It was only a scant few months ago when 3Doodler was billing itself as "the world's first and only 3D Printing Pen." After starting their modest Kickstarter offering with the hope of raising $30,000 in funding, interest in the project exploded and it ultimately raised $2,344,134 in just 34 days.
That's some campaign.
Now 3Doodler has some competition in the form of the swissPen.
Using funds raised without the aid of a Kickstarter campaign, swissPen has reached the retail market ahead of 3Doodler. You can buy one for $102.84 plus shipping.
The swissPen is, according to the manufacturer, Swiss 3D Pen of Le Mont-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland, a "remarkably slim...combination of mechanics and electronics, all inside a superb pen barrel designed with the precision of a fine timepiece. The swissPen is a mere 1.4" thick and weighs just 7 oz."
While contributors to the 3Doodler campaign have been promised their pens, two bags of mixed color plastic and a "Hall of Fame mention" for $75, they'll be waiting until February 2014 for delivery of the final version of the product.
But you can have your swissPen in the time it takes them to box it up and ship it to your home.
The makers of swissPen say it takes about one minute to warm up, can only use 1.75 mm plastic filament and heats the plastic to create the working stream. They add that the plastic is "hot but touchable" when it comes out of the tip and the fumes emitted are similar to those produced by a glue gun or 3D printer.
The swissPen can't unspool filament from a roll as with a 3D printer, and they recommend using packs of 10" filament sections or cutting stock from a spool before use. According to the company, it takes anywhere from 4 to 20 inches of plastic to make the designs featured on the swissPen website.
While the 3Doodler has yet to hit the market, the company says that, at least as of the end of June, the 3Doodler prototypes are currently complete through version six. According to them, that's "close to final factory version, before we lock down all aspects of the pen and start production."
3Doodler says some small design changes and refinements have made their way into the final pen, but they are "keeping a lid on those right now." They add that the plan is to ship the finished 3Doodlers from the factories directly to Boston where they'll do a final round of quality control before boxing and shipping the units to customers.