How to make 3d printing pen at home
The best 3D pens in 2022: model and design in 3D(Image credit: 3Doodler)
The best 3D pens are a great way to express your creativity as they use heated plastic filament to 'draw' in three dimensions. Even the cheapest 3D pens enable you to create elegant 3D art and models, or even toys. These 3D pens can also be used to decorate existing projects.
3D pens work in similar way to a glue gun. You press a button and they push out a type of liquid plastic, such as ABS or PLA, which quickly cools in the air and turns solid. One way of making art with them is to 'draw' a model from scratch. Another is to add decoration to an existing model, or another object. Alternatively, you could draw a series of flat shapes, then join them together to create 3D ones.
But which model should you buy? In this article, we've found you the best 3D pen for children, the best 3D pen for adults, the best 3D pen for beginners, and other great options. We start our list with the best 3D pens in the USA; otherwise, you can skip ahead to the best 3D pens in the UK.
Once you've chosen your 3D pen, get inspired by our guide to 3D art. And to go further with 3D, check out our guides to the 3D printers and the best 3D modelling software too.
The best 3D pens: available now
1. MYNT3D Pro 3D Printing Pen
Best overall 3D pen
Filaments: ABS, PLA & more
Control: Temp, speed
+ Smooth speed changes
+ Uses many filaments
- Overkill for kids
Lightweight and ergonomic, the MYNT3D Pro is easy to hold and use. You can adjust the speed and flow of the plastic filament for finer control. You can also make fine tweaks to its temperature, in one-degree increments. And there's even a OLED display to monitor this, too. Plus it's super-flexible.
Unlike many other 3D pens, the MYNT3D Pro supports a range of filament types: not just ABS and PLA. The pen is USB powered, so you can do some 3D drawing while you're away from a wall socket. The only possible downside to this 3D pen is that it's quite expensive, and probably overkill for beginners and kids.
CB rating: 5/5 stars
2. 3Doodler Start+ Essentials
The best 3D pen for kids
Filaments: PLA, ABS, FLEXY
Controls: Basic options
+ Designed for children
+ Ideal for STEM learning
- Limited filaments
The 3Doodler Start+ is designed for children of six years old and above, ensuring this wireless 3D pen has been subjected to the strictest safety testing. It features no hot parts, and the nozzle and plastic can be touched without risk of burns. Controls are kept to the minimum, too, making it very easy to use for children.
As with all 3Doodler pens, you're restricted to the manufacturer's proprietary child-friendly filament. The basic pack comes with 48 strands, in eight different colours, each of which offers 60 inches' worth of filament. While it'll last you, buying new ones means only going to 3Doodler so you're in hoc to the brand's pricing.
CB rating: 4/5 stars
3. 3Doodler Create+
The best 3D pen for beginners
Filaments: PLA, ABS, FLEXY
Controls: Speed / temp
+ Simple to use
+ FLEXY compatible
- Limited filaments
Never used a 3D pen before? Then I recommend the 3Doodler Create+ as this neat gadget is easy to use but versitile enough to do most crafting. It has a beautifully ergonomic design that's easy to use, even for first-timers. More experienced hands will enjoy using this too, with dual speed and temperature controls giving you a nice degree of control.
This pen supports FLEXY plastics as well as PLA and ABS, although be aware they must be 3Doodler ones, which tend to be on the pricey side. You get 50 filaments included with this package, in a variety of colours, as well as a guidebook.
CB rating: 4/5 stars
4. MYNT3D Super 3D Pen
A good value 3D pen
Filaments: ABS, PLA
Controls: Speed / temp
+ Anti-clog nozzle
+ Speed slider
- Limited filaments
Watching the pennies? Then check out the MYNT3D Super 3D Pen, which represents excellent value. It's similar to the Pro model, with the same gearbox and replaceable nozzle design but cheaper because you don't get the OLED display, or the temperature adjustment feature. Instead, a temperature screw lets you switch between the correct heat for ABS and PLA, but you're limited to those two materials.
However, it's still a great 3D pen, which is easy to use in practice. Plus you get a stylus, three colours of ABS plastic and a 100-240V AC 50/60Hz adapter in the box. So overall, this 3D pen represents excellent value.
CB rating: 4/5 stars
5. MYNT3D Basic Pen
The best cheap 3D pen
Filaments: PLA, ABS
Controls: Basic options
+ Simple and easy
+ Clog-free in use
- Can't use ABS filament
If you're really short on funds, you’re looking for a 3D pen that’s not only cheap to buy, but cheap to run too. And the MYNT3D Basic Pen ticks both these boxes.
Compatible with the same low-cost ABS and PLA plastics that 3D printers use, it allows you to push out plastic at slow, medium or fast speeds. It also boasts a sealed nozzle and overbuilt gearbox for clog free use. Otherwise, this is a basic 3D pen, with no clever features. One thing to note, this 3D pen is powered via USB using a proprietary cable, so if you lose that, you’re in trouble. But the low price may make these compromises easy to accept if you're after a cheap 3D pen.
CB rating: 3/5 stars
6. MYNT3D Junior2 3D Pen for Kids
A great 3D pen for youngsters
Controls: Start / Stop
+ Made for kids
+ Cordless design
- Can't use ABS or PLA
Another child-friendly option, the MYNT3D Junior2 3D Pen is designed for ages six years old and above, with an easy-to-grasp design and low temperature nozzle to keep your kids safe. It’s shorter and thicker than most 3D pens, making it good for tiny hands. It works with PCL filament (which is biodegradable), and is not compatible with ABS or PLA.
This pen features the same sealed nozzle design as more advanced MYNT3D pens to stop clogs. It’s battery powered and can be charged via Micro USB. Overall, it feels a bit cheap, but does the job it’s intended for.
CB rating: 3/5 stars
The best 3D pens: frequent questions
Do 3D pens really work?
Yes, 3D pens really work, if what you want to do is create a 3D model by hand. If you want to create a 3D model based on a pre-existing design, though, you need a 3D printer.
A 3D pen uses the same type of heating element to melt filament that you get in a 3D printer. But while the latter is controlled by software, a 3D pen you control entirely yourself, much like using a glue gun, so you can get truly expressive. Once the filament leaves the filter, it cools rapidly, and hardens into whatever shape you have formed it into.
What is a 3D pen used for?
You can use a 3D pen to draw on any flat surface. But, as the name suggests, the real beauty of a 3D pen is that it allows you to draw in mid-air, using plastic filament, and create three-dimensional structures that then solidify. Alternatively, you can draw over an existing object to enhance it.
Who uses 3D pens?
Anyone can use a 3D pen, but they're commonly used by hobbyists, artists, makers, fashion designers and home furnishing designers in creative projects. They're also used by engineers and DIYers to solve practical problems, by teachers in education, and by kids for fun projects.
What 3D pen should I buy?
The best 3D pen available today is the MYNT3D 3D Pen Pro . It's light and ergonomically designed, making it easy to hold and use, whether you're a newbie or an experienced hand. An adjustable feed helps you stay in control, and you can increase the temperature in increments. It's USB powered and you can use a wide range of filaments.
What's the best 3D pen for children?
The best 3D pen for children is the 3Doodler Start+ Essentials (2021) , which is suitable for kids from six and up. The controls are simple, and everything's been subjected to the strictest safety testing. There are no hot parts on the pen and its Eco-Plastic filament is non-toxic, BPA-free, and completely biodegradable in household compost. It typically takes about 45 days for the plastic to break down.
What's the best 3D pen for beginners?
In our view, the best 3D pen for beginners is the 3Doodler Create+ , because it's so easy to use. Just plug in the pen, insert your plastic, wait for it to heat up, then you can doodle in three dimensions. The extruded heated plastic hardens almost instantly, so you can draw 3D structures, freehand or on stencils. This 3D pen comes with different colours of plastics, which are all safe and non-toxic, and an activity guide book to get you started.
Are 3D pens environmentally damaging?
If you want to avoid harming the environment with your 3D pen, then the plastic we recommend using is PLA, which is short for Poly Lactic Acid. A polyester derived from renewable biomass, typically from fermented plant starch such as corn, cassava, sugarcane or sugar beet pulp, this type of plastic is both biogradable and sustainable. To be specific, it typically takes around six to 12 months to break down, while for most plastics it takes hundreds of years.
The other type of plastic commonly used in 3D pens, ABS, is not so great for the environment. Short for Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ABS is petroleum-based and non-biodegradable. It's both bad for the environment and more toxic to humans than PLA.
What's the best cheap 3D pen in the US?
If you're tight on cash and in the US, you can get a very decent 3D pen for not much money, in the form of the MYNT3D Super 3D Pen . Despite being just $39.99 at time of writing, it's an excellent 3D pen, with a stepless speed slider that lets you regulate flow for optimal control of material while you're drawing. You also get a ultrasonic sealed nozzle which virtually nearly clog-proof.
What's the best cheap 3D pen in the UK?
If you're in the UK, your best bet for a cheap 3D pen right now is the Nikand 3D Pen . Suitable for both adults and kids, it costs just £39.95 at time of writing, and is a nice pen that's easy to hold and use. It also comes with an OLED screen, support for PCL and PLA plastic filaments, and the ability to control speed of filament extrusion.
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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity , published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.
3D Pen | Hackaday
January 13, 2021 by Bryan Cockfield
When 3D pens first became available, many assumed them to be gimmicky or part of a general fad that would eventually die out. Like most revolutionary technologies, though, they’ve found a firm foothold, especially in the art community where the ability to 3D print in freehand is incredibly valuable. There are still some shortcomings with the technology, though, but [tterev3] recently tore into a 3doodler pen to make some necessary upgrades.
First, this pen has some design choices that are curious, to say the least. The cooling fan runs regardless of temperature, and it has pushbuttons for start and stop rather than a momentary button that controls the extrusion. To fix these issues, as well as change the filament size, improve the cooling, and provide greater control over the extrusion speed, [tterev3] completely rewrote the firmware, changed the microcontroller on the PCB, and made several hardware upgrades to accommodate these changes. He also went ahead and installed a USB-C port for charging, which should be standard practice on all low-voltage consumer electronics by now anyway.
The detail work on this project is impressive, given the small size of the pen itself and the amount of precision hardware needed to make the changes. Especially regarding the replacement of the microcontroller on the board itself, which is an impressive feat even without the incredibly small dimensions. The firmware upgrade is available on his GitHub page as well if you have your own 3doodler that needs modifications, and if you’re still struggling to find uses for these handy devices, we’ve seen them used with interesting effect to build drones.Posted in 3d Printer hacksTagged 3D pen, 3d printing, handheld, microcontroller, pen
January 5, 2020 by Donald Papp
Small hobby aircraft and light plastic parts go hand in hand, and a 3D printing pen makes lightweight plastic things without the overhead of CAD work and running a 3D printer. So could a 3D pen create useful plastic bits for small quadcopters? [Michael Niggel] decided to find out by building his drone parts with a 3D pen loaded with ABS plastic. He mostly discovered that the created objects could politely be said to look like they were sketched by a toddler, but that’s not all he learned.
He found that in general creating an object was harder than the marketing materials implied. As soon as the filament exits the pen’s nozzle, the thin little molten line of plastic cools rapidly and does two things: it has a tendency to curl, and loses its desire to stick to things. [Michael] found the whole affair worked much less like ‘drawing in thin air’ and rather more like piping frosting, or caulking.An almost functional micro quad frame. The arms aren’t rigid enough to hold the motors vertical when under power.
Nevertheless, [Michael] sought to discover whether a 3D pen could be used to make quick and dirty parts of any use. He created two antenna brackets and one micro quad frame. All three are chaotic messes, but one antenna bracket was perfectly serviceable. The 3D pen was indeed able to create a strangely-shaped part that would have been a nightmare to CAD up. The other antenna part worked, but didn’t do anything a zip tie wouldn’t have done better. The rapid cooling of the plastic from the 3D pen has an advantage: extrusions don’t “droop” like a glob of hot glue does before it hardens.
By now, [Michael] agreed that the best way to create a plastic part of any complexity whatsoever seemed to be to draw sections flat, build them up in layers, then use the pen to weld the pieces together and add bulk. The micro quad frame he made in this way doesn’t look any nicer than the other attempts, but it did hold the parts correctly. Sadly, it would not fly. Once the motors powered up, the arms would twist and the flight controller was unable to compensate for motors that wouldn’t stay straight. This could probably be overcome, but while the end result was dirty it certainly wasn’t quick. The 3D pen’s niche seems restricted to simple, unstressed parts that aren’t permitted to gaze up themselves in a mirror.
If you have a 3D pen, we’d like to remind you of this mini spool design whose parts are welded together with the pen itself. For bigger jobs, a high-temperature hot glue gun can be used to dispense PLA instead.Posted in 3d Printer hacks, drone hacksTagged 3D pen, 3D printing pen, drone, micro quad, quadcopter
October 5, 2017 by Donald Papp
3D printing pens may be toys to some, but they can be genuinely useful tools to repair 3D prints, rescue a support structure, or weld together different pieces. However, [BManx2000] found that the way the filament simply sticks out of the back of a 3D printing pen like a bizarre tailfeather was troublesome.
The solution? A Mini Spool System for 3D Printing Pens, with which you can use your 3D printing pen to weld together the parts after printing them. The unit holds 1.75mm filament coiled under its own tension in a tidy package that doesn’t interfere with feeding. Since different 3D pens are shaped differently, the interface to the pen is a separate piece that can be modified or changed as needed without affecting the rest of the design.
We’ve seen some interesting innovations with filament holders before, like this entirely 3D printed filament holder, but a mini spool for a 3D pen is definitely a new one.Posted in 3d Printer hacksTagged 3D pen, 3d printed, 3D printing pen, filament, filament holder, filament spool, plastic welding, spool
November 11, 2015 by Bryan Cockfield
3D printers are ubiquitous now, but they’re still prohibitively expensive for some people. Some printers cost thousands, but even more inexpensive options aren’t exactly cheap. [Daniel] decided that this was unacceptable, and set out to make a basic 3D printer for under $100 by including only the bare essentials needed for creating anything out of melted plastic.
3D printers are essentially four parts: a bed, filament, and a hot end and extruder. In a previous project, [Daniel] used parts from old CD drives to create a three-axis CNC machine which he uses for the bed. To take care of the hot end and extruder, he is using a 3D printing pen which he mounts to the CNC machine and voila: a 3D printer!
It’s not quite as simple as just strapping a 3D printing pen to a CNC machine, though. The pen and the CNC machine have to communicate with each other so that the pen knows when to place filament and the CNC machine knows when to move. For that, [Daniel] went with a trusty Arduino in order to switch the pen on and off. Once it’s working, it’s time to start printing!
[Daniel] does note that this is a design that’s relatively limited in terms of print size and resolution, but for the price it can’t be beat. If you’re interested in getting started with 3D printing, a setup like this would be perfect. 3D pens are a pretty new idea too, and it’s interesting to see them used in different ways like this.Posted in 3d Printer hacksTagged 3D pen, 3d printer, arduino, cd drive, CNC machine, cost, extruder, inexpensive, pen, printer
August 14, 2015 by Brian Benchoff
Kickstarter started out as a platform for group buys, low-volume manufacturing, and a place to fund projects that would otherwise go unfinished. It would be naive of anyone to think this would last forever, and since these humble beginnings, we’re well into Peak Kickstarter. Now, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and every other crowdfunding platform is just another mouthpiece for product launches, and just another strategy for anyone who needs or wants money, but has never heard of a business loan.
Of course there will be some shady businesses trying to cash in on the Kickstarter craze, and over the last few years we’ve done our best to point out the bad ones. Finding every terrible Kickstarter is several full-time jobs, but we’ve done our best to weed out these shining examples of the worst. Following up on these failed projects is something we have been neglecting, but no longer.
Below are some of the most outrageous Kickstarters and crowdfunding campaigns we’ve run across, and the current status of these failed entrepreneurial endeavors.
Continue reading “Where Are They Now: Terrible Kickstarters” →Posted in Crowd Funding, Featured, SliderTagged 3D pen, 3D printing pen, Batteriser, battery, cell phone, Lix, Nikola Labs, router, soap
What is a 3D pen?
The capabilities of the 3D pen are impressive: with the help of a compact electronic device, you can draw "live" figures, create complex plastic structures and even repair toys and various plastic accessories. This is a great gift for children, as well as an indispensable tool for creative individuals - artists and interior designers. To learn how to use a device for three-dimensional printing, it is enough to spend quite a bit of time, because everything is clear on an intuitive level.
- 1 Features of use
- 2 types of handles for 3D printing
- 3 Principle of operation of the device
- 4 Types of plastic for work
- 5 Comparative table of budget models of well -known manufacturers
Features are a "magic wand" that can literally draw in the air. Although it is better to do it all the same on a laminated surface - it will be much more practical and convenient. For all fans of DIY 3D pen is a real find. Using special plastic as the initial "raw material", you can work wonders: create unique pictures that immediately become tangible, paint templates and stencils downloaded from the Internet, and make various decorative elements.
If the first 3D pens were deprived of many functionalities, then modern designs allow you to experiment and not limit the flight of creative imagination. In your hands is a powerful tool for 3D modeling, which is thought out to the smallest detail. With the help of a small three-dimensional printer, it is possible not only to create original artistic masterpieces, but also to effectively solve some everyday issues. You just insert plastic into a special hole, it heats up to the required temperature, and when it comes into contact with air, it freezes almost instantly. Everything is as simple as twice two, but it is very interesting.
Types of 3D printing pens
There are 2 types of 3D printing devices on sale today, which are similar in appearance, but differ in some functionality. 3D pens are:
- cold - draw with special photopolymers, quickly harden under the influence of ultraviolet radiation;
- hot - work only with polymer alloys, they can melt at different temperatures.
If cold 3D printers can be safely handed over to a child, then even an adult must be careful with hot devices so as not to get burned. Some models are additionally equipped with a built-in fan that blows the plastic at the outlet of the nozzle, as a result of which the resulting figures solidify faster. The melting temperature may vary, depending on the specific configuration of the electronic device, but usually this figure is in the range from 100 to 240 degrees.
The cost of a 3D printer depends on the technical specifications and functionality. Inexpensive products have a standard set of options and are more suitable for beginners who want to try their hand at 3D modeling. For more advanced users, practical devices of a new generation with an LCD display, which displays basic information during the drawing process, have been specially developed.
How the device works
The 3D printer is very similar to a regular pen, but instead of traditional ink refills, a special plastic filament about 3 mm thick is used. A hole for a plastic thread or rod is provided in the upper part of the body. Having installed the 3D “ink” inside, you need to press the button, after which the built-in mechanism with gears will automatically tighten the plastic directly to the extruder, where the “raw material” is heated to a predetermined temperature, melted, and then squeezed out through the print head in a “liquid” form.
Before use, the device must be preheated - this usually takes from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on the model. Readiness for drawing is determined by the indicator light. When the green color lights up, you can start creating. There are 2 indicators on the case: one is responsible for readiness for work, the other - signals the connection to the mains. In addition to the buttons for feeding and pulling plastic, there is an additional slider with which you can adjust the feed rate of the material.
To turn on the device, you need to press the "forward" button. Three-dimensional printers for home use can operate from an adapter that plugs into an electrical outlet, or directly from the built-in battery. In the latter case, the cost of the device will be slightly higher than the "stationary" models. The main advantages of 3D mechanisms are:
- compact size and light weight;
- practicality and ease of use;
- possibility of combination of colors and materials;
- ergonomic stylish design;
- easy care after use.
The standard equipment of the device includes a 3D pen, a power supply (adapter), instructions for use and a set of plastic "probes" of three colors. In some models, a small plastic screwdriver is also included in the kit - it is used to adjust the heating temperature of the source material. On the case there is a rubber plug, under which there is a special screw. By turning it left or right, you can decrease or increase the temperature as you wish.3D pen. How it works #5
Types of plastic to work with
For 3D drawing, a special plastic (most often ABS) is used, which can be in the form of short rods or coils. In the first case, the drawing time is usually limited to 1-2 minutes, since the device quickly "eats" the plastic bar. The inconvenience is that you constantly need to charge the device with new portions of the material. In the case of skeins, the situation is different - you can create calmly, without being distracted by trifles.
There are devices for PLA plastic. Environmentally friendly material significantly expands the boundaries of creative imagination. It is convenient to work with it on any surfaces, including different fabric bases. PLA DIY 3D printing pen is the perfect tool for professional designers and artists. Most often, such a three-dimensional printer is used in practice to create three-dimensional patterns and designs. But for the most efficient work, it is better to immediately purchase a universal device that is equally well suited for using PLA and ABS plastic.
It is worth noting that there are some differences between the 3D pen heads. Figures made of ABS material may shrink over time, and in the process of drawing, a characteristic smell of burnt plastic is formed. This material can be used to glue broken elements of children's toys and repair other products made of ABS plastic. The PLA material is made from corn, so you can catch a slight aroma of popcorn during the melting process. The melting point of ABS plastic is slightly higher compared to PLA material.
On the shelves of online stores there are 3D pens of different models and configurations, but in the vast majority of cases they are all made in China. Before buying a device, carefully read the instructions, as well as technical specifications. It will not be superfluous to read customer reviews on the forum - this way you will protect yourself from buying low-quality products. Draw for your pleasure and be sure to share your own impressions in the comments. For more information about the possibilities of 3D pens, see a special video on our website.
Comparison table of budget models of well-known manufacturers
|3D handle brand
|ABS and PLA
|SPIDER PEN START*
*Without lcd displayOverview of the famous 3D pen from China
Ask a question
How to draw with a 3D pen | Do it yourself
Do you want to revive your author's drawings? Then you need a 3D pen. With the help of a miniature printer, you can draw toys that will practically not differ from factory products, but at the same time absolutely free. Don't believe? Rather, try the possibilities of three-dimensional design at home, and all doubts will fade into the background. With a simple movement of your hand, you can bring to life the brightest and most original ideas.
What is a 3D pen?
The compact 3D pen is a unique creative tool that literally draws in the air. According to the method of three-dimensional "printing", 3D printers are distinguished by cold and hot action. In the first case, photopolymers are used as the initial “raw materials”, and in the second, a special plastic thread of different colors is used.
"Magic" pens are especially useful for children of any age to develop spatial thinking, but adults (especially designers and artists) will also benefit from mastering innovative drawing technology in practice. The standard package of the device includes a 3D printer and a power supply for connecting to the mains. Branded plastic thread for the pen must be purchased separately.
How to use?Read also: How to make fan blades with a 3D pen
Don't know how to draw with a 3D printer? It's okay - learning how to use the miracle pen for its intended purpose is not difficult. However, this "tool" can be used for domestic purposes. For example, if you need to quickly restore loose plastic parts. In the initial stages, it is better to use a 3D pen for beginners.
No complicated manipulations are needed: connect the unpacked 3D printer to the mains, wait about 1-2 minutes until the device warms up, after which you can proceed directly to creativity. Load the plastic rod of the color you want, press one of the two buttons to start the drawing process, and create any colorful compositions that come to mind.
Useful tips for beginners
In order for the 3D pen to draw directly in the air, you need to buy ABS plastic. If you use various surfaces for drawing, including paper, then PLA plastic is the best option, but it is more advisable to additionally apply a laminated coating so that the melted plastic does not stick to the surface. And most importantly - try not to touch the ceramic nozzle of the device during operation, so as not to get burned.
Pay attention to the indicator light when changing the plastic rods frequently. Red color indicates that the 3D pen is being prepared for work, green indicates that the drawing process can begin. Using special templates that are available on the Internet, you can portray Dilka or another character. There are no limits for the flight of creative imagination. In the process of 3D drawing, you can adjust the speed of the plastic feed and its density (not all models support these functions).
Gadget BenefitsRead also: How to draw a Bimo robot with a 3D pen
The 3D pen draws in real time - everything you draw on paper becomes real almost instantly. You can take the picture in your hands, taste it and draw further. This process captures from the first minute. Even if at first something unintelligible turns out, interest in creativity does not disappear.