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3D printing is no longer an idea of the future. And thanks to inventors Maxwell Bogue and Peter Dilworth of WobbleWorks LLC and 3Doodler co-founder David Cowen, 3D printing is a tangible item of the present and in the hands of an Oak Park 14-year-old.
Casey Groulx, a freshman at Oak Park and River Forest High School, likes art even though she "isn't very good at drawing," she said.
She does, however, have a knack for making things.
That's where the 3Doodler, the world's first 3D printing pen, comes into play. Groulx first spotted the pen in an issue of TIME for Kids.
"They always have a list of inventions and there was a picture of the 3Doodler," said Groulx. She pre-ordered the $99 pen in February and received it about a month later.
To fund the 3Doodler project, the Boston-based company, with its global headquarters in Hong Kong, began a Kickstarter campaign in February 2013. In a month the team had exceeding its fundraising goal of $30,000 by more than $2.3 million.
To date, the company has manufactured over 50,000 pens.
After plugging in her new age doodling device, selecting her colors — blue and purple — and turning on the pen, Groulx proceeds to make a die.
The pen buzzes as blue plastic flows out onto the flat surface in front of her. The skeleton of the cube forms as she gently lifts the pen away from each of the square's corners.
Groulx explains that the pen uses two different types of plastic, ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and PLA, or Polyactic Acid.
So far, a few ladybugs, a pair of glasses, a miniature Eiffel Tower and a DNA double helix have joined Groulx's repertoire of 3D models.
She now has her eyes set on making larger-scale, functional items such as bowls and jewelry.
Consumers cannot purchase the 3Doodler in retail stores in the United States yet but will be able to purchase the pen at UK retailer Maplin later in April.
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