Drawing and doodling on paper has its appeal, but if you’re ready to take your creative endeavors to new heights — like above the surface of your table — you’ll want to learn how to use a 3D pen.
Before we explain how a 3D pen works and which ones you may want to purchase, let’s discuss the question, “What is a 3D pen?” A 3D pen is a pen-like device that uses a plastic filament instead of ink. After it is heated to its melting point, the plastic filament is forced through the tip of an extruder. The process is quite similar to how a hot glue gun works.
When it comes to how to use a 3D pen, the options abound! You can create doodles that you lift off the surface you drew them on so they’re more or less two-dimensional but can be displayed flat, upright, or anywhere in between. You can also create designs that adhere to items made of similar plastic, which is generally either Polylactic Acid (PLA) or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). Legos, many phone cases, and computer plastic fall into this category. Or, using an anchor point made by pressing the pen against the surface you draw on, such as paper, you can draw a 3D doodle in thin air.
If you’re interested in picking one up for yourself, you’ll also find yourself asking, “How much is a 3D pen?” We’ve listed a couple of the best 3D pen options below with prices ranging from around $80 to a little more than $100 for options that include all the materials you need to get started.
- 3Doodler Create+ Essential 3D Printing Pen Set
- 3Doodler MEGA
Offering a dual drive, this 3D printing pen set provides excellent control with fast and slow speeds, the ability to use different plastic types, impressive durability, and plenty of colors. The plastic is designed to harden almost instantly to make drawing 3D images in space a snap. The set includes the pen, plastic refills in 15 colors, a doodling guide showing you how to use a 3D pen, and more.
Because the plastic filament must be heated in order to flow through the tip of the extruder, not all 3D pens are suitable for children, due to the risk of minor burns. This 3D pen set, however, makes 3D art accessible to kids as young as 8 years old, thanks to a pen nozzle and plastic design that can be safely touched. The 3Doodler MEGA works well as a tactile learning toy to help children build spatial understanding, and the kit includes a pen, eight mixed-color packs of eco-plastic, eight unique Doodleblocks, an activity guide, and more.
A 3D pen can be a fun and exciting way to engage your artistic side. Because it’s still a relatively new concept, there are limited options. Whether you’re a casual doodler, a professional artist, or a parent hoping to inspire a child to think creatively, one of these options may be just right for you.
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