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3Doodler’s new Create+ pen integrates dual drive & other upgrades for effortless 3D drawing

3D pen pioneer 3Doodler has announced the release of its latest products: the Create+ Pen and the 2018 Create Product Line. Starting at $80, the new 3D pen—the latest version of 3Doodler’s legacy Kickstarter product—integrates a range of improvements that promise to make 3D drawing easier than ever before.

Having introduced 3D pen technology in 2013, 3Doodler is no stranger to firsts. And it has proven that again by integrating a dual drive system into a 3D pen device for the first time ever. The clever mechanism not only makes loading plastic into the pen easier, but also reduces the risk of material jams.

“Traditionally, 3D printers and 3D pens have an idler wheel and a drive gear,” 3Doodler co-founder Maxwell Bogue told us. “As time goes on, issues can arise in this system, with the idler skipping or the drive gear not catching on one side. We figured that if we used a dual drive system—meaning that there are drive gears on both sides of the plastic— that, if there was a sizing issue with the plastic or if there was a gauge on one side of the plastic, it wouldn’t affect the flow of extrusion because the dual drive could pick up the slack by compensating on the other side.”

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“We’re really excited because the dual drive system provides a much smoother and steadier flow and also gives us more speed control with our DC motor system,” he added. “We don’t use stepper motors like traditional 3D printers because of the cost. By using a DC motor, we can keep the cost of the 3D pen reasonable for consumers. And with the new dual drive system, we’re able to have more defined control of the whole mechanism.”

The new dual-drive mechanism is not the only improvement that 3Doodler has made to its latest 3D pen, however. It has also introduced a new heating algorithm for improved performance, an auto retraction feature to prevent oozing, auto sleep mode and more precise speed settings. The accessible tool has also been optimized for use with PLA, ABS and FLEXY plastics and comes with 24/7 multi-channel customer support and a new Ultimate Guide to Doodling handbook.

Speaking about the upgraded heating algorithm, Bogue explains that the improvements help to prevent jamming, especially while using PLA plastic. “PLA has a tendency to expand when it is sitting in a hot chamber,” he explained. “We’ve significantly reduced the chances of that expansion with the new dual drive and updated heating algorithm. Ultimately, consumers just want things to work and that’s what were aiming for.”

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“We ran beta testing for the Create+ with about 100 people and had extremely positive feedback from it,” he continued. “We weren’t seeing any of the frustrations that we had heard before from experienced users. And we also tested it on people who had never used a 3Doodler before and they were very positive as well.”

“Technology is meant to be invisible. For example, your tv just works. You don’t want to have to understand it in order to get it to work. And that has been one of our goals. Because the 3Doodler was a new concept when it came out in 2013, we faced some issues because we just weren’t aware of what people would be doing with it. We never expected consumers to be using a 3Doodler for 12 hours straight, for instance. Now, with changes like the dual drive and alterations to the heating mechanism, it doesn’t seem to have any issues anymore.”

Indeed, 3Doodler’s clients have played an important part in realizing the 3D pen’s potential, and Bogue explains that certain projects have already way exceeded what he initially envisioned for the 3D pens. From dresses and wearables, to engineering models, to a small-scale replica of Antoni Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia church, it seems you can build almost anything using the 3D drawing tool.

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To demonstrate the Create+’s capabilities, teacher Cornelia Kuglmeier (responsible for the amazing Sagrada Familia project) was commissioned by 3Doodler to create an eight-foot-tall Statue of Liberty. “The statue of liberty is very cool,” said Bogue. “It was made using the Create+ and Connie doodled it all using one pen, which is quite impressive. Previously, she had to have three pens to switch between. With this project, she was able to continuously draw without having to think about it.”

Looking ahead, Bogue sees huge potential for the future of 3D pen technology. “As of right now, we’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg,” he told us. “Eventually, it will supplant the hot glue gun and provide a better way of bonding but also being able to create in a dimensional way. I think we’ll see more industrial applications starting to come out. I foresee medical applications in the future, as well as the technology getting bigger in education.”

In addition to the release of the Create+, 3Doodler has also announced its 2018 Create Product Line which includes Home Décor and DIY Project Kits and a number of STEM products, such as an Engine Kit and an Advanced Robotics Kit. All Project Kits and Canvases are retailing for $30. For people who already own a 3Doodler pen (v.1, 2.0 or Create), 3Doodler is offering a trade-up bundle which will include a free Tuk-Tuk Project Kit (with four packs of plastic), a DoodlePad and a mix pack of FLEXY plastic with the purchase of the Create+ pen.

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“We’re very excited to be see what people will make with our new product and we think that it is going to make our product easier and more accessible,” concluded Bogue. “We didn’t think we were going to start an industry when we did a Kickstarter in 2013. And its very clear that we’ve done that. We hope to continue on our wonderful adventure of creating 3D pens.”

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault moved from her home of Montreal, Canada to the Netherlands in 2014 to pursue a master’s degree in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. It was during her time in Amsterdam that she became acquainted with 3D printing technology and began writing for a local additive manufacturing news platform. Now based in France, Tess has over two and a half years experience writing, editing and publishing additive manufacturing content with a particular interest in women working within the industry. She is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM industry.

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