3D-printing pens change plastic filaments into a gel that hardens when it hits the air, allowing users to create sculptures freehand. A new company thinks that using all that plastic is expensive and wasteful, and is aiming to create a new kind of 3D pen that does its thing using old plastic bottles, bags and even folders. It's called the Renegade and it's seeking backers on Kickstarter now.
In typical 3D-printing pens, like the 3Doodler, a long plastic rod is inserted into the back end, a heating element softens it, and a motor pushes it out the tip in a moldable gel that lets users literally draw multi-dimensional objects in midair. But not only does that require the use of plastic, it can also get pricey, with a pack of 25 filaments for the 3Doodler for example, costing US$9.99.
NEW ATLAS NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
Upgrade to a Plus subscription today, and read the site without ads.
It's just US$19 a year.UPGRADE NOW
The Renegade attacks the dual problem of filament cost and waste by accepting strips of plastic made from bottles or a range of other plastic material. To help you get your bottles into strips that the Renegade can swallow, the makers are also providing something called ChupaCut that basically turns a single bottle into a ribbon of plastic with a pull.
The pen can accept 5 to 7-mm strips from PET plastic bottles, plastic bags, or plastic files with a thickness of 0.14 to 0.35 mm.
Obviously, one of the disadvantages of relying on old plastic to make your creations is that your color schemes will be extremely limited. Fortunately, the Renegade can also take standard filaments just like other 3D pens, so your creativity needn't suffer while you're looking out for the environment.
For early birds, a pledge of £75 (about US$99) will reserve the Renegade pen and the enigmatically named ChupaCut. It's also possible to pledge for each item separately.
In order to back this product, it seems that you'll want to have a strong interest in either the environment or in turning trash to crafts, as you can get the 3Doodler for exactly the same price, without the usual worries that come along with a crowdfunding campaign in terms of production and quality.
Still, if you decide to give the Renegade a go, and all goes according to plan, the pen is expected to ship in January 2017.
Update (Oct. 4, 2016): The original Kickstarter campaign was canceled by the project creator on July 26, but a new preorder campaign was launched the following day.