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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why the 3D Doodler doesn't thrill me

The moment I saw the 3D Doodler I was underwhelmed. Doubly so when I saw the price tag. Let me express why the 3D Doodler disappoints in mathematical terms:
Hot glue gun + Computer Control = 3D printer.
3D printer - Computer Control = X.
Solve for X.
Okay, a 3D printer's hot end is slightly more complicated than just a hot glue gun. It works with thinner and different plastic that is designed to form right out of the hot end so it's got all these tight thermal properties, but in the end what they've done here is taken the hot end off a 3D printer, claimed they've done a bunch of "research to get it right", and are charging $75. Guess what, someone else figured that out 3 years ago, not to mention that people have been doing amazing things with hot glue guns for years.

I'm not saying the 3D Doodler isn't cool. I'm saying it's not $75 worth of cool. I may pick one up when they're on the end cap at Bed Bath and Beyond for $20 in 6 months but for now I feel bad for the 2000 suckers who paid for one right now.

[Image source http://www.dailyartmuse.com/2008/01/10/turams-glue-gun-chandelier/]

3 comments:

  1. I hadn't seen this 3D Doodler before, but I have to say I'm glad it's out there and someone is getting behind it and developing the idea.

    Sure it's not got a thing on 3D printing per se, but it's a different tool that can be used for different purposes, which works on kind of the same technology.

    Given some time to develop and put in the right hands, I can easily see great stuff coming out of this product.

    People won't be making precision gears or precision mechanical equipment with it, but being hand controlled effectively allows the user to 'draw' in 3D, which will also make each piece unique.

    Sure, you may get the first gen for $20 sometime in the near future, but possibly you'll be paying a bit more for future, better developed generations of the tool.

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    Replies
    1. Matt, you didn't do the math at the beginning. The point is that this is something we've already got that people have been doing awesome things with for years, but they slap the words "3D Printing" on it and charge 2000 suckers way more than it's worth. Google "Hot glue gun art".

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  2. OK, I see your point that it's nothing all that new, I wasn't aware of the history of this method.
    But surely it can't be all that bad a thing them packaging and making available this method to a wider audience, rather than just the handy-type hobbyists?

    I do agree though, I also dislike the marketing strategy of 'buss-word pricing'.

    Though $75 doesn't seem all that expensive for an out of the box ready to go product.

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