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CreoPop Puts Stereolithography in a Pen

Some of the stuff I cover at Rapid Ready is pretty crazy (and some of the stuff I chose not to cover is even weirder). Not even a decade ago I wouldn’t have believed a single piece of manufacturing technology could produce as many different results as is possible with additive manufacturing (AM). Now creative individuals have begun to take that same technology and stick it in a pen.

The first 3D printing pen (to my knowledge) was the 3Doodler, which uses a material extrusion process much like that in 3D SystemsCube. Other inventors came up with iterations of the 3Doodler, but then the process was changed to something approaching stereolithography (SLA) with a biopen for orthopedic surgery.

CreoPop uses SLA technology to draw 3D designs. Courtesy of CreoPop.

CreoPop uses SLA technology to draw 3D designs. Courtesy of CreoPop.

Now, the next stage in the evolution of AM-capable pens has arrived in the form of the CreoPop. Although it sounds odd, CreoPop is an actual SLA system built into a handheld device about the size of an extra-fat magic marker. Just as is the case with traditional SLA systems, CreoPop draws in photopolymer ink that is then hardened by UV lights built into the pen around the tip.

Using SLA instead of material extrusion as a process offers a number of different potential advantages to the new 3D pen. Instead of jetting out hot plastic, the ink produced by the CreoPop is cool to the touch, making it seriously unlikely you’ll accidentally hurt yourself during use. Cool ink rather than hot plastic also means the new pen can be used to accentuate objects made from other materials that might not react well to hot plastic being squirted on them.

This flower was drawn in 3D using standard inks. Courtesy of CreoPop

This flower was drawn in 3D using standard inks. Courtesy of CreoPop

CreoPop also takes advantage of the different material properties options offered by SLA. While the material extrusion pens may be able to print in different colors, CreoPop can duplicate that feat and offer additional benefits such as temperature sensitive, conductive, elastic, magnetic, and glow-in-the-dark inks.

CreoPop is gearing up for an Indiegogo campaign to fund production of the pen, and is offering a special introductory deal of $89 (including five ink cartridges) to early bird backers. I’d expect the price to go up to around $150 after the campaign. Ink refills will cost around $3 each, and are expected to be capable of drawing a 14 meter line with a 3mm diameter.

Below you’ll find CreoPop’s introductory video.

Source: CreoPop

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About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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