3Doodler Review

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During my internship with Dutch Designer Michiel Cornelissen, I had the opportunity to experiment with and review the 3Doodler – 3D printing pen.

I first heard about this product during the Kickstarter project for the new and smaller Lix – 3D printing pen. Initially, the idea of a 3D printing pen sounded like a fantastic product idea and I felt it would fit well into the 3D printing market which, is booming at the moment. With proper product design execution and technical consideration to the extrusion process, it could potentially allow users to produce three-dimensional sketches, supplementing the design process.
However, I have to admit, I also had initial reservations, believing that 3D printing or applying the FDM process to a pen, may lose the key element of what makes 3D printing so successful: its ability to print three-dimensional objects with a high level of precision. By removing the computer, printer, CAD files and modelling software, and introducing human error, the process becomes inconsistent and inaccurate.

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Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed when I began to use the 3Doodler. The product itself  was simple enough to use, with a fast and slow extrusion, a setting for PLA and ABS, a reverse option and heating light. However,  the pen was large and cumbersome and I found it very hard to construct anything three-dimensional.
My biggest issue was with the extrusion cut off point: to stop extrusion, one would simply let go of the button, but, the plastic would still slightly extrude and drag, meaning I had to guess the length of time for each extrusion and clean up the plastic afterwards, not ideal. The only positive I found with this product was that you could draw onto paper without it sticking and when enough pressure was applied (and the extrusion did not curl up on itself), you could draw reasonable flat designs or text.

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So overall, I am pleased that I did not personally invest my money into this product. I still believe this could be an exciting product for the 3D printing market, even if it is limited, but this particular product was disappointing. I hope that the slimmer, LIX pen, will have resolved some the issues mentioned in this post.

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Jweel: Open Jewellery

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Jweel, a product of Skimlab, is an application that provides two user-friendly modelling programmes that allows everyone to have a go at designing their own piece of jewellery. As part of their services, Jweel claims to give every user, regardless of technical skill or jewellery know-how, the chance to create their own jewellery and express themselves creatively.

From this, I believe that this software has been cleverly designed and marketed:  I agree with the statement made on their website that “everyone has an inherent need to express themselves” and by removing the cost of buying a modelling programme and the complications that can arise from designing a piece of digital jewellery from scratch, Jweel can reach and appeal to wider audiences.

(All images are sourced from www.jweel.com/en/)

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The two modelling programmes consist of a Text ring and Freestyle ring app. The text ring application is the simpler of the two, promising exactly what it is titled as: a ring made up from text of your choosing. Available options for editing include the size of the ring, the font, italics and/or bold, and a comprehensive range of symbols.
In contrast, the Freestyle ring application offers much more freedom, but of course this requires more time to master. Although, the interface of this application appears quite basic and minimal at a glance, once I had grasped how the features worked, I was pleasantly surprised at how intuitive this application operates.

With both applications, once the design is complete, you can choose from silver, gold, brass, steel or titanium and a finish of sandblasted, gloss or at a premium, high gloss and, from the gallery provided on the website, each design is finished to a very high standard.

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I think this is a great application for introducing CAD and CAM to a wider consumer market and for the services provided, at a reasonable price. In my personal opinion, I found some features on the applications limited: restricting some of my own design ideas. However, this comes from an individual who already has some experience with CAD and could create the exact design she wanted in another programme: it most certainly does not speak for other individuals and their experiences.

Overall, I enjoyed using this software and I intend to enter one of their monthly competitions. I really appreciated the direct link between constructing your design digitally and having it manufactured: with efficient rendering and price updates. Additionally, I am excited about the potential of more online modelling programmes/apps. Not only will this eliminate the need to buy or download software: making CAD more accessible, but it may also mean an increase in specialist programmes with refined features e.g. stone setting for jewellery.

Pupworkshop.com!

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A couple of of days ago, I stumbled across an online app http://pupworkshop.com/. This is an endearing piece of software that allows you to design your own 3D printed puppy!

Created by Tom Rethaller and powered by Blender, Shapeways and Sculpteo, the application requires no download and is very user-friendly, providing a range of doggy features and a full spectrum of colours to choose from. Once your design is finished, you are offered two options for printing: from Shapeways or Sculpteo, along with very considerate comments about which company service will be cheaper or faster in processing the order.

Your ‘Puppy’ is printed by a Zcorp 3D printer in multicoloured sandstone, which is composed of binder material and coloured ink, layered together and sealed. There are three options for sizes: 4, 5 and 6 cm.

Although I did not get my own design printed (see above) I really enjoyed the experience of creating my own puppy. The application was easy to use and I really appreciated how I was navigated effortlessly to the printing sites provided to complete my order.

For a small cost of around 8 euros (excluding postage) I would definitely recommend this site for a bit of 3D printing fun!

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