Desktop 3D printers have long had a rocky road to legitimacy. For as long as the space has existed, critics have questioned its purpose beyond the creation of simple plastic ephemerals. It has been a difficult charge to escape, particularly for those handling thousands of dollars; as such, it’s probably no surprise that the market has seen, to put it mildly, a cooldown.
WobbleWorks has done as poorly as anyone with its line of 3D printing pens, though the startup has never really positioned itself as anything more than a toy company. Today, it sells two main products, both priced under $100, illustrated with color projects and designs created by audiences of all ages. Its newest offering, the $49 Start, has safety features and kid-friendly pricing.
With its latest product, however, the New England startup is going in the opposite direction. Inspired by users who have begun employing the company’s existing lines far beyond simple plastic toys, WobbleWorks is banking on a $249 prosumer device marketed toward creative professionals, ranging from architects to industrial designers.
The core tech is the same in the Pro, but nearly everything has been upgraded, starting with a sleek new carbon fiber casing that certainly adds a level of office professionalism to the traditionally tacky lineup of bright colors. There’s also a little LCD screen on the pen that shows the temperature, which now goes up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, which is, you know, really, really hot, and the bottom of the pen gets hot accordingly, so it’s best to keep out of the hands of the little ones.
The new level of wacky warmth is due to the addition of some great new materials from the company: wood, copper, bronze, nylon, and polycarbonate composites that offer much more versatility in terms of strength and malleability. In the case of wood strands, a pleasant smell of sawdust is obtained when the pen melts the strand; With polycarbonate, you get a material that draws air better than any of the company’s current material offerings.
The $249 3Doodler Pro ships with 100 strands of material, along with a set of nozzles and a portable battery. It’s available now through the MoMA Design Store and is coming soon to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Macy’s (of all places).