Over the last three years, 3D printing has emerged as a relatively inexpensive way to create everything from food to medical supplies, posing all kinds of possibilities for society. Even construction companies are using this technology to print concrete materials. But 3D printing doesn’t have to be restricted to necessities or cost-saving measures; sometimes, it can be used just for fun. That’s certainly the case with the 3Doodler — a printing pen that’s now readily available at some of the most popular lifestyle retailers.
What began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 has morphed into a product that allows consumers to create 3D drawings that literally fly off the page. Originally, the pen was intended for ages 14 and up, but now the 3Doodler Start is being marketed as the first kid-safe pen for this purpose.
Not only can kids make tangible doodles, but now they can even use the product to make their own toys. 3Doodler has partnered up with Cartoon Network on a Powerpuff Girls set that encourages kids to make figurines in their own image (or entirely of their own creation). There’s also a separate canvas series that will appeal to adults who want to make a customized bust.
3Doodler recently unveiled that canvas series upon hitting a major business milestone: the shipping of their one millionth printing pen. Though impressive, the achievement isn’t exactly surprising, given that the company now sells their products in 60 different countries and rakes in $20 million a year. That’s a far cry from crowdfunding.
The 3Doodler Start has even been applauded for its inclusiveness. The newer release has more tactile buttons that are meant to help those with vision less embrace 3D printing. The product has been officially approved by the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Clearly, this printing pen is not intended only for children.
That said, buying one may be out of reach for some (although it’s much more accessible than other means of 3D printing). These pens retail for $99.99 at Urban Outfitters, Barnes and Noble, Michael’s, Target, and other stores. But for the recipient who has virtually everything and wants to let their imagination run wild, it’s sure to please.