from the repurposed-plastic dept
Three years ago, the 3Doodler pen became a huge hit on Kickstarter, and for a brief period it seemed like these handheld 3D printing tools might be the next big gadget. But after that initial rush, they never fully took off, and not everyone was satisfied with the performance of the pen itself. Nevertheless, the idea is a compelling one, so for this week’s Awesome Stuff we’re taking a look at an interesting new offering with an important twist: the Renegade pen.
So what’s the key innovation that makes the Renegade interesting? Simple: instead of feeding off of normal 3D printer filament, it prints by recycling the material from any old plastic bottle.
Normal 3D printing is a slow, precise process — most pieces are thoroughly designed and tested in digital form, and iterated as little as possible in printed physical form. But 3D drawing with a freehand pen is a much looser exercise: it’s only fun if you can experiment and mess around, and that burns through a whole lot of filament. The Renegade comes with a special cutting tool that lets you quickly and easily cut any bottle into long strips of plastic that feed into the pen, replacing expensive filament and diverting some garbage to a more useful purpose. It can also work with plastic shopping bags and other odds and ends like plastic file folders.
The creators have a working prototype, but of course it remains to be seen just how satisfying and fun it will be to use once it’s actually in your hands — 3D pens probably still have a little ways to go before they are truly viable as a general-use tool or toy. But if you’re interested in the technology and want a chance to try it out, the Renegade might just be the smartest and most cost effective way to do so.