The 3Doodler contains an electric heater that melts plastic as it comes out of the ‘nib’, the plastic then dries very quickly and allows you to create 3D shapes in the air.
Spokesman Daniel Cowen said: ‘Whilst the plastic extruded from 3Doodler is safe to touch once it has left the pen, the pen itself has a metal tip that can get as hot as 270 degrees.’
He also explained that the technology could be used to make models/drawings out of food. ‘We could in theory use the pen to melt sticks of sugar,’ he said, ‘but we don’t want to get into food safety issues just yet. We will be running some food tests soon – and we’d have to lower the temperature in the pen, too.’
The pen isn’t yet perfected: ‘Its power usage means that a lot of work is needed for a wireless version – but that is in the works.’ Currently the pen is available to order for $75 and the first version will plug into mains power.
The firm making the pen, WobbleWorks, launched a crowd funding campaign to raise $30,000 to develop the technology, but the target was surpassed in just a couple of hours. In fact, more than half a million dollars had been pledged by visitors to the site at the time of writing.
See it in action here.