Business Technology

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Tech Insider: 3doodler - print 3D items in minutes

Print 3D items in minutes with the 3Doodler – a pen-sized printer

Published 23/05/2014 | 02:30

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3doodler

At the moment, 3D is somewhat of a buzz term in the tech industry. There has been talk of printing limbs, food and even guns but these machines are big, clunky and hugely expensive. The complexity of these devices along with the cost means we are some time away from printing limbs in our homes.

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There is a small device, however, that makes aspects of the 3D printing experience affordable for the average person. The 3Doodler is a pen-sized printer which can produce 3D items in a matter of minutes!

When plugged in, the device's small LED light indicates when it is ready to print. Once lit, the 3Doodler can heat up to 464 degrees. This process takes less than a minute.

There are two types of plastic to print with – ABS or PLA. The plastic sticks are fed into the top of the Doodler and are melted down instantly – before coming out the nozzle. It may not come as a surprise to learn that it's not overly easy to print with the 3Doodler.

The device shakes and can be quite slow to produce anything worth writing home about! It takes a good bit of practice and quite a few plastic sticks to get it right, but it's fun to try.

The heated plastic can be manipulated with movement and cools instantly – so you need to be quick.

There are some design stencils available on www.3Doodler.com, which makes it that bit easier to work with! The device is €99 and is available from www.3Doodler.ie.

BACK UP

Back up your important information by sending it to the cloud

"Did you not have your stuff backed up?" is quite possibly the worst thing to say to a person whose phone has just been lost or stolen, but equally it's so easy now, there is no excuse!

"Backing up" protects your data in the event of loss, theft or damage. It's never too late to back up.

There is a free and simple way to back up; the cloud. Both Gmail and Microsoft give users a large amount of cloud space for free – all that is required is an email address.

Android users are required to have a Gmail account to purchase applications. Using this same address it is possible to sync contacts and calendars. This will sync all your numbers onto a new device if disaster strikes.

All those with a Gmail account have a Google+ account. It is simple and free to use this profile to back up photographs. These photos are not published for the public to see – simply stored in the cloud.

If the thoughts of a Google+ account is off putting, a must-have app is Dropbox. The free application gives users 2GB of free cloud space and the option to automatically send all photos taken to a private cloud space. iOS users have access to the iCloud and iTunes for back up purposes.

Here is a brief step-by-step guide to backing up on both Android and iOS:

If you have a Gmail account and are using an Android phone:

* Go to Settings – Backup and Reset.

* Check that the Backup My Data tab is ticked.

* Insert your Gmail address as the back-up account.

On iPhone, using a Gmail account:

* Settings – Mail, Contacts, Calendars – Add Account.

* Enter Gmail details.

* Tick the Contacts box.

* Save

Your Contact Information will appear in the contacts section of your Gmail account.

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent
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