Make drawings 3D printable with Doodle3D

doodle3d 3D printing

As we’ve previously discussed, 3D printers have become easier to use than the modeling software that’s required to create objects for the printers to print. Some have noticed this gap and have released more intuitive modeling software, such as Tinkercad (which is going away) and Autodesk’s 123D. Rick Companje had the same motivation when he created Doodle3D.


Doodle3D is a tool that converts simple drawings into 3D printable files, much like the Crayon Creatures service, except that they’re printed on your personal 3D printer instead of shipped to you. The tool is a combination of software and hardware. Drawings are done in the app on a computer or tablet, and then the files are sent wirelessly to a wifi dongle that’s attached to the USB port of a printer. In the app, 2D drawings can be extruded to 3D drawings and then twisted and modified. There are many limits with this style of modeling, but it’s still pretty powerful.

This method of modeling is ideal for making drawings more dynamic, making stencils, Christmas ornaments, cookie cutters, containers and vases, and even things like bottle openers and tweezers. If you’ve got an ink pad you could even print your own fonts and signatures. With funding, I’m sure the drawing app will become more robust too. Though, Doodle3D was already featured at the 3DEA popup in New York.

The challenges for the Doodle3D team are getting the wifi box to be compatible with as many printers as possible, because right now it only works with open source printers that have a serial USB port. I feel like full compatibility could be achieved by offering a form of the software that just outputs .stl files. Regardless, it’s pretty neat, and it will help younger minds get into 3D printing before they learn how to work more complex modeling software. You can reserve a wifi box for $99 and help them get their funding, which should happen fairly quickly. When I started writing this, funding was around $11,000, and now it’s about $15,000 (of a $50,000 goal). I think we’ll see this on the market soon.

  • ppeck

    Okay, lets see.

    The box is a tp-link 3G router, 15$ on ebay. You can flash an alternative firmware (openwrt, minikrebs etc) via the default webinterface that provides you with the wifi->arduino funtionality.

    That leaves us with a software for 85$ that runs on the box, but you have to use your PC/MAC to slice the STL.

    So what do i need the box for to use this software?

    • Cameron Naramore

      I agree; the box seems superfluous, and almost just serving as a reason to even charge for the software in the first place.

      • Daid

        And behold, the reaction form hackers everywhere. If you would read the kickstarter then you would notice he doesn’t make a secret of what he is using. His added value is ease of use. You could do the same with a shoebox, some string and ductape. But the Doodle3D box is providing a “plug and play” experience.

        Also, his software doesn’t generate an STL. Doodle3D runs with just that box, a 3D printer and a tablet/smartphone. The setup is super simple. I’ve had the pleasure to alpha test his software, and I’ve had kids running my 3D printer without me needing do to anything. No technical skills required.

        (And finally, the cheap $20 WR703N is not certified for US or European market. Doodle3D has actually sorted out the supply chain of a proper box already)

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