Whether you are looking for something to help your kids learn, or a device to create and design things in your house, 3D pens provide a solution for both. With the help of a 3D printing pen, you and your kids can take home crafting and drawing projects to 3D. By simply using the pen, they could create three-dimensional models, in different sizes and shapes; like a cube, cuboid, circle, or a cylinder. It takes the traditional drawing on a paper, to a higher level.

3d pen
3D pen in action

How Do 3D Pens Work?

3D pens work on a similar principle as a glue gun. Heat is used in a heating chamber to melt the filament, which then takes the shape of the desired item. The molten filament is pushed through the extruder nozzle and cools down quickly to solidify. As the doodler moves around the pen, different figurines and shapes are created. The hardened plastic takes a permanent form, once the extruded filament cools down.

Filaments used in 3D pens should have the ability to melt and promptly solidify once extruded quickly. The number of plastics that fit these standards is limited, such as ABS, PLA, PVA, Nylon, PC, and HDPE. The most commonly used plastics are PLA and ABS.

3D Pens for Hobbyists and Artists

3D pens are not just for the kids. Hobbyists and artists can also benefit from the creative freedom offered by 3D pens. Using these gadgets, they can also cherish the experience as their ideas take a physical shape right in front of their eyes. These devices present them with an extraordinary opportunity to transition from creating art on flat surfaces, to giving their ideas a tangible shape. 3D pens are a great entry point for creative individuals, who can then work towards taking their artistic prowesses and transitioning into the world of 3D printed art.

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Things You Need to Get Started

Here are the things that you need to get started with 3D pens.

i. 3D Pen

As far as 3D pens are concerned, there are plenty of options available to choose from, depending on the intended usage and budget. We highly recommend the Hamiltonbuhl Multi-Filament 3D Printing Pen.

ii. Filament

The resultant print is created using a filament. It is recommended that you go with PLA instead of ABS. ABS plastic exudes a strong smell when using the 3D pen. Additionally, the fumes produced as a result, also pose health risks. PLA filaments are biodegradable and made from non-synthetic raw material such as sugarcane or corn starch.

iii. Templates

Templates help guide the newbies quickly learn by tracing and penning over them. Additionally, if your print is sticking to the template paper, try to use wax paper taped over the stencil.

3D Pens
Kid using a 3D Pen

How to Control a 3D Pen

A typical 3D pen has three buttons to control and handle the device:

  1. One button is for pushing the filament in the forward direction.
  2. There is a button to unload and move the filament in the backward direction.
  3. There is also a button to control the speed, which regulates the amount of plastic extruded from the pen.

Once you are ready, you can start drawing by holding the pen like a regular one. The nozzle should be in contact with the surface for drawing. Although there are usually protective thimbles, it is crucial that the fingers are always kept away from the hot nozzle. Otherwise, you run the risk of burning your fingers.

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What Can You Make with a 3D Pen?

3D pens can be used to make items like travel tags, cool game pieces, artistic makeup, cycling accessories, models, figures, functional furniture, teaching aids, helpful repairs at home, smartphone stands, and much more.

3D Pen Filaments

Filaments for 3D pens are low-priced, and it is recommended that the users should first try both ABS and PLA filaments. They can experiment and explore how each option works and which one is more suitable for their requirements. As PLA is an environment-friendly and non-synthetic product, it is becoming more popular among the doodlers.

How to Use 3D Pens

If you are starting out printing with a 3D pen, here are a few of the tips to get a better result.

i. Controlling Speed

To control the speed of the flow of the plastic, you can use two techniques. Either use the control button on the device or manually control the thickness by the extruded filament by moving it slowly or quickly with your hand. The faster movement will result in thinner lines, while slow motion will create thicker lines.

ii. Cooling

Once the molten filament leaves the nozzle, it should be given enough time to cool down and solidify between the layers. The print could become disfigured if the nozzle is moved around quickly while the plastic still in the flexible and heated state.

iii. Anticipate Oozing Filament

Once you stop pressing the forward button, the filament does not immediately stop oozing out. It takes a few seconds to halt the extruding process, which is something you should take into account when using a 3D pen.

iv. Unloading

This step is equally important, as it helps with the maintenance of your gadget. If you do not unload the filament once you’re done using the 3D pen for the day, it will clog the device. Unclogging a 3D pen is a time consuming and tricky task. Unloading the filament can simply be done by pushing the ‘backward’ option and then lightly pulling it out from the top.

A 3D pen can be used to design a variety of resources for education and learning. Your kids could create models of different items from their textbooks, or draw their favorite characters, and much more. As for hobbyists, they can use the 3D pen for decorative and artistic pieces, such as jewelry, make-up props, etc. Operating a 3D pen is as simplistic and straightforward as using a regular pencil or pen. Simply insert the filament, turn it on, and start drawing.