3D pen-in-air aims for professional heights
May 1, 2014 by Nancy Owano
In the 3D marketplace, would a small, lightweight 3D printing pen, enabling doodling in the air with precision, really take off? Here's an indication: a Kickstarter project offering a 3D pen that is small, light and able to write and draw in the air passed its fundraising goal in hours after its Tuesday launch and the numbers are still moving north at the time of this writing.
The Lix 3D pen, from the company of the same name, was designed by the company's three cofounders to be a tool for drawing and writing. The small, portable, noiseless, and lightweight Lix is targeted for professionals interested in 3D printing, such as stylists, designers and architects. The Lix is promoted as having the distinction of being "the smallest and smartest 3d printing pen in the world." The Lix pen is only 40 grams.
The aluminum body pen has a power cable that you can plug in any traditional USB port to make anything in seconds. Operating with a similar function as 3D printers, it melts and cools colored plastic. That means one can make rigid and freestanding structures. According to the Kickstarter page details, the plastic filament ABS/PLA is introduced in the upper extremity of the Lix Pen. The filament goes through a patented mechanism while moving through the pen to finally reach the hot-end nozzle, which melts and cools it down. Structures can be formed in any imaginable shape. The promotional video shows attractive examples of how the pen may be used in fashion/design prototypes, sculptures and decorations.
The Lix team avoided off the shelf components; co-founder Anton Suvorov, quoted in TechCrunch, said, "All technical parts of Lix were re-invented and made from scratch."
A $135 pledge provides for a production pen, black or gray matte, and three bags of mixed color plastic, to ship in December.
The team said in the FAQ section of the campaign page that "Plastic refills (straight ABS/PLA rods 1.75mm) will be available from our official web site or any other distributors [sic] shop. One bag of refills will contain 30 straight rods of colored plastic filaments and they will not cost more than 10 dollars for a bag. The exact price is not yet defined because we are still working on it."
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