Once the hottest thing in gadgetry, 3D printers have become less buzzy as folks tire of ABS figurines. 3Doodler is trying to shake things up a bit with its 3Doodler Pro, a freehand pen that can print with materials containing real wood, copper and bronze. It doesn’t melt copper, obviously, but 3Doodler adds particles of real metal and wood chips to a plastic ink base. The result is wood printouts that smell and sand like the real thing, or copper and bronze inks that glow when you shine them up.
The other interesting new material is polycarbonate, which 3Doodler says “requires a high melting point … [and] cools and solidifies very rapidly,” which is ideal for printing true 3D objects in midair. It also introduced nylon inks with a “semi-flexible, fabric-like feel,” and one called Flexy, “suitable for designs that need to bend, flex or twist.”
On top of the materials, the 3Doodler Pro gives you a lot more control over the printing than the previous, more basic models. There’s an LCD display and temperature dial that lets you select up to a fiery 250 degrees Celcius (485 degrees F), a slide switch for the obviously necessary fan, carbon fiber construction, and dial-controlled, variable speed settings. It’s also got a new drive system that works “even under intense use,” the company says.
You’ll pay $249 for all those features, which is quite a chunk, but the 3Doodler Pro is still cheap compared to a regular 3D printer. Given its artist and designer target market, it’s appropriate that it’s only available at MoMA design store to start with, but will soon hit Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Macy’s.