Dim3printing LLC, based in Austin, TX, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for their 3DFormer Pen. It’s a 3D printing technology-engined pen which draws 3D models in the air, and the company says it features “easy-to-use, easy gripping, precision movement.”
The company says the 3DFormer has gone through 18 months of development followed by a field testing study at Denton High School, and it was rolled out for demonstration at SXSW 2014, Maker Faire Austin 2014, and CES 2015.
The pen was developed by a core team which includes Dr. Xin Wu, Bin Hu, Jonathan Rounds, and Kevin Liu. Liu was also the developer of the FreeSculpt Druker Ex-1 FDM 3D printer.
“We believe this is the right product for both 3D drawing fun and classroom practice”, says Hu, CEO of Dim3printing. “Launching the 3DFormer on Kickstarter will help us to smooth mass production and get the product to our long waiting customers sooner.”
Founded in 2013, Dim3printing says they’re committed to offering cost effective, innovative products to enable the most enjoyable 3D printing playing and learning experiences.
The 3DFormer uses FDM printing technology and allows users to “sketch” an ABS or PLA plastic 3D object in free space and what the company calls “advanced cooling technologies” to prevent clogging. The pen features separate buttons to control the speed of the filament output and a minimum flow rate of 0.5mm per second. The maximum filament flow is said to be up to 20 mm per second.
3DFormer was developed principally for arts and STEM education projects, and is designed to be ideal for students who wish to design and build art and develop geometrical, engineering, and astronomical models for learning.
“We want to make 3DFormer affordable to everyone without paying $100.00+ and make it last long enough for classroom and daily practices, so we need to setup our production line at a large scale and drive the cost down for the retail market,” the team says. “We are trying to engage educators and artists to work as a team to empower the 3D printing influences.”
Hu says the idea for this handheld 3D pen sprung from plastic extrusion welding guns and it removes the difficulty of getting involved with 3D printing innovations.
He says the 3DFormer has three key features: On-the-fly, ultra-wide flow speed control which allows for continuous variable filament speed control; ergonomic design for easy gripping and precision in movement; and an advanced cooling technology which prevents nozzle clogging and assures that heat is dissipated quickly.
The team at Dim3printing says the major challenge in designing the nozzle for their pen was to maintain a high enough temperature to melt the ABS or PLA filament while keeping temperature in filament feeding chamber low enough to avoid making the filaments swell. They say that, to prevent injury from an overheated nozzle, the outer shell temperature stays at 50 degrees Celsius or lower.
Per the Kickstarter campaign, the first 200 supporters will receive the 3DFormer pen for $40, while the retail price will be $69.99. Assuming the Kickstarter campaign meets its $20,000 goal by April 18th, the first 3DFormer pens will be shipped in April or May 2015.
While the 3Doodler 3D printing pen has been popular since its own highly successful Kickstarter campaigns (for both the first version and the more recent 3Doodler 2.0), the 3DFormer pen is its own product. The Dim3printing team supplied a comparison chart between their 3DFormer and “the competition,” as seen below.
What do you think of the 3DFormer 3D Printing Pen? Will you support their Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the 3DFormer Pen forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out videos of the 3DFormer below.
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