Build 3D-printable objects in mobile AR with Yeehaw Wand [Sticky or Not]

3D printing has the potential to democratize the creation of so many things — but it’s still pretty inaccessible to most people.

Not only are most 3D printers out of the price range of the average person, the creation process remains a mystery to most as well. Sure, it’s possible to go on Thingiverse and find a template to print, but that doesn’t exactly live up to the exciting prospect of creating anything you want out of thin air — you’re just reproducing a thing made by someone who is clever at designing and has the right software.

A concept like the Yeehaw Wand, though, could change the 3D printing game.

Following the debut of the Yeehaw 3D printer last year, the Yeehaw Wand’s purpose is simple: to allow for the simple construction of 3D objects using mobile augmented reality.

The tutorials on the Yeehaw Wand’s Kickstarter page show users designing objects by holding the Wand in front of their smartphone or tablet and creating 3D shapes. Alongside the Wand comes a 360-degree plate, which can be physically rotated to move the digital object while working.

Much of the designing also takes place through the app itself: there are options on the screen for deleting, mirroring, editing and stamping objects, among other things. Additionally, you can select whether you want to draw a line, plate or cylinder and choose colour and size.

Once you’ve completed your 3D object you can save it and use it for whatever you like — from game making to, of course, 3D printing. The Yeehaw team is even offering one of its Wand packages with an accompanying 3D printer for about $700 CAD with shipping. For just the Wand and Plate, it’s about $165 CAD.

The company estimates delivery for both in February 2018.

Verdict: Sticky product, not sticky price

When I first saw the Yeehaw Wand I was completely unconvinced of its stickiness, though that may have been chiefly because of the creepy half-smile the guy delivers in this GIF.

But when I started to think about it, I realized that 3D object creation is holding a lot of people back from fully engaging with 3D printing. If the Yeehaw Wand is as easy to use as it seems, it could allow a lot more people to become designers and makers.

But does the price make sense? It’s an expensive purchase for something that’s generally done as a hobby, but then again — hobbyists pay high prices for things they love. Shared among a group of friends it makes even more sense.

Just ask the creepy smiling guy and his friend — they’re clearly having the time of their lives.