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A 3D drawing pen is a pen that ejects hot or warm plastic from the nozzle of the pen. You don’t need any software. No files to transfer, no difficult technique to master, “Whatever you can imagine, you can draw. It goes from your mind, to your hand, right there.” With a 3D pen, you can draw a raised drawing on a piece of paper or any flat surface. But what really makes the 3D Pen unique is its ability to “draw” in the air, allowing you to instantly create 3D structures right in front of you, which you can pick up and hold in your hand.


What is a “3D printing pen”?

A 3D printing pen is similar to a handheld 3D printer. It uses the same type of heating element and extruder that you’ll find in a desktop 3D printer. But instead of controlling the computer software and drivers, you guide the printer head manually.


Who will use the 3D pen?

Our community is very diverse and there is no one size fits all, but we see 3D pens primarily used by artists, makers, designers (fashion and home), educators, engineers, DIYers, hobbyists, and anyone who just wants to have some creative fun. Check out some of the examples below and be sure to click on their name to see more of their work.

Read also: “Thermal printing project, 8 tips to help increase its profits”


How does 3D Pen work?

3D Pen
3D Pen

Like all 3D printing devices, a 3D drawing pen (3D Pen) works by heating a plastic filament to its melting point and forcing it into the tip of the extruder. This is very similar to how a hot glue gun works. The melted plastic is very soft and can be melted onto the surface or worked into any shape you like. Once the melted plastic leaves the tip, it begins to cool rapidly. After a few seconds, the plastic hardens and keeps the shape you worked in.

Read also: “Printify, a print-on-demand service for selling your designs online”


What can you do with a 3D pen?

These pens allow you to paint with plastic effectively. You can make plastic into any shape and apply it to most surfaces. You can use it to add decorative highlights to everyday things. With practice, you can even make 3D graphics in an empty space. These pens can also be used to modify and repair other 3D printed objects.

Read also: “3D printing technology”


Steps to use a 3D drawing pen

Step 1: My 3D Pen, What’s Included

3D Drawing Pen
The first step

In this Instructable, I’ll show you how to use a 3D drawing pen, provided here by GearBest.com and can be found here. This is a very inexpensive version of a 3D pen. For less than $50, you can get your hands on 3D possibilities. My pen came with some items…

  1. 3D Pen (obviously)
  2. 3 samples of color filament
  3. Power supply, 12VDC 3A
  4. Operation instructions
  5. European to US AC Adapter, the power supply came with those weird external prongs.

Step 2: Pen process

The pen is a little more complicated than I expected. I figured he’d only have one button to go. Turns out it has a forward and backward button, cruise control and two LED status indicators. The tip is also removable, I believe you can buy different sized tips for increased accuracy! I have labeled the different parts in the pictures…

Step 3: Add the wick

To add threads to your 3D pen, it’s very simple but you can skip a simple step if you don’t know anything about it!

printing pen
The third step
  • When you plug in the power to the 3D Pen, you will see an orange power light, shown in the image. At first I thought this meant it was heating up and getting ready, wrong! After power is connected to the device and you see the orange LED, press the submit/extrude button. This will cause the status LED to turn red as well, indicating that the pen is heating up. Once the pen has warmed up, the LED indicator will turn green.
  • To add the fuse, gently slide it into the hole on top, you won’t be able to push it too far as the motor is right at the hole. Once you push the filament a small amount and it becomes difficult to push it, simply press the forward/extrusion button and you will feel the filament start snapping. Make sure to push the speed control to the top where the fuse and power plug are, that’s at full speed. If you leave it at low speed, it can take forever for the wick to reach the hot end.
  • When the wick reaches the tip, you’ll be able to hear it in the motor, and then you’ll start to see oozing from its tip. You are now ready to print! I like to take out some of the excess plastic at the start of a new color to get rid of any bits left from the previous color. You can now print objects and adjust the speed to perfect your masterpiece!

Step 4: Change the wick with the 3D pen

When you start making things, you may want to use different colors. To do this, you must first remove the color you were using previously. The steps are almost the same as placing the wick…

  1. Power supply
  2. Press the forward/extrusion button
  3. Wait for the status light to turn green
  4. Now, instead of pressing the extrusion/forward button, you press the reverse button and the filament will begin to pull out of the pen.

You can now load up on new color leads or toss your pencil in a bag and take it with you!

Step 5: Final Thoughts

Overall I thought this was a nice and neat little game. I certainly wouldn’t use this to replace a 3D printer, but it could be useful for 3D printing finishes, and of course fun to play with. When I first got it one of my buddies came over and had fun playing with it.

Also read: “Chromebook. What is a Chromebook and Should You Buy One?”


3D drawing pen uses

Assembling 3D objects from 2D drawings

3D Pen
Assembling 3D objects from 2D drawings

The simplest way to make a 3D object with a 3D Pen is to assemble it from several 2D drawings. For example, I’m making a simple bridge from Warren Truss.

  1. Start by drawing each side. I used a stencil to help me keep the sides even.
  2. Place the bottom piece in the middle of your work surface. Then lift the first side piece next to it. Place a small plastic bead at the points where the pieces gather. It is easy to stick to some sites with exposed surface. Then connect them at the corners of each triangle. If you want a stronger connection, you can apply a new line to the entire corner where the two pieces meet. Do this for each side piece of the pattern.
  3. Finally, attach the top piece in the same way.

Once the overall shape is held together, you can go back and add drops of plasticine to strengthen any weak areas. To give the model a fuller look, go back and trim any sticking points with scissors or wire cutters. I don’t recommend placing a 3D shape in the toaster like you would with a 2D drawing because the shape is likely to deform.

Create free 3D objects in space

3d pen
Create free 3D objects in space

The ability to make freehand drawings is probably the most well-known feature of the 3D Pen. It is also the most difficult. It is very difficult to make graphics in an empty space. You’ll need to practice a lot before you can make beautiful shapes like the ones you see in ads. So don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t look very good.

  • To start a 3D drawing, you need to start with a solid anchor point. Make a large plastic dot on the paper. Then slowly lift the pen into the air while extruding at a slow speed. You need to move your hand as fast as the extruder pushes the plastic out.
  • To make a straight line, hold the pen body along the plastic and pull it very gently. A small amount of tension will keep the plastic line straight as it cools. When you get to the point where you want the line to end, stop extruding the plastic and hold the pen for a few seconds. The plastic needs to cool and recombine before it can bear its weight.
  • You can help the plastic cool more quickly by blowing gently on it or by directing a small fan to your work area. Once the plastic has hardened, pull the pen away. The plastic melted in the nozzle may leave a small spot or roll into a thread from the 3D pen. You can cut this with scissors or wire cutters.
  • The hardest part about creating freehand space diagrams is working at the right speed. You need to move your hand at the same speed as the plastic extruder. Otherwise it will fall back. You have to move the pen to shape the plastic while it cools. So you have to intuitively know how quickly the plastic cools and hardens. This requires a lot of training to get off.

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Making two-dimensional sketches

The easiest type of project to start with is using your pen to make 2D drawings out of plastic. This might sound like a weird “3D pen” app but these drawings are different in that you can pick them up off the paper when you’re done.

  • First select a nice clean surface to draw on. Paper works well for this. You can also use the printed graphic as a stencil. You can find a lot of stencils on the Internet.
  • To start drawing, extrude a small plastic bead onto the paper. This will be the initial fulcrum. Then draw a line by slowly sliding the pen across the paper as you extrude the plastic.
  • Keep the tip of the pen close to the paper so that the melted plastic is pressed against the paper before it has a chance to cool. The hotter the plastic gets in contact with the paper, the better it will stick. You want the entire line to adhere to the paper well because many threads shrink as they cool and this can pull the plastic off the paper and distort the shape.
  • At the end of the line, stop extruding the plastic, but don’t move the pen. Wait a few seconds to allow the plastic on the paper to cool. Then pull the pen away. This will leave a small point of plastic protruding where the tip of the pen used to be. You can smooth it out by gently touching the side of the tip. The tip will re-melt the point of the plastic and crush it back into the line.
  • When you want to connect two lines, pause at the point where the two lines meet. This will allow the heat from the tip to partially re-melt the first line and create a stronger connection.
  • When your drawing is complete, gently remove it from the paper. You can now use a knife or scissors to carefully cut out any jagged edges.

This special 3D printing pen came from GearBest.com. They have a lot of neat products and many of them have to do with Arduino compatible devices. Feel free to check out the various ideas brought up here. I hope you enjoyed this little Instructable. .