How to use 3D pens (with quick-start guide and reviews!)

Three-dimensional pens are 3d printers you can hold in your hand, while they can be held in your hand in much the same way as a Waterman fountain pen – that’s where the similarities end. They do come with a fairly steep learning curve (and a steep price on some models too), but the results are worth it!

butterfly drawn with a 3 d pen

In this article, we’ll explain what you must consider when trying to figure out how to use your 3D pen. Then we’ll also go over how to buy a brand new 3D pen – with some final suggestions about the best models currently available. You can read about the artistic, adult version of the fancy-pen in our article about VR pens.

A quick guide to get started

  1. Plug the pen into the mains (or fully-charge it for a battery model)
  2. Switch on and set the temperature
  3. Insert the plastic – this is usually inserted at the back and you’ll feel a little click when it’s ready
  4. Set your speed
  5. Push down on your surface and start to draw – that’s it!

7 things to consider before using your 3D pen

Just like 3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing of 3D objects, 3D pens have revolutionized the art of drawing.

If you have recently purchased a 3D pen and you are new to handling it, familiarize yourself with the basics described below to get started.

Just like 3D printers, there’ll be some trial and error before you achieve optimal results.

Warm-up your 3D pen before you get started

Before using your 3d pen, it’s necessary to preheat it so that the nozzle reaches a suitable temperature (the melting point) for melting the components. This usually only takes a few seconds for your device to be operational.

On some models, you may see an indicator light to inform you that your equipment is ready for use. In addition, they can offer you the possibility of selecting the heating time on three levels. Low, Medium, and High mode. You will also be able to monitor the heat variation of the nozzle on the integrated monitor with OLED display.

Choose suitable paper

Which surface is best to draw on with a 3d pen?

  • It’s best for beginners to start with cardboard. It sticks well, is pretty forgiving, and is readily available to buy.
  • The best surface for experts and those with higher levels of experience is a glue-coated clear laminated sheet, just like that used by 3D printers.
  • Regular printer paper and wax paper are not recommended.

Pro tip: If you only have printer paper, you can cover it with shipping tape OR spray it with hairspray to get better results and avoid excess stickiness.

Hold your 3D pen firmly when using it

The handling of 3D pens is similar to that of ordinary pens. During your activity, be sure to grip your device firmly to prevent it from slipping between your hands. Thus, you will be able to benefit from a satisfactory work added to an optimal precision.

Take care not to drop your equipment at the risk of damaging it or creating malfunctions in its system.

a flower made with pens 3d

Vary the nozzle temperature

When using your 3D pen, it is always necessary to adapt it to the surface on which you plan to perform your operation.

For this, you will have to adjust the temperature of the nozzle so that the texture of the filament is in the optimal conditions to meet your expectations. This action can generally be done via a specific button which guarantees the adjustment of the heat variation of your equipment.

Reload when empty

This action is usually done on the top of your 3D pen. Once you find that your device is empty and needs to be recharged, all you need to do is remove the cover. The latter usually opens from a rotation system. Press the main button to start the flow then tilt your equipment at a 45 ° angle to bring in the filaments.

To change the color, repeat the process while changing the shade of your insert element.

Replace the filament regularly

When you undertake this step, it is necessary to check the type of filament that could be compatible with your 3D pen. Indeed, an injection of other elements not accommodated with your equipment could seriously damage it.

Note that you will be dealing with two categories of filament varying depending on the model: PLA and ABS. There are also devices that can assimilate both petroleum-based PLA filaments and corn starch designed ABS.

Put your 3D pen somewhere safe after each use

Between uses, be sure to keep your 3D pen out of the reach of children for their safety. It is necessary to store it in one of your drawers or cupboards. But also, do not forget to replace the nozzle cover after each use to protect it from external damage that could damage it.

Buying Guide – How to Choose a Good 3D Pen?

Children, adults, amateurs, or professionals can all find pleasure using a 3D pen. Due to the huge availability of choice, choosing a 3d pen perfectly suited to your needs needn’t be a challenge.

If you make your choice according to certain parameters such as its design, the filament, and its possible settings (like speed control), you’ll have use of a versatile handheld 3d printer.

If you’re in the market for one, consider their overall design, the filament they use, and the settings they offer. This allows you to use it according to your project and your tastes, and to create spectacular 3d art.

Design

Despite looking like a glue gun, 3D pens are intended in particular for drawing in space. While some of these devices have a practical design, others do not. To know how to buy a 3D pen with a better quality-price ratio, this characteristic must be taken into account.

To draw in comfort, the device should above all be ergonomic to avoid repetitive strain injury or other related problems. Its handling must be easy and safe. Best of all, a good device doesn’t require much effort if it just needs to be held, and it is easier to make detailed and precise drawings.

In addition, the devices can operate via a plug-in or wirelessly using a rechargeable battery. It is best to make your selection according to your intended use of the product.

For large three-dimensional drawing jobs, you may not want to be interrupted for frequent reloading. On the other hand, if you want to use it wherever you want and not be bothered by a cord, this is a second option item for you.

The plastic filament

The role played by the plastic filament is critical in the devices. That is why it is important to deal with an answer this question before considering where to buy a new 3D pen. The elements that go into the composition of 3d pens are not always the same.

A PLA Filament or an ABS Filament are the most widely used on the market. A PLA filament has the advantage of releasing neither toxic elements nor odor. As for ABS filaments, their advantage is in their ability to harden quickly and to provide impact resistance – but they are not odorless!

Possible settings

A price comparison of this kind of model often looks first at how they are distinguished by adjustability. Adjustment allows you to use the equipment with more comfort and precision.

The important settings are temperature and speed parameters. To allow you to fully master your masterpiece, their adjustment is necessary. Some models offer a button that allows you to choose the level that suits you continuously and without making a lot of effort. But you should also know that this is not always the case.

Three of the Best 3D pens

The following models are the best 3D pens in our ranking if you can’t browse our comparison and buying guide entirely. Each 3D printing pen offers options of multiple speeds and temperature settings.

1. MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen with OLED Display

Click to check price

The Good

  • Easily dismantled and fixed
  • Lighter than many other 3d pens
  • Simple temperature and speed control

The Bad

  • Short power cord
  • Could be too loud for some people

2. MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

Click to see the latest price 

The Good

  • The best value 3D pen we’ve used
  • Power indicators make it simple to use
  • The speed slider can be easily set to adjust extrusion speed

The Bad

  • Can clog up often if not used carefully
  • Better build quality on the professional model

3. 3Doodler Create PLA

Check most recent price here

The Good

  • Suitable for teenagers
  • PLA and ABS plastics used are non-toxic
  • The pen is fatter than others which makes it easier to hold

The Bad

  • gets a little hot
  • flat filament means fine detail is more difficult