Despite the fact they’ve been around for a few years now, 3D printers are still fairly expensive to own and maintain. Plus, they just take up a lot of real estate in a household. And while the results are absolutely worth it, we often wonder if there’s some a better solution for those that want a 3D printer experience, without having to pay the full price for it.
Enter 3D pens. Viewed as sort of a cousin to the 3D printer, 3D pens allow you to draw your creation in real life, giving it a fully-realized look and feel. 3D pens function by spitting out strains of hot plastic, similar to a hot glue gun, that can be placed on top of one another to create a fully 3D model. It’s a free-flowing, creative experience that’s a great toy for children and for children at heart. Creating with a 3D pen is immensely rewarding because, at the end of it all, there’s a tangible model you get to call your very own.
While 3D pens haven’t quite caught on in the same fashion that 3D printers have, there are still a few good options for those that want to go ahead and begin creating 3D models of their own. We’ve rounded up five of the best so that you can go ahead and bring your dreams to life — literally.
1. MYNT3D 3D Pen
MYNT3D’s professional-grade 3D pen is the 3D pen to beat. The best seller on Amazon and a top-rated selection, MYNT3D has an adjustable feed that helps to better regulate speed and flow, which helps you feed into each of those nooks and crannies a bit better. The pen’s OLED display also makes it easy to determine which setting the pen is on during a given session.
Additionally, a fully customizable temperature control allows you to increase or decrease at the touch of a button to better link pieces together. The pen’s ergonomic shape makes it comfortable to hold for extended periods of sculpting, which means the only limit to this pen is your imagination.
2. 3Doodler Create+ 3D Pen
3Doodler’s Create+ 3D pen has been updated with a new redesign that takes full advantage of its recently added Dual Drive functionality. This new adition is a small, but critical, feature that allows for greater control of speed (which assists with different drawing techniques) and better overall temperature control. It also creates just an overall smoother drawing experience.
Additionally, 3Doodler’s dedicated mobile app furthers the interactive experience by providing dedicated (and easy to understand) templates that offer step by step instructions to better test your skills. Whether you’re brand new to 3D pens or are looking to upgrade to something nicer, the Create+ is sure to satisfy both ends of the spectrum.
3. 3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Pen
BEST FOR KIDS
This 3D pen is the ideal pen for any child six and up that’s looking to add a little creativity into their life. The previous 3Doodler pen mentioned is awesome for more experienced 3D pen users as well as adults, but the Start Essentials pen is exceptionally made primarily for the use of kids.
This pen doesn’t heat up in the slightest, so your kids’ hands will stay burn-free no matter how frequently they use this. The nozzle itself can also be touched without any risk whatsoever. Try getting that from another 3D pen. This one also has a smoother drawing experience so molds come out looking less goopy and disfigured than they do with the use of other pens.
4. The World’s Slimmest 3D Printing Pen
Those that typically draw using pens or colored pencils will have a more difficult time drawing with thicker 3D pens like the majority mentioned in this roundup, so if you’re looking for something a little more similar to what you’re used to, check out this slim 3D pen from Hammacher Schlemmer. Deemed “The World’s Slimmest 3D Printing Pen” for a reason, this tool will bring those sketchbook doodles into real life.
There is a fan inside the pen to cool it down when it begins to get too hot and there are six different speed settings depending on what you’re comfortable with. It’s a totally precise option that is easy to grip and will help bring a little more control into your 3D printmaking.
5. XYZprinting da Vinci 3N10EXUS00B 3D Pen Education Bundle
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re just looking to experiment with a new hobby, look no further than this XYZprinting da Vinci pen. It comes with a series of templates to help guide you as you take on your newest form of artistic entertainment. It’s lightweight and allows for easy moveability which is even perfect for touching up 3D models created from another machine. The pen uses PLA filament which is totally bio compostable, so you won’t feel like you’re damaging the Earth as you’re doodling away.