with 33 more days to go, they’ve pretty much crushed their goal and raised over $800,000.

The 3-Doodler takes the 3-D printer technology that exudes hot plastic and puts it on the tip of a marker, allowing users to “draw” shapes made out of thin lines of quickly cooling solid. They’re offering stenciling templates so new users can make cool sculptures and partnering with Etsy wire artists to give people a sense of the 3-Doodler’s potential. Here’s a tutorial video they posted on their Kickstarter page:

Joseph Flahrety notes in Wired that the device doesn’t come close to replacing an actual 3-D printer, but that by offering 3-D printing at a reasonable price ($75), it probably doesn’t have to:

The creators say it’s ideal for creating 3-D models, jewelry, ornaments, fridge magnets, and for customizing iPhone cases, but the low resolution of the device means the best pieces produced with this device look like failures from another machine. Claims that it can be used for household repair seem stretched … However, for $75, the system doesn’t have to do that much to be successful.

If you’re catching a whiff of the kind of cool stuff that comes out of MIT all the time, well, pat yourself on the back. Dilworth, one of the WobbleWorks guys, worked at the MIT Leg Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab, according to his website bio