Over the years, Windell Oskay and Lenore Edman, aka Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, have consistently created some of the most unique, clever, and just plain cool projects and products, from their LED coffee table (which started it all) to Bristlebots to the EggBot and the WaterColorBot.

The Mad Scientists continue their domination of the niche drawbot market with the introduction last week of the AxiDraw V3, a personal drawing machine that comes pre-assembled and ready to take on any drawing or writing tasks you send to it. I had a chance to check out the device at World Maker Faire and was very impressed. It’s always a good sign (for the seller) when you see a device like this and you immediately start thinking of what you might use it for and how you might justify the cost. That cost, BTW, is US$475.

The AxiDraw is a simple, modern, precise, and versatile pen plotter, capable of writing or drawing on almost any flat surface. It can write with your favorite fountain pens, permanent markers, and other writing implements to handle an endless variety of applications. Its unique design features a writing head that extends beyond the machine, making it possible to draw on objects bigger than the machine itself.

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So, what can you do with it?

The AxiDraw is an extremely versatile machine, designed to serve a wide variety of everyday and specialized drawing and writing needs. You can use it for almost any task that might normally be carried out with a handheld pen.

It allows you to use your computer to produce writing that appears to be handmade, complete with the unmistakable appearance of using a real pen (as opposed to an inkjet or laser printer) to address an envelope or sign one’s name. And it does so with precision approaching that of a skilled artist, and — just as importantly — using an arm that never gets tired.

You can check out the product page here. They expect to start shipping the machines around December 13, so it looks like you can get it in time for Christmas.