As Gizmag discovered when we got to briefly try out the 3Doodler handheld 3D printer back in January, sketching in mid-air can be great fun. You're unlikely to be running off any musical instruments or flying machines, but it is possible to serve up something more elaborate than a squiggle ball with a little practice. If the large novelty pen or jumbo marker form factor of the WobbleWorks device is just a tad on the chunky side for your money, London-based Lix Pen has heard your cry. Its 3D printing pen is claimed the smallest in the world.
The Lix 3D printing pen is powered using a supplied 49 in (125 cm) cable that plugs into any USB port that happens to be nearby. The device is fashioned from aluminum, and is 6.45 in (164 mm) long with a diameter of 0.55 in (14 mm). Straight ABS/PLA plastic rods of 0.068 in (1.75 mm) diameter and 10 in (30 cm) long are fed into the top of the pen, near the power port. It then makes its way through to a heated nozzle at the other end (the temperature of which can reach up to 190°C/374°F). Flow is controlled by buttons on the lower part of the housing, and each filament should last a couple of minutes.
Like the fatter 3Doodler and SwissPen, melted plastic emerges from the nozzle and quickly cools so that three dimensional structures can be built up from the bottom. With some practice and a steady hand, users could use the tool for basic prototyping, the creation of custom jewelry or freestanding decorative sculptures, or eye-catching models like the one below.
When launched into the consumer space, the Lix 3D printing pen will be available for an estimated street price of US$140. The three-person development team of Delphine Eloise Wood, Anton Suvorov and Ismail Baran is also releasing a ballpoint version for about $60. Before all that happens, though, the project is being readied for a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that's set to start in the coming weeks.
Backers will get the chance to make significant savings on the expected retail price, assuming funding is successful. Shipping has been penciled in for a September start.
Should the campaign fail to reach its target, the company plans to forge ahead anyway. "We have already a plenty of partnership propositions from many different countries as USA, Japan, Singapore, UK, Germany, Switzerland etc.," Suvorov told us. "If the KS campaign proves unsuccessful we will certainly continue to work with our potential partners."
You can see the Lix 3D printing pen in action in the video below.
Update April 29: The Kickstarter campaign launched today, and took only two hours to pass its funding goal.
Source: Lix Pen