back to article Behold! World's smallest 3D-printer pen Lix artists into shape – literally

A London-based startup has unveiled the world's smallest 3D-printing pen – smaller than a posh fountain pen. A year ago we reported on 3Doodler, another British 3D pen that is now available in Maplin for £99.99. The newcomer unveiled yesterday, Lix, is actually pen-sized, weighs just 40g, and raised £100,000 on Kickstarter in 24 …

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Anonymous Coward

Yes But...

Quote

The first production models are expected to be delivered in October. It's hard to imagine a home with kids not having a 3D pen before too long

How long before those little darlings find out that they can have a great laugh filling up things that should not be filled with these devices. For example, locks. Suddenly filling the keyhole with Araldite etc is so uncool.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes But...

You might want to abandon facial hair too - daddy's eyebrows will be hard to untangle from the kid's attempts at enhancement. You better make sure they don't have that pen handy before you take a nap on the couch :).

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Bronze badge
Pint

Re: Yes But...

Personally I don't think the target audience for the device really is kids - many traditional 2D artists would love these and I can imagine these being used for initial modelling and visualization of objects for films and the like too.

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Oh Great

I now going to have to squint in 3d to try an guess what the little one has created and attached to the cat,dog, or gold fish !

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Silver badge

3D ink blots

> outputs solid lines as you move the pen through the air

My hot-melt glue gun has been doing that for years. Crikey! I have a 3D printer and I never even knew it.

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They should make one that will melt sugar so we can make michelin star quality sugar baskets to stick next to our ice-land frozen cheesecakes and haribo.

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You bastard!

That's got me wondering now..............

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Silver badge

It's been done already. Don't expect anything produced to be cheap but there are both chocolate and icing sugar printers on the market already.

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Joke

" It's hard to imagine a home with kids not having a 3D pen before too long."

Until they start doodling on the wallpaper !

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3D printing inception

How long before we are using 3D printers to make 3D pens to make a 3D printer?

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Gold badge

Re: 3D printing inception

Cool: recursive printing..

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Re: 3D printing inception

The RepRap project that sort of kicked off a lot of the 3D print at home projects aims for self replication.

http://reprap.org/wiki/RepRapWiki:About

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Silver badge

Re: 3D printing inception

A wood lathe with bushing mounted centers is generally considered to be the only piece of manufacturing equipment that can be used to create an identical version of itself and retain 100% of the accuracy and precision of the original (if you want to be fancy you can turn the bushings and centers out of soft metal like bronze instead of lignum vitae, but whatever) It's a very old thinking exercise for students and apprentices in applied manufacturing.

That little nugget of information is important because it's still valid. Even the big multi-turret compound axis CNC Centers we have here aren't single machines. They are groups of individual machines communicating with one another and working toward a common goal (hence the 'Center' designation). Should 3D printers one day be able to truly reproduce themselves it will mark a huge shift in manufacturing. It's pretty damn cool.

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Bronze badge

Excuses

"It's hard to imagine a home with kids not having a 3D pen before too long"

But Miss, please Miss, my homework is all melted and dat Miss, honest.

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Bronze badge

OMG

Now I really wish I wasn't so useless at drawing

This is the sort of product which could become a 'game-changer' simply becuase it is only limited by skill and imagination.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OMG

.. and by limited liability insurance as you give kids hot melty stuff to mess with..

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Thumb Up

Re: OMG

Awesome!! I want!!

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Meh

Solution in search of a problem

Sorry to sound cynical over such a cool gadget but exactly what would this be useful for, except some 3D doodling. The filaments are too thin and weak to make anything useful and you need a very steady hand to make anything that looks good. I think even kids would get bored with this pretty quickly (like the old etch-a-sketches) as it is so limited and slow. It's basically a boy's toy for geeks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Solution in search of a problem

Going by the last picture in the article it's girls toy for 'artists'.

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Angel

Re: Solution in search of a problem

I disagree. My artist parents would love this; it takes the sketch from 2D on the page to 3D in the air. OK I understand they will be brittle, but imagine being able to capture the result and turn it into a virtual model too, for later reproduction using a more "conventional" 3D printing technology.

If only these were available NOW - my birthday present purchases for them would be sorted.

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Re: Solution in search of a problem

Maybe the reason why a few people here are having problems thinking of reasons for wanting this is because this is a tech site and, as you say, it is the artists in the world who could make use of this.

My mother would have been enthralled by this. For example, making costume headdresses for dance recitals: those took ages to make out of wire, compared to the time it took to draw the template on paper. Plus the ability to get a wider range of colours out of plastic filament.

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Re: Solution in search of a problem

The concept isn't new. A slightly bulkier, also Kickstarter funded version, can be bought from Maplin.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/3doodler-3d-printing-pen-n00ds

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Meh

Fab. Er...

These look really good and I'm sure are terribly exciting for a lot of people but I'm really struggling to think of a sensible use for them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fab. Er...

There isn't any sensible use for a Ferrari Enzo, either, but I'm guessing you wouldn't turn one down if someone gave you the keys...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: struggling to think of a sensible use for them

the same's been said for an iPad.

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Silver badge

Is it me?

The final photo shows a cup and saucer set and a beaker that have been made by this "game changing" device - I might be wrong, but there seem to be lots of holes in all of them that may violate some of the functional requirements of their intended form.

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I'm gonna wait for

the Star Trek replicator.

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Silver badge

Useful for artists...

Not so sure about kids though. I can quite easily imagine these things being relegated to serious artists, or at least crafty adults. Rather like how most kids are given those cheap $2 water color trays that come with a 50 cent brush whereas serious artists will spend $5 minimum on each color and no less than $10 on each brush (and will have several brushes as opposed to the one that kids are expected to make do with).

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Pint

am i the only one...

that wants to mount it on a robot arm....?

P.

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Silver badge

Re: am i the only one...

Yes. If you have a robot arm, you can do way better than a dinky little pen running off a rechargeable battery. Depending on the size of the arm, you could fit at least one, and possibly several, extruder heads as used in your average 3D-printer. A wired power source means more power available to the extruder(s), and for an unlimited time, meaning a higher feed rate and filled-out parts instead of something resembling shaped chicken wire.

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Bronze badge

I want!

...But only if there are interchangeable color cartridges. I want to be able to draw in 3D in color.

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Silver badge

Bah! Old news

People have been doing this with hot glue guns for ages.

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Silver badge

Re: Bah! Old news

Yes. But not with such fine control and delicate lines. Kind of important with artistic tools.

People have been doing pyrography for centuries too. But a nice wire tipped pyro pen is a very different tool to the end of a poker shoved in a fire until it is glowing red. Still just scorching wood though.

There is nothing new under the sun, so demanding it be otherwise is futile.

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J P
Coat

Re: Bah! Old news

*under* the sun? I think perhaps I could suggest one new concept you might like to consider...

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Silver badge

Re: Bah! Old news

Is that you, Jake?

Oh wait, no. Jake would have been doing it with the hotglue gun HE BUILT HIMSELF, yaddayadda.

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Silver badge

Kids might well love this.

But how am I supposed to attach a 3d sketch to the fridge?

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Childcatcher

Re: Kids might well love this.

But how am I supposed to attach a 3d sketch to the fridge?

You might consider giving them some cheap magnets to incorporate into the rat's nest work of art they provide you.

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Use suggestions

I'm a jeweler, and if it can be modified to use jeweler's wax, it would seem to be quite fun for making casting models - or I could plate the doodles with metal for durability and looks. I can also see architects having a go to either work out some design considerations or to give a client a rough sketch that even the most 3D challenged could make out. And that's just off the top of my head. How about chemists modelling proteins? Or crafters making something like ornaments? think of it sort of like the drape-and-pin method some clothing designers (still?) use to work out new designs.

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Anonymous Coward

Hot Glue Gun

With a tinier nozzle.

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Anonymous Coward

excellent

This is just the thing I have been waiting for to allow the application of 250 degree molten plastic onto my penis.

I'm sure I can't be the only one.

Needless to say, I have parted with my money, and became a kickstarter backer.

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This is so cool! I want one too. But still, 3D printer is my favourite machine for now. I’ve created amazing stuff out of this. Some are 3D printer parts, tools and household items. Next week if my schedule permits, I’ll start working with my prototype shoes using rubber-like filaments from 3D2print. Anyone here has a 3D printer at home?

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3D printing

This is so cool! I want one too. But still, 3D printer is my favourite machine for now. I’ve created amazing stuff out of this. Some are 3D printer parts, tools and household items. Next week if my schedule permits, I’ll start working with my prototype shoes using rubber-like filaments from 3D2print. Anyone here has a 3D printer at home?

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