Raw Finery Studio Tries the 3Doodler
Last weekend we went to visit our friends over at HackLab, a fantastic maker-space in Toronto’s hip west end. Eric Boyd gave us a full tour of the space and then we decided to play with some of the lab’s toys.
The 3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that is marketed as being the pen that can “draw in the air” and that claims to be able to create fantastic 3D doodled creations. We’ve seen the cute figurines that artists have sketched to life, the 3D printed dresses, the functional 3D drawn scissors, but we’ve always wondered, “does it work?”
Well today we tested the 3Doodler 2.0 out at Hacklab with Eric.
Let’s start with the pen packaging. It’s basically a glorified hot glue gun for plastic. It’s small and compact, a bit bulky but still easy to hold as a drawing utensil. There are buttons to control temperature and speed, but we found that the button response was touchy. Double clicking didn’t always result in continuous function, and the button wouldn’t always turn off the pen when needed.
You need to make sure that you are creating your design on a base that has enough grip to keep the plastic attached. We also discovered that holding your initial point down while drawing is vital for keeping stability as you go to prevent the plastic from curling and to maintain a line. Allowing the plastic to cool as you go is also vital.
Some of the issues we had was that the 3Doodler only creates a thin line of plastic which is very fragile. Layering is the way to go but not necessarily the most visually appealing as the lines do show up. We also found that the extrusion is a bit of an issue. It is very common for the pen to either go through pockets where no plastic is being released or where the plastic is clumping into balls as you draw. Overall, it does not produce the clean lines or have the ease of use that is depicted in the videos.
Would we use the 3Doodler again? Our Director of Marketing is determined to figure out how to make this work, so she wants to try it again. She’s been trying to figure out ways of creating art more effectively than what we did at the lab. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Should you buy the 3Doodler? We hope that the developers continue to make improvements and create a pen that will truly deliver, but until then we don’t think that the current product is really worth it at the moment.