In the beginning there was the 3Doodler by Wobble Works, which launched via an amazingly successful Kickstarter campaign, final funding reaching a staggering USD$2.3 million. Prompted by this level of success, it was inevitable that a new niche had been created where others would inevitably follow, which happened via the announcement of the very similar 3DYAYA and swissPen from companies in China and Europe. Now, in finely designed aluminium form, the Lix pen joins the fray, looking fantastic and maintaining an affordable price of just USD$139, at their Kickstarter page.
As per the rest of the range of 3D printing pens available on the market now, the Lix 3D printing pen works in a similar fashion to a glue gun. We all remember the smile we had the first time we saw a glue gun working at school, strange oozy things and the chance for mischief. With these 3D printing pens, ather than glue producing the oozy fun, it is the filament that we find extruded from desktop 3D printers, ABS and/or PLA, that is fed into the top of the pen to be melted by a heating element at it’s nib. From there the plastic cools quickly, allowing drawn forms to be sketched not just on a two dimensional flat surface, but in any plane in the z-axis vertical, up as well as sideways, creating in three dimensions pretty much whatever your creative mind can come up with.
The Lix was designed by Anton Suvorov, who has placed buttons on the side of the device to control the extrusion rate and orientated power by plugging the pen into a USB port. The pen is entremely aethetically pleasing to the eye, appears to be weighted with a consideration to dexterity, and follows the ergonomic form of a conventional pen rather than the somewhat bulky alternatives currently available.
The chance for fun is endless, the artistic applications boundless, and even the potential for more serious design work, although the limitations of this method of forming structures may keep it down the list of methods to articulate design ideas in 3D for professionals.