CreoPop pen in action (Photo: CreoPop)
Local company CreoPop has developed a 3D printing pen that allows one to draw physical structures in thin air using cool ink.
Currently, other 3D pens use heated-up Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Polylactic Acid (PLA) plastic to draw. Heated plastic requires intense temperatures of around 250 degrees Celsius. In addition to the safety concerns that come with heated parts, hot plastic emits a strong odour. These factors make existing 3D pens unsuitable for use in areas with children or pets.
However, the CreoPop 3D pen requires no heating to draw. This is due to their use of a light-sensitive ink called photopolymers which have been used for a wide variety of 3D printing industrial applications, from inkjet printing to 3D jetted printing.
When the pen is operated, the photo-sensitive ink is at room temperature and instantaneously solidifies under UV light emitted from the nozzle; thus dubbed ‘cool ink’. This makes it completely safe for use by children and the ink can be used on any surface, offering more flexibility for 3D printing.
The 3D pens have a range of compatible inks: coloured ink, magnetic ink, glow-in-the-dark ink, temperature sensitive ink, scented ink, glittering ink, and have plans to develop more ink types. The pen itself is battery-operated and can be USB-charged.
A 3D model of Marina Bay Sands made using the CreoPop 3D pen (Photo: CreoPop)
CreoPop was handpicked by Infocomm Investments, the venture capital wing of the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore, alongside only one other local start-up, to attend the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival in March 2015. At the festival, CreoPop’s 3D pen was showcased to global start-ups and industry leaders.
The company raised funds through crowdfunding website Indiegogo, followed by another funding round led by Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups in January 2015 and most recently, a seed funding round led by Wavemaker Partners and NRF. The 3D pen is slated to start shipping in August 2015.
A venture-backed company based in Singapore, CreoPop is incubated by Wavemaker Partners under NRF’s Technology Incubation Scheme.