Seven Great and Weird Uses of 3D Printing

3D-printingAs the 3D printing continually develops and evolves, so does its uses. From just churning out plastic replicas or models of figures, it can now do many things. Different industries are taking advantage of 3D printers and integrating them into business and manufacturing processes.
Here is a list of the incredible yet weird uses of these 3D printers:

1.    Missing appliance parts. Many electricians have left many homes after a trial fixing saying they need to get the missing parts of an appliance. This is a common problem that many homeowners encounter especially with broken home appliances. Many of the manufacturers do provide manuals online, so publishing files for spare parts will only be a small stretch. This can be useful for tradesmen to print out the necessary parts in-demand, instead of waiting for a few hours.
2.    Fixing Bones. The 3D printers allow great customization when it comes to printing various things. One of its biggest uses has been in the medical field and in fixing bones. Just this year, a pelvis was printed out for a patient who lost half of his real pelvis to cancer. The 3D printed titanium pelvis was coated with a mineral that allowed the remaining to grow. The patient can now walk with a walking stick.
3.    Printing clothes. High fashion is utilizing 3D printers in coming up with complex and fashion forward designs. This also helps in making clothes that fit perfectly to the model. It’s also a cheaper alternative compared to using the traditional sewing. The technology will soon be used in creating the perfect-fitting clothes for every consumer.
4.    Food for the elderly.Dysphagia is among the many concerns of the elderly. This condition is also one of the causes of malnutrition because they lose their love for food. Soft and liquid meals are what they’re because these are easier to digest.With 3D printing, food can be printed to make it look and taste like real food instead of puree. These also melt in the mouth while meeting the nutritional needs of the patients.
5.    For wars. Aside from the printed plastic gun, the military is now looking at ways to use 3D printers in operations. The British defense company, BAE, has successfully flown a Tornado jet that used 3D printed parts. The parts of the landing gear and the cover of the radio cockpit have been created using a 3D printer. This has made the process quicker and cheaper saving the company thousands.
6.    Heart transplant.Studies are ongoing with using the 3D printer in creating human organs. The benefits of effectively doing so are numerous as it can help in saving lives and make medical care affordable in developing countries. This also ensures that the organs are custom-made for the patient. However, the ethical debate for this sophistication still increases.
7.    Drones.3D printing technology can create objects without needing any screws. This makes the output lighter. Because of this, 3D printing is suitable for building drones. Southampton University researchers made a drone with only a two-meter wingspan that can fly 90 miles per hour. It’s also quick to assemble.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MASHABLE.COM

Microsoft Works on Technology for 3D Printout of Faces

Microsoft Works on Technology for 3D Printout of Faces

Technology giants have obviously been captivated by the 3D printing technology. The popularity of the printers is propelling developments in software and hardware that complements the advancement of the technology. The more research and development done on the technology, the more available it becomes to the consumer.

A big company is currently working on a technology that allows users to face scan through mobile phones. The scans can be used in 3D printing a high-quality image of the user’s face.

Microsoft’s Skynet UI

With the rollout of the Windows phone, Microsoft is bringing about a new feature that will change mobile phones. The company is researching on technology that allows the phone to scan faces using the Windows phone camera.

The process is called 3D reconstruction and Windows is making it as easy as taking a picture. This technology will be called Skynet UI and is designed and researched by Zhiwei Li, Jiawei Gu, and Richard Cai.

The Skynet UI is aimed to enhance the user experience while lessening the barriers between 3D reconstruction and the users.

3D Reconstruction

The project was first unveiled October 2013. This is a tool that allows users to change physical objects to 3D models. This also supports 3D printing. The challenge is offering visual guidance to users who are capturing the entire surface through natural ways.

Initially, the research and development team mapped the application to have a UI frontend and a systematic backend. An augmented reality allowed the sphere to blend in and cover the targeted object.

Through the technology’s feedback and user guidance, the user can cover all the needed surface in order to create accurate and high quality 3D models.

How it Works

In order to get a 3D image of a face, one has to take a 360-degree photo. It’s very much similar to taking a panoramic photo where the UI cues the user on how to move around the face. The entire process is described as: tap start and tap end interaction.

After scanning the object, the user can move around the 3D model on the screen. The presentation is maintained and is accurate. Once the file has been hooked up to the 3D printer, the user can already create a 3D model of the person’s face.

The technology is not just for 3D printing selfies, but also for scanning other objects and spaces.

The team also demonstrated the technology in a short video including how to scan a face with a Windows phone.

Applications of the Technology

The developers are seeing the technology to be used in e-commerce, object recognition, and furniture industry. However, it is expected that new uses would come out for the technology once it has been released into the market.

The technology will be an incredible addition to the Windows phone once it’s out. It will change the game on mobile phones and how mobile devices are used by consumers. Soon enough, phones will be more equipped with features that will complement the 3D printing technology.

PHOTO COURTESY OF 3DPRINT.COM

Food Printer for the Elderly

Food Printer for the Elderly

The 3D printing technology has evolved quickly over the last few years. From churning out plastic objects, the machine can now use a variety of materials like chocolate and even steel. This has allowed the technology to be used in various industries and purposes.

Just recently, a German company developed a technology that can create easily dissolved food. This allows people to eat the food quickly.

For the Elderly

The company, Biozoon Food Innovations, is building a 3D printer extruder that produces solid food for the elderly. The printed food will melt quickly in the mouth. It is also designed for those suffering from dysphagia, a condition that makes it difficult for people to swallow.

Those who are limited to soft and liquid food find these kinds of meals less enjoyable. Biozoon is hoping to change the situation and create a wide variety of meals that through the 3D printer.

Biozoon Food Innovations

The company was founded in 2001by engineers and scientists and is based in Germany. The company aims to innovate the gastronomic industry, especially in the nutrition segment. They successfully launched their first product in 2006 with positive responses.

They ensure that they have the right technical skills in order to produce high-quality products for the market. They target athletes, chefs, the food sector, and those in the hospitals and elderly care. They also provide workshops for clients on a wide variety of topics including tips on using their products.

Since Biozoon started, it has continuously grown and expanded.

The SeneoPro

This is the powder mixes that will be used in the printer. The seneoPro can easily be used to prepare food for different nutritional needs. The powder is made by renowned chefs Herbert Thill and Markus Biedermann. It has four kinds of food texturizers that will meet the demands of the senses.

These powder mixes are used for printing in order to get the right food fit for the elderly and those suffering from dysphagia.

How it Works

The printed food will be created through the seneoPro powder and solidifies during printing. However, the food dissolves quickly in the mouth.

The printer works the same way as other 3D printers. It uses a liquefied food for its ink. Instead of having cartridges for different colors, the ink cartridges contain liquefied carbohydrates, vegetables, and meat.The machine has 48 nozzles in its printing head. The 3D printer creates the food layer by layer until the final food output is done.

The printed food can also be customized with texturizers and colorants to make them taste and look like real food. The company is also planning full customization of the printed food depending on the nutritional requirements of the patient. This allows the meals to be printed depending on the diet of the person.

The technology is targeted to be used in kitchens of nursing homes and hospitals to provide the right nutrition to the elderly and the other patients. Soon enough, this may also be used right at home.

PHOTO COURTESY OF 3DORES.COM

A Micro 3D Printer Tops Crowdfunding

A Micro 3D Printer Tops Crowdfunding

3D printers are popping out everywhere. From big manufacturers to startups, it seems like everyone is starting to invest on the technology. The 3D printing technology is also fast improving. From bulky machines, these have printers have evolved to smaller and more convenient ones.

Many startup companies are now developing breakthrough 3D printers through crowdfunding. This allows them to get enough capital for mass manufacturing.

One of the recent crowdfunding success stories has to do with 3D printers. M3D’s micro 3D printer successfully reached their startup goal through Kickstarter.com.

M3D in Kickstarter

The 3D printer was launched in the crowdfunding site on April 7. Its initial capital goal of $50,000 was reached in less than a day. After a month, the campaign reached more than $3 million in funding from 11,855 backers.

The M3D team noted early on the campaign that they were psyched with the news and how the backers would allow them to create more Micros.

Every dollar that was given to the project would let the team hire more staff in order to create more printers faster.M3D is expecting the finished printers to be delivered to the early adopters between this October and February 2015.

For those who missed the chance to back the project but are interested in owning a Micro printer, the team is accepting preorders on their site, TheMicro3D.com.

The Micro

This 3D printer is advertised as the first 3D printer that’s truly consumer. It is a lightweight device that’s USB compatible. It can be used with Linux, Mac, and Windows.

The printer is a cube and is roughly 7.3 inches in every side. It has five colors that interested buyers can choose from: green, blue, silver, black, and red/orange. It also promises the lowest energy consumption among all of the 3D printers that are in the market.

The printer is made to be compact to fit both beginners and experts in 3D printing. It is designed to fit different types of uses, which makes it a suitable 3D printer for everyone. Micro is built with a special technology called the micro motion technology. This is a system and sensor in the print head that allows it to auto-calibrate and auto-level.

Micro is also proudly made in the US. The printer is designed to be produced in the country with a combination of imported local components, which will be assembled in Maryland.

Different materials can be used with the printer. Users can choose ABS, PLA, or the Micro filament.

The M3D Team

M3D is a company based in Bethesda, Maryland. The printer came about after two years of debates and research. The team is composed of engineers, production experts, and artists who all want to bring about change in 3D printing.

The company was founded by David Jones and Michael Armani. Jones is a robotics engineer and software programmer. Jones, on the other hand, has PhD on materials engineering.

With more than enough funding, it’s safe to say that M3D will grow to staff and ready the production and delivery of the printers.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SMALBIZTRENDS.COM

3D-Printed Human Heart: Better Than Normal

3D-Printed Human Heart: Better Than Normal

The 3D printing technology is developing at a fast rate. From plastics, the machines are already capable in using different materials. Cells are among the newest materials that can be utilized by 3D printers for medical purposes. Organs and other body parts are now being printed and researched together with the technology to save more lives.

Researchers on 3D Printed Human Heart

A group of researchers from University of Louisville are looking into a 3D printed heart that works better than the average human heart. This machine-made human heart will also last longer. They are using collagen and fat cells to print the hearts.

Dr. Stuart Williams, the Bioficial Heart program chief, said that they are using 3D printing as well as similar biological manufacturing strategies in order to create the different parts of the heart.

The program is part of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in University of Louisville in Kentucky.

The team has not yet put together a working heart. They are still focusing their efforts on printing working parts of the heart.

The Process

Williams said that they are doing the research like building an airplane. These are built from the wheels up. The parts are made one by one and are assembled together.

A plane is very much like a human heart since it can’t be created at once. Being a complex muscle, the different parts, like the valve, electrical conducting system and blood vessels, have to be built first.

They used a detailed 3D printer in creating the heart. Collagen and fat cells are utilized in recreating the parts of the heart. A liter of fat cells can already give the researchers a lot of cells to work on.

Williams added that they are isolating the regenerative cells and mixing these cells with the collagen for printing purposes.

The Heart Printer

The researchers are using a six-axis printer. The machine can print one section of the heart at a time. It can build certain parts and just move around to print the correct position of the muscle.

This is a unique 3D printer that can only be found in the university. It is made specifically for bioprinting. Williams dubbed it as the bioassembly tool.

Earlier Researches and Future Undertakings

The researchers in the university has 3D printed a heart model of a toddler to help doctors in analyzing and treating his condition. The surgery and the project proved to be successful.

Their lab has printed a patch for the human heart. This is among the earliest clinical trials in bioprinting human heart. The patch is intended to mend certain parts of the heart and will be useful to pediatric patients since the patch will also grow.

The team is also working on bioprinting other projects for the cardiovascular system. Williams has also worked with pancreas, bone tissues, and kidney tissues for other patients.

The ultimate goal for Williams and the team is a fully-functional human heart that can keep patients alive for a longer time and would work better than the average heart. They are also looking into extra blood vessels in the heart as backups in case of clogging.

PHOTO COURTESY OF GEEKHAUS.COM

3D Printing Saves Costs for Autotransfusion Machine

3D Printing Saves Costs for Autotransfusion Machine

The 3D printing technology is becoming a useful tool in the different types of industries. One of the biggest use of 3D printers is in prototyping. Businesses and startups can easily prototype their products with 3D printing. Its rapid prototyping capability allows businesses to cut costs while speeding up the production.

A company based in the UK recently prototyped a new autotransfusion machine through a 3D printer.

Brightwake’sHemosep

Brightwake prototyped its machine called the Hemosep using printed parts from the Stratasys’ Dimension 1200es. This helped in reducing the costs of the company up to 96 percent and saved more than £1,000 for every model.

The Hemosep consists of a bag with a mechanical aggregator and chemical sponge. It helps in sucking drained blood during a surgery and recycles it back to the patient through transfusion. This helps in reusing spilled blood and ensuring it’s clean.

Steve Cotton, the director of research and development in Brightwake, said that before 3D printing the company had a three-week lag for their deliveries. This in turn slowed down their business process.

He added that 3D printing not only helped them in cutting costs but also in getting a functional machine for clinical trials.

The machine has garnered a lot of interest from healthcare providers and distributers and has been awarded with the CE mark.

The Printed Parts

The autotransfusion machine was created with a number of 3D printed parts. These include the cooling systems and the main filtration.

3D printing was a good solution to their prototyping since the company needed parts to be both durable and accurate.

Stratasys mentioned in a blog post that Brightwake reduced costs through 3D printing because designing and waiting for prototype parts no longer took weeks.

The Benefits of Autotransfusion

Recycling blood has a lot of benefits. This reduces the need for a blood donor or to look for blood in the blood banks. This also minimizes complications and risks that may happen due to the body’s reaction to the donor blood. The procedure is also safer and cheaper for children patients.

Julie Penoyer, a 50-year-old patient, is one of the first patients to receive the benefits from the Hemosep. The heart patient was a Jehovah’s Witness and could not receive donated blood because of her beliefs. However, through the autotransfusion machine, her blood was captured and returned into her body without violating her beliefs.

The Future of 3D Printing and Medicine

3D printing is now highly researched in the medical field. Prosthetics, organs, and bones are now 3D printed to provide new hope for patients. Printing working human organs is still a continuing research and will soon change the landscape of medicine and treating patients.

With 3D printing becoming highly used in producing medical devices, hospitals will have 3D printers to create necessary medical equipment. Soon 3D printing may be the future of manufacturing medical devices because of its fast and reliable performance.

The improvement and development of 3D printing in the industry will also benefit developing countries and help propel better and cheaper health care services in those areas.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIRED.CO.UK

3D Printer Turns Waste to Useful

3D printers are becoming more popular. Aside from that, these machines are also improving and are becoming more efficient in doing their tasks. Plastics, ceramics, chocolate, and steel can now be used in creating various objects through the printer.These printers are also becoming smaller than ever. This technology has sparked interest from a lot of researchers around the globe, and even from average tinkerers.  The Taipei Project  A group in Taipei has taken advantage the nifty size of 3D printers as they take the technology to the streets. They have mounted a 3D printer and a computer on a bike. Not just that, this creative machine is also useful as it transforms waste to useful objects.  The team is composed of four young professionals who are still in their twenties. They all come from design and art schools. The group adheres to the new maker movement that is starting all over the world.  The project is partly funded by the government in order to encourage homegrown talents to ready Taipei in becoming the World Design Capital in 2016.  The Mobile Fab  Fabcraft, a company based in Taipei, created this machine. They created design plans that will change how consumers look at 3D printing. They started with open-source software and built their own printer. They created the machine from scratch and used the available sources online. They strapped the machine into a bikeand went around town.  Kamm Kai-yu, a co-founder of Fabraft, said that they wanted to bring both 3D printing and recycling to the average people.  They called the machine the Mobile Fab. It works with plastic cups, especially those made in polypropylene. Because the city is known for making boba milk tea, there is an abundance of plastic cups everywhere. So, the team can always find a plastic cups for printing.  How it Works  The cups are turned to powder through a grinder that’s on the bike. This is used by the 3D printer as ink in creating tokens with gear shape. These are fitted with multi-color lights and are attached to the spokes on the bike. These can also be worn depending on the person’s preference.  Anyone can get the tokens or medallions for free as long as they bring their own plastic cups for recycling. However, people have to wait for around two hours for the machine to finish all the process and get the final tokens.  Any design can be printed out of the machine, but the medallion is the usual output.  Spreading Awareness  Kamm added that the company wants to spread awareness of the technology. Aside from that, they also want people to be conscious of the ecology and waste.  He said that people can learn from how the 3D printer works and how trash can become useful. Soon, people won’t be scared to face such kind of technology.  Because the team has been constantly biking around the city, they have received a lot of attention and interest from the ordinary bystanders. Because of this, they are looking forward to build a bigger version of the Mobile Fab and continue to bike around places and spread the message to the citizens.  Through their eco and tech efforts, Fabraft has grown its profile in the local tech scene. 3D printers are becoming more popular. Aside from that, these machines are also improving and are becoming more efficient in doing their tasks. Plastics, ceramics, chocolate, and steel can now be used in creating various objects through the printer.These printers are also becoming smaller than ever. This technology has sparked interest from a lot of researchers around the globe, and even from average tinkerers.

The Taipei Project

A group in Taipei has taken advantage the nifty size of 3D printers as they take the technology to the streets. They have mounted a 3D printer and a computer on a bike. Not just that, this creative machine is also useful as it transforms waste to useful objects.

The team is composed of four young professionals who are still in their twenties. They all come from design and art schools. The group adheres to the new maker movement that is starting all over the world.

The project is partly funded by the government in order to encourage homegrown talents to ready Taipei in becoming the World Design Capital in 2016.

The Mobile Fab

Fabcraft, a company based in Taipei, created this machine. They created design plans that will change how consumers look at 3D printing. They started with open-source software and built their own printer. They created the machine from scratch and used the available sources online. They strapped the machine into a bikeand went around town.

Kamm Kai-yu, a co-founder of Fabraft, said that they wanted to bring both 3D printing and recycling to the average people.

They called the machine the Mobile Fab. It works with plastic cups, especially those made in polypropylene. Because the city is known for making boba milk tea, there is an abundance of plastic cups everywhere. So, the team can always find a plastic cups for printing.

How it Works

The cups are turned to powder through a grinder that’s on the bike. This is used by the 3D printer as ink in creating tokens with gear shape. These are fitted with multi-color lights and are attached to the spokes on the bike. These can also be worn depending on the person’s preference.

Anyone can get the tokens or medallions for free as long as they bring their own plastic cups for recycling. However, people have to wait for around two hours for the machine to finish all the process and get the final tokens.

Any design can be printed out of the machine, but the medallion is the usual output.

Spreading Awareness

Kamm added that the company wants to spread awareness of the technology. Aside from that, they also want people to be conscious of the ecology and waste.

He said that people can learn from how the 3D printer works and how trash can become useful. Soon, people won’t be scared to face such kind of technology.

Because the team has been constantly biking around the city, they have received a lot of attention and interest from the ordinary bystanders. Because of this, they are looking forward to build a bigger version of the Mobile Fab and continue to bike around places and spread the message to the citizens.

Through their eco and tech efforts, Fabraft has grown its profile in the local tech scene.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TAKEPART.COM

 

The Rise of the 3D Printed Drone

The Rise of the 3D Printed Drone

3D printing technology has been a useful tool in ushering man into a new age. This Jetson-like technology is changing industries. The manufacturing, medical, and automobile industries have tapped into 3D printing and have made processes easier and faster.

Even the military and NASA are actively researching on the possibilities of using 3D printers. This time, the technology has opened the possibility of disposable printed drones.

The Research

The 3D printed drone is still a prototype made by the engineers from the University of Sheffield. The team is from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre from the said university.

The prototype is just 1.5 meters wide and is part of a research on 3D printing complex designs. This UAV consists of nine parts that can be connected together. Its material is thermoplastic and only weighs two kilograms.

What makes this drone quite unique is that it is made affordably. Usually, drones are built by big manufacturers because of its high cost and complex process. Although the manufacturing cost of the prototype hasn’t been released yet, the researchers noted that it is quite more affordable compared to the ones made by known manufacturers.

To build the drone, the research team used fused deposition modeling or FDM, a 3D printing technique. Although this is slower compared to other 3D printing methods, the process is more affordable.

Mark Cocking, one of the engineers, added that through FDM they were able to control the design to prevent build deformation and add a few unique features.

Its Possible Applications

The low cost of 3D printing makes it a possible solution to one-way flights for search and deliveries. Polymer crafts could be the beginning of affordable versions of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This will allow for disposable UAVs that can be built and flown in case of emergency and remote situations.

The aim of the research was to create cheap UAVs as quickly as within 24 hours. This might even lead to the future of airborne squadrons from desktop 3D printers.

Theoretically, homes can now create their own drone models through 3D printers like the Velleman K8200.

Further Research

The prototype has completed the test flight after being flown as a glider. This is just the beginning of what’s more to come to drones and its 3D printing possibilities.

The researchers are now creating an electric fan propulsionin order to make it more controllable. A GPS-guided technology will also be developed to allow first-person operation through goggles. They are also looking into using nylon as a material to make the drone stronger without increasing its weight.

Once the research becomes successful, the rest of the industry will surely follow suit and see if they can make a disposable drone.

The Drone Popularity

Aside from the researchers from the university, there are also other companies who are looking into drones. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said that they are working on drones, as well as other technology, in order to provide internet to the underdeveloped countries. He is considering the use of solar power in keeping drones flying. Amazon is also working on drones for delivering goods to customers.

PHOTO COURTESY OF INKPAL.COM

The First 3D Printer Café in Europe

The First 3D Printer Café in Europe

With the rise of 3D printers and its seemingly trendy products, it’s no surprise that everyone is catching up with the technology. Different industries have found a number of uses for the machine, especially in manufacturing. 3D printers helped in speeding up the processes in different business and in hospitals. There are even printers for home use.

Now, a café intended for 3D printing opened in Barcelona and is considered the first 3D printer café in all of Europe.

FabCafe

This is a boutique café that allows users to have their own space for 3D printing. Half is for FabLab while the other half is a coffee shop. This is the first establishment in Europe and will follow the models of FabCafe in Taipei and Tokyo.

The café was founded in Tokyo in 2011. It was created to merge 3D printers and laser cutters with a coffee shop and make such experience accessible to everyone. It is playing three roles, as a local creative community, a café, and a platform for the maker community around the globe.

The café provides consumers an easy access to 3D printing, which is the latest technology in fabrication. Thus, the café is named FabCafe.

What it Offers

FabCafe offers a variety of digital fabricators or “fabbers.” These are also called factories in a box, which are tools that can make real 3D items from digital files. The machine lays down a succession of layers in order to create the object.

Users can make their own designs through any mobile device or laptop and have these designs created while they wait.Fabber users also have the option to use the pre-existing designs from a growing database of templates.

The most popular items to be printed are toys, decors, and personalized jewelries. However, this has also been used heavily in creating prototypes for industrial purposes.

Having the FabCafe no longer requires any shipping on the 3D printed items. Products can be manufactured within minutes.

FabCafe is in the Makers of Barcelona (MOB), a co-working space in Eixample where professional for different disciplines collaborate and innovate. Their expert staff, the FabGirls and FabBoys, will be assisting novice users in case they have questions about the technology.

The 3D printing service in FabCafe costs from €8 to €30, depending on the printing time and complexity.

Cecilia Tham, founder and director of MOB, said that they want people to use 3D printers every day in order to create something for themselves.

Just for a Start

The FabCafe in Barcelona is just the first that MOB is taking. This is going to be an meeting café for people to print out their models while having coffee and disseminating information and knowledge on 3D printing to the community.

MOB also wants to focus on the maker movement in Barcelona. It is also becoming a city of fabricators as workshops and design schools are everywhere. This allows the public to have easy access to technology. A lot of individuals in the city also have overflowing support of digital manufacturing, which leads to the FAB10 Barcelona this summer.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CLUBHOUSENEWS.COM

Lixpen: An Actual 3D Printing Pen

Lixpen: An Actual 3D Printing Pen

3D printing is taking the world by storm. It’s becoming a technological trend that is changing the landscape of different industries. These 3D printers have changed from industrial-sized printers to tabletop ones. The compact size makes the printer friendlier for home use.

Now, 3D printer pens have made the technology even handier and more cost-effective.

The Popularity of 3D Printing Pens

3Doodler’s 3D printing pen started the whole craze on such handy devices. Their Kickstarter funding campaign received a lot of attention from funders, getting around $2.3 million for capital. The pen made 3D printing quite accessible to people who find desktop 3D printers too intimidating or pricey.

However, the 3Doodler was too bulky and can be uncomfortable after a few minutes of use. There have also been a lot of similar devices but none that ergonomic.

Lix: A New Alternative

The Lix is a new option for those interested in 3D printing pens. It is closer to a real pen in size and the body is from 12mm to 14mm in width. It is more like a marker than a pen.

Aside from its comfortable size, the extrude buttons are placed in ergonomic areas. Other 3D printing pens have buttons that are close to the bottom which makes it harder to push. Lix’s buttons are located farther up and is easier to push.

The pen also looks like a toy rather than a tool with its aluminum body. However, it still can’t be a children’s toy since it can get hot from melting the plastic. It has an attractive and utilitarian design so it’s not just for 3D printing purposes. The Lix offers a ballpoint form, as well.

Lix is compatible with PLA and ABS plastics and the filaments are fed on top of the pen.

How It Works

The Lix, like the other 3D printing pens, works like a glue gun. The filament, that is either PLA or ABS, is melted by a heating feature at the tip. From there, the plastic filament cools quickly so users can draw certain forms on any plane. This allows an easy way to create three-dimensional art anytime, anywhere through the pen.

The artistic applications for the Lix pen are endless. There’s even a potential for it to be used for serious designs. However, the 3D printed output may be quite limited to what the pen and the user can create.

The Brains behind Lix

The startup company that created Lix was just established this year and is based in the UK. Delphine Eloise Wood, Ismail Baran, and Anton Suvorov, the founders of the company, all have backgrounds in technology and art.

It was Suvorov who designed the Lix and placed the buttons strategically. He also added a power feature that allows the pen to be plugged into a USB port.

Lix’s Prices

The Lix will be launched on Kickstarter for a crowdfunding campaign on an unspecified date. It will be sold on the crowdfunding site for $70. Then the price will jump to $140 for the market. Meanwhile the Lix ballpoint pen will be available for $40 at first and for $60 afterwards.

PHOTO COURTESY OF 3DORES.ORG