19 Feb Three 3D Printing Devices You Can Take Home
3D printing has evolved quickly in the past three years! The technology has migrated from the lab to the consumer, and now thanks to Kickstarter campaigns and companies like Wobbleworks, it’s even in the hands of children!
A compact product called the 3Doodler lets users draw in midair, using plastics to construct three-dimensional objects. With this pen people have created small sculptures, simple keyrings, practical items like phone cases, and jewelry and dresses. The 3Doodler Start is the kid-friendly version of the device. It doesn’t need to stay plugged in, it uses eco-friendly materials, and no matter what part of the pen a child touches, he won’t feel any heat from it.
While some 3D printers are handheld, most are larger and typically range from the size of a mini-fridge to as long and tall as a truck. One relatively small, portable, consumer friendly printer is called the Ideawerk. This model of 3D printer costs about $800. It uses fused deposition modeling (FDM), which means that it distributes layer upon layer of material over hours, slowly synthesizing a 3D object based on a predetermined mold. Such objects include toys, eating utensils, tools, clocks, prosthetics, and even the materials to construct a house!
A third type of 3D printing device uses liquid resin. The resin instantly transforms from a liquid to a solid when it is exposed to light. Although they are by and large much more expensive than the FDM models, the printing process can only take minutes instead of hours. Experts recommend the Form 1+ 3D printer for a little less than $2800.
Additive manufacturing (the technical term for 3D printing) might be as ubiquitous in the average home as coffee makers in 10 to 20 years! Kids doodling in the air today might invent the next big thing tomorrow.