I just received the Doodle3D Wifi Box. What is it? Basically, it’s a little box that plugs into your 3D printer (with support for lots of them) and provides a simple app for sketching a simple design and then sending it to the printer. Since it’s wireless, it creates a hotspot that any smartphone, computer or tablet can connect to and create a doodle then send it to the printer. You can also monitor the print’s progress and the printer’s temperature from the remote device.
This product started as a Kickstarter last year that was successfully funded. Here’s a clip from the video from the campaign that demonstrates how simple it works:
At first I dismissed it as a kid’s toy…but then I realized that when I demo 3D printers, kids almost always ask if they can print something. Usually there isn’t time to do that but with the Doodle3D, it’s pretty easy to let them play with a tablet and create something that can be printed very quickly. The recent addition of word art makes it easy to type some text and embellish it with further doodling.
A planned update will also allow you to use your tablet or phone’s camera to take a photo of something and then be able to trace it using the Doodle3D interface. Here’s a video of that being demonstrated:
I’m planning on showcasing the Doodle3D at this year’s Vancouver Maker Faire in June.
What’s in the box?
The box contains the main Doodle3D wifi box which is essentially a rebranded TPLink travel router like this one with some custom software, a mini-USB cable & charging block (with European prongs and an adapter for North American prongs), a 3 port USB splitter and an ethernet cable.
At $110US, it’s a little expensive for what you’re actually getting hardware wise (~$50) but like many things, it’s the software that really makes it compelling.
It can act as a hotspot, allowing anyone to connect and control it or it can be put into client mode and connect to your local wifi network and be accessed by anyone on that network. You can even send sliced gcode to it via Cura to truly enable wifi printing to just about any 3d printer.
The Doodle3D can be ordered from their site directly or if you’re in North America, Grand St now carries it and that’s where I bought mine as it was much faster to ship than from the Netherlands. I was also impressed that it was delivered in just two days from when I ordered it.
I still need to fine tune the settings for my MakerBot but overall, I’m pretty happy with the Doodle3D. It’s a cool addon for a 3D printer that makes it much more accessible for kids of all ages.