You may recall that earlier this year, WobbleWorks made quite a splash on Kickstarter, raising over US$2 million for its 3Doodler. Surprising as it sounds though, there may actually now be some competition in the handheld 3D printer market. Swiss 3D Print recently revealed its own device, called the SwissPen, that sketches wire sculptures in mid-air using heated plastic filaments.

Like the 3Doodler, the SwissPen handles like a large novelty pen and allows users to create three-dimensional objects as well as 2D drawings that can be lifted right off whatever surface they're sketched on. More industrious users can even craft multiple pieces that link together to form a single work of 3D art.

The pen itself measures only 1.4 in (3.6 cm) wide and weighs 7 oz (198 g), which is sizable for a writing instrument, but miniscule for a 3D printer. Once it's been loaded with an ABS or PLA strand at one end and plugged into an electrical outlet, it just takes a minute to warm up before it can start drawing free-form sketches in the air. According to Swiss 3D Print, the filament won't burn your skin after it leaves the tip, but it's still hot enough that the company doesn't recommend children under 12 years old handle it without supervision.

Where it differs from its competitor, though, is in the size of the plastic it can use. Unlike the 3Doodler, the SwissPen only works with 1.75-mm plastic that has been segmented into filaments, and the developers advise users against fitting it to a longer spool.

Swiss 3D Print is already offering the SwissPen for pre-order on its website for CHF 95 (about US$103) along with plastic filament packages for CHF 39.95 ($43). Each pen is packaged with a universal 110-240V power supply and a sampler pack of 220 filaments, each with a length of 25 cm (10 in). The filaments come in a range of 11 colors and customers have the option of choosing whether they want ABS or PLA plastic. The SwissPens are expected to begin shipping internationally in October.

For now, you can watch the video below to see a few examples of the fun creations the pen can produce.

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