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CES 2014 isn’t just about high-tech curved TVs and attention-grabbing buzzwords like “enterprise cloud synergy”—some old-school smart tech is on display, too. One of those items that caught our eye on Tuesday is the 3Doodler art pen, capable of creating 3D plastic sculptures.
I got to try out the 3Doodler at CES and it’s a fun little tool. Start by extruding plastic onto a piece of paper to anchor it so it doesn’t move. Then, move the pen through the air, holding down the extruder button and leaving a trail of colored ABS plastic as you go. The pen has two different speed settings and looks a lot like a modern version of a hot glue gun. The plastic cools almost instantly, keeping its shape.
There is a definite learning curve for the device. Creating something neat takes a bit of planning, but once you get the hang of it, the 3Doodler can create some neat designs. My first attempt at 3D art definitely won’t make it to a museum, but the folks working at the 3Doodler booth were able to quickly make crude plastic dogs. And as you can see in the image above, it is possible to create large sculptures (albeit expensive, given the cost of the additional ABS plastic strands).
While it’s fun, it’s important to note that 3Doodler is not for young children. Like a hot glue gun, the tip of the device gets incredibly hot (464°F) and can hurt little hands. Even older children should be warned about potential dangers to themselves and their furniture. And don’t forget that small pieces of plastic can be a choking hazard.
The 3Doodler was a Kickstarter project last year, but has since gone mainstream. You can find the 3Doodler at ThinkGeek at the end of the month and at Brookstone stores for spring. It can currently be pre-ordered on the 3Doodler website, where $99 gets you the pen plus 50 ABS plastic strands. Extra plastic can be purchased in the colors of your choice for $9.99 for 25 strands.