Pen 'that can draw in the air' brings multi-million funding rush to US firm
A pen that can draw in the air - actually a three-dimensional printer in the form of a hand-held pen - has drawn a rush of investors on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.
There have been so many pledges — with people offering the minimum of $75 to eventually get their hands on one — that it has quickly generated $2 million in funding.
This makes one of the most successful campaigns in the short history of Kickstarter, the Massachusetts-based crowd funding site .
The pen known as the 3Doodler is the brainchild of toy creators Peter Dilworth and Max Bogue.
The 3Doodler spits out plastic that can be molded into shapes, allowing users to make creations in the air.
But unlike the company’s other creations — a mechanical dinosaur and flapping bunny ears — the 3Doodler is NOT a toy.
"You can’t sell a pen with a hot metal tip for extruding plastic to young kids, said Bogue, a former project director for the Hong Kong toy maker WowWee Group.
Dilworth and Bogue, who founded the toy and robotics company WobbleWorks in 2010, set out last month to raise just $30,000 on Kickstarter, which provides an online platform for anyone to find willing donors for creative projects.
Creators often promise their backers something in return for the contributions, such as a sample of the product they are helping to develop.
In the case of WobbleWorks, it promised many donors their own 3Doodler. So far, it has about 22,000 eager customers.
“We never expected the rate at which it happened,” Bogue told the Boston Globe, in a front-page story in the Business Section today.
“That many orders, that quickly, is just astounding and amazing.”
The Globe spells out what exactly the 3-D pen is:
'The 3Doodler is about the size of a large marker and, like a 3-D printer that turns digital images into physical shapes, it spits out plastic that can be molded into forms. But unlike a 3-D printer, this device allows users to freely draw and make creations either in the air or on a flat surface.'
“You can sculpt with it,” Bogue said.
But you don’t necessarily have to be an artist to use it. It can be used to fix most anything that’s made from plastic. And if you can use a pen, you can use the doodler, he said.
“It does feel like a giant permanent marker in your hand,” said artist Ecco Pierce, who has experimented with a prototype of the pen.
She used it to create a tiny blue sculpture of an ostrich, which WobbleWorks uses to promote the possibilities of the 3Doodler. With the pen, she said, “the barrier between you and your idea is very thin.”
The success of the 3Doodler comes as 3-D printing is quickly gaining popularity and being embraced by many consumers and businesses.
The cost of 3-D printers has dropped — some of the less expensive models cost about $1,000