back to article The cheap 3D craft pen that scribbles over 3D printing hype

How many printers do you have in your house? And how many pens? I would bet the ratio is at least a dozen pens to every printer, if not more. So is there any reason the ratio of 3D-pens-to-printers is going to be significantly different? A US startup has come up with a 3D-model-making pen that allows you to "draw" plastic …


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  1. Steven Roper

    Printer to pen ratio?

    You've got to be fucking kidding me. Several pens per printer? Not a chance in my place, home or office. Pens disappear within minutes, sometimes seconds of discovery or purchase, every time. What I have is an effectively infinite printer:pen ratio, because I have two printers and zero, count them, zero pens. Printers at least are too big to disappear into pockets, handbags or microscopic invisible black holes!

    1. Gordon 8

      Re: Printer to pen ratio?

      "Somewhere in the cosmos along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids, and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life."

      -Douglas Adams

      Mine's the one with a copy of Hitchhikers Radio series in the pocket

      1. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Up

        Re: Printer to pen ratio?

        "When one day an expedition was sent to the spatial coordinates that Voojagig had claimed for this planet they discovered only a small asteroid inhabited by a solitary old man who claimed repeatedly that nothing was true, though he was later discovered to be lying.

        "There did, however, remain the question of both the mysterious 60,000 Altairian dollars paid yearly into his Brantisvogan bank account, and of course Zaphod Beeblebrox's highly profitable second-hand biro business."

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. CADmonkey

      There are basically two types of people on the world....

      ....those that buy pens, and those that have them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There are basically two types of people on the world....

        How many printers do you have in your house? And how many pens? I would bet the ratio is at least a dozen pens to every printer, if not more

        Agree with above comments ... I almost certainly have more pens than printers - but while I know where my printers are I can't say the same about the pens! Anyway, I've just restarted a "saturation strategy" that worked many years ago (but was put on hold when children got to the age where they would see a pen and a wall and start scribbline!) ... bought a bulk order of Bic biros and whenever I can't find a pen then I go and get a new one - eventually the pens reach a saturation point where they are no longer able to successfully hide!

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: There are basically two types of people on the world....

          I'd check your wardrobe... i had heard that the pen is in fact the larval form of the coathanger. you may have an infestation on your hands

          1. hplasm
            Thumb Up

            Re: There are basically two types of people on the world....

            The coathanger in turn is the pupal stage of the shopping trolley.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Printer to pen ratio?

      Do what I did: Get your partner to buy you a really nice fountain pen for birthday/christmas, s/he won't nick it and there is an aura around a fountain pen that makes people hesitate before borrowing it to scribble something. I've had mine for about six years, which is about six years longer than any other pen.

      Also, it's surprising how nice writing is with a good pen, you don't realise how much pressure you use to carve the words onto the page with a Bic.

      You also get to take random breaks to meticulously flush it out when it needs re-filling. Speaking of which...

    5. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: Printer to pen ratio?

      I kept having to reclaim my pen at work. Then I was in ${local_superstore} and they had packs of BICS on sale so I bought several packs and gave them to my colleagues. That helped for a while (they've gone now).

      So I now have one of those electric pens on the desk. It works as a real pen if you know to twist the end and not press the button - but of course when people just pick it up and press the button, well lets just say there's been some colourful language :D

      Best of all, we have one id^H^Hjunior dev here who knew what it was, but still couldn't overcome his urge to fiddle with anything and everything. I never thought I get someone twice with it, let alone the third time when I "jabbed" him for a third strike.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Not to be a drag, but I've been doing this with hot glue for years. If you are feeling to cheap to buy an actual hot glue pen, there exist at least 1 schematic to build one yourself (which for the life of me I can't find right now) or you could always try this...

    Also, with a hot glue pen, you do have a certain capacity for erasing, which this doodler appears to be missing an eraser.

    1. Muscleguy


      In this case surely a nice sharp craft knife acts as an eraser?

  3. Michael Habel

    MAHAHAHAHAHA I'll be able to download that Car soon now! LOL

    1. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Except that

      any car you can draw with that pen is most likely going to look like something out of The Flintstones...

  4. Stephen 2

    compared to 3d printers?

    There's no way you can compare this to a 3D printer which can create somewhat accurate and certainly useful objects. This pen would be a pain in the butt to use and its a kickstarter which means 80% chance it won't ever actually make it into the buyers hand, if it does then it will be a year later than planned - by which time there will be something better available on store shelves.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: compared to 3d printers?

      All three of the Kickstarter projects that I've backed have delivered the goods on time, and the few that I've wished I'd backed, but heard about them too late, also seem to have come in on time ... if their sales pages are to be believed.

      Perhaps you need to be a little more realistic in what you back ... like all company start-ups some are just not feasible.

      This on the other hand seems a little too simple to fail.

      1. Stephen 2

        Re: compared to 3d printers?

        You're the exception. Take a look around at the stats and you'll see that the number of failed kickstarter projects that make off with the money are large. The number of projects that take the money but then refund after a LONG time are large. The number of projects that deliver ON TIME are small.

        I think you're talking shit tbh.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > This pen would be a pain in the butt to use

      I think you're holding it wrong

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: > This pen would be a pain in the butt to use

        Or oh so right.

      2. Pete the not so great

        Re: > This pen would be a pain in the butt to use

        Must be the Ann Summers version

    3. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: compared to 3d printers?

      It doesn't seem to be for 'serious' work. It's for 'fun'...

      I was among the first 50 to chip in, and nw they're passed 200 and the halfway point already, so financing at least seems to be orking out.

      As for fabrication, if you read a bit on their website, you'll find that they have prior experience with pushing product through fabrication.

      Whether or not they manage to keep the promised delivery or 'September 2013', remains to be seen, though.

      (If so, I know of someone who would love to get one as an Xmas present)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: compared to 3d printers?

        At least they have a working prototype. By the looks of it a manufacturing possible one too.

        Hope it goes well for those investing/pre-ordering. It's a risky thing, but thankfully seeing a demo product is helpful.

        I've set a rule to only buy/order demo'd software and hardware on Kickstarter. If it's software, and it fails, at least I can play/use the demo. If it's hardware, well, I would get angry because they had one, why can't I. :P

  5. Fred M

    Wow. I'd take one of these with the "XYZ positioning accessory that plugs into a computer" over a 3D printer any day.

  6. JetSetJim

    how many $75 pens do i own?

    answer=none, they're all cheap biros nicked from the office/hotels.

  7. Schultz

    First price goes to the guy ...

    who paints his 3D printer!

  8. John Robson Silver badge

    3D? - I only see 2D

    And if the plastic is cold on laying will it actually allow you to build layers?

    I presume there is some fiddling going on here, because the plastic did stick to previously laid plastic in the video - which implies that it isn't quite cold as it's laid.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3D? - I only see 2D

      Your eyes deceive you. It's actually 1D. The 2D and 3D (and by extension 4D) is all an illusion based on the type of data you are processing.

      But as for the printer, yes it can do full 3D, they "draw" a cube. The glue/plastic cools and solidifies so quickly it can support small amounts of it's self while extruding.

  9. Richard Cranium

    Got one already...

    Well almost. I've got a hot glue gun, the main difference I can see is that the glue stick is replaced by something that sets faster. Apart from that: the feed is from a reel; the plastic may come in different colours; the melt temperature may be different; the nozzle size may be different - but all those are relatively minor issues, a glue pen with different feed material, maybe different nozzle & temperature shouldn't cost much more than a standard glue pen, mine was £15 including a decent supply of glue sticks.

    1. handle

      "Well almost"

      Those "relatively minor" issues are what make all the difference, and is why this has yet to be replicated by some smart-arse with a glue gun.

  10. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    Reminds me of the liquid painted t shirt era of the 80s and there's only so many weird shapes one can make before it becomes just another desktop drawer collectable.

  11. stu 4
    Thumb Down


    I think I'll stick to Polymorph - an awesome nylon plastic which is mouldable when heated (with hot water).

    I use it for everything under the sun. great stuff. and costs buttons.

  12. A Nother Handle
    Paris Hilton

    Drawing is a bit advanced, can I use it for colouring in?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The matterwand

    It reminds me of the matterwand from the Supergirl movie.

  14. DaLo

    3D printers, running costs?

    "Decent 3D printers cost between £1,000 and £2,000 to run"

    A year, a month, a day, an hour, per object, per kilogram? Strange stat.

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: 3D printers, running costs?

      Per item. In licensing costs to Apple, as every rectangular object still has rounded corners

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