The Smallest 3D Pen in the World Lets You Air Doodle With Ease

Getting people psyched on 3D printing hasn't been that easy for manufacturers. The costly printers are rarely within the budgets of the general public, and even though the technology is cool, there's no real pressing reason aside from the wow factor that they should become a household item. But a British company has figured out a different approach to bringing plastic machining to the public, with a 3D printing pen they've dubbed the Lix.

Essentially, the Lix is a pen that doesn't require paper. Like a soldering iron or hot glue gun, there's a tiny heater inside that melts plastic filament, which forms into a contiguous, freestanding structure as it cools.

A USB 3.0 jack on the end of the unibody aluminum tube powers the Lix, and the plastic filament enters next to it, keeping the operation smooth without anything getting tangled. On the side, you can adjust the speed of the extrusion, giving yourself some control. While you might not be able to make large and solid plastic objects, it's certainly an awesome gadget and a step towards bringing 3D printing to the masses.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Gear editor of Supercompressor. He wonders when the metal version of this will come out. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.