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Future Tech: 

Pen draws plastic objects in thin air

Lix body

The LIX brings drawings to life.

This is nothing short of magic. Called LIX, it’s the smallest 3D printing pen in the world and allows you to draw doodles in thin air.

No larger than a regular pen, it’s the creation of a London-based company, and is a professional tool aimed at designers, architects and stylists to craft 3D structures without the need for paper.

How does it work?

LIX melts and cools coloured plastic (ABS/PLA filament), letting you create rigid, freestanding structures. Plug the power cable into the end and plastic filament works its way from the upper part of the pen, through a special mechanism, to reach the hot-end nozzle. Plastic is loaded in 10-inch strips, with one strip giving you around five minutes of sketching time.

lix model body

Sketch stunning sculptures like this in the air

Earlier this year we caught wind of the 3Doodler, another 3D printing pen, but the LIX is a more professional option. Whereas the 3Doodler – which raised $2.3 million in pledges – is large and heavy, the LIX pen has the looks of a technical drawing tool, with a slender, aluminium body. It also has the benefit of multiple speeds and comes in a range of colors.

How can I get one?

At time of writing, with nearly a whole month of fundraising still to go, LIX has already smashed its funding target to smithereens. Last time we checked, it had over 3,000 backers pledging £300,000 ($507,000). It originally asked for just £30,000 ($50,700). You’ll need to pledge around $140 to get one, and delivery is pencilled in for December 2014. It’s estimated that a pack of 30 strips will cost around $10.

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All I'd ever be able to draw with this is cubes. Lots of cubes.
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