Last year, the folks over at CreoPop started working on a 3D drawing pen that always kept its cool. Instead of heating of ABS or PLA plastic filaments like the 3Doodler from WobbleWorks, the CreoPop uses light-sensitive inks that solidify when exposed to UV light, so sketchers young or old don't need to worry about having to steer clear of the piping hot creative end. Now the company is preparing to go into production.
Anyone who has had a minor mishap with a soldering iron will know how painful such encounters can be. So when kids are around a 3D sketch pen that melts strands of plastic by heating its tip to 270° C (over 500° F), parents can be forgiven for putting the soothing salve on ice, or carrying a phone set to speed dial the local burns unit.
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The CreoPop pen uses three UV light diodes, which are reported to be of similar strength to ordinary sunlight, to harden the gooey "cool ink" paste coming out of the nozzle. Its creators say that not only does this make the device safe for both adults and children, but it doesn't give off any unpleasant melting plastic smells either.
Each non-toxic ink capsule is reported to be good for 14 m (46 ft) of 3 mm thick strands, and changing the ink cartridge is said to take just a few seconds. The photopolymer paste is available in a variety of colors, and has been developed so that the company can change the properties of the inks. This has so far led to glow-in-the-dark variants, and inks that change color at different temperatures. Magnetic, elastic, conductive, aromatic, body paint and glittering inks are also in the works.
The CreoPop pen's 800 mAh battery is charged via a micro-USB port to the top of the plastic body, which means it can be operated without an annoying power cord interrupting an artist's three-dimensional creative flow. Users can expect at least 2 hours of use in return for an hour's juicing up, with LED status level indicators keeping you posted on remaining battery level.
The 190 x 37 x 35 mm (7.5 x 1.5 x 1.4 in) CreoPop "cool ink" 3D pen is due to launch on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform on June 17. It will be pitched at US$89 each, which includes five ink capsules. Additional cartridges will be priced at either $2 (standard) or $3 (premium). Anyone registering interest at the CreoPop website before the campaign starts will be eligible for a special offer. If all goes according to plan, the first batch of pens will ship in Q1 2015.
Meanwhile, have a look at the company's Andreas Birnik introducing the CreoPop 3D pen in the video below.
Update 18 June 2014: The CreoPop pen has now launched on Indiegogo, where an early pledge is available for $79.