3D Printing Pens

A lot of 3D Printer users are getting these new 3D Printing Pens, and its not uncommon to be disappointed by the trinkets they're able to produce (see my post from last month about my own experience with a 3d printing pen.)

If you're thinking about getting one, there's some things you should probably be aware of.  A 3D Pen has about as much in common with a 3D printer as a felt tipped pen has with a felt hat.  The truth is a 3D pen is an artistic tool, like a paintbrush. There is nothing 'printer' about it.  In my opinion, they should really be called 3D Drawing Pens.

It requires lots of skill to get good at using it, probably more than is required to use a 3D printer (an off-the-shelf one anyway, maybe not a RepRap.)

I bought mine to use for making repairs to 3D prints.  For that its great, but as an artistic tool I will probably never be good enough at it to make anything worthwhile

Me in a felt hat at Oktoberfest in Cincinatti, 2015.  The wife is wearing a Chicken Dance hat.

If you're in the market for a 3D printing pen but haven't pulled the trigger yet, there a couple important things to look for:

One of the most important things is to match the extrusion speed to the speed at which you move the pen.  If the extrusion is slower, the molten filament will get stretched and sag.  If your movement is slower, which is more often the case, the filament bunches up.  For this reason, you need to have a fine control over the extrusion speed if you want to have any hope of producing a half way decent trinket.

One way to accomplish this is a slider on the side of the pen.  Thats what mine has. But the best way is to use a foot pedal, like a sewing machine.  The really high end ones have this,

Another thing is some of them are wireless and some are not.  Mine is not, which is good for me because I have so many things around the house with rechargeable batteries I can never keep them all charged.

But if you want to make really good artwork, you're going to want to go wireless.  The wires hinder your movement and make it feel a lot less like a 3D paintbrush and more like a 3D vacuum cleaner.

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