The best 3D pen

Electronics

It’s recommended to invest in a 3D pen with a removable nozzle. In the event the filament jams, it’s easy to disassemble and clean up. Models without a removable nozzle may require total replacement as internal components are inaccessible.

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Which 3D pens are best?

If your kids enjoy coloring or design projects, it’s worth considering adding another medium to their collection: a 3D pen.

Like hot glue guns, 3D pens create structured designs through filaments that are fed through the barrel. Besides creating textured artwork on paper, you can also use a 3D pen to design freestanding creations such as boxes, robots, or pyramids, just to name a few.

If 3D pens pique your interest, this article brings you up to speed on the latest models to hit the market. We’re also including our long-standing favorite, plus a couple new 3D pens that are safe for young kids to use.

Top 3D pens

  1. MYNT3D Professional 3D Printing PenThis ever-popular 3D pen returns to our shortlist this year, as it offers a variety of controls for a truly customized design experience.
  2. MYNT3D Junior2 3D Printing PenWe’re adding this model to our list, given its rechargeable battery that allows budding designers a full range of motion.
  3. 3Doodler Start Essentials 3D Pen Set for KidsWe’re impressed with this kid-friendly new arrival, especially since it can be used with the new 3Doodler app.

For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.

What you need to know before buying a 3D pen

3D pens operate similarly to hot glue guns, only instead of glue sticks, they use thin filaments. As expected, when you purchase a 3D pen, you’re also signing up for the ongoing cost of buying refills. These can be expensive when purchased in smaller quantities, so many consumers gravitate toward bulk buying to save money.

There are two types of filaments, ABS and PLA. Some 3D pens are compatible with both, whereas others are only compatible with one of them. ABS filaments are the lesser-priced option. Unfortunately, they burn at higher temperatures. This means they emit fumes that can irritate sensitive skin or eyes.

PLA filaments are often made from biodegradable materials and burn at a lower temperature, so there’s no need to worry about fumes. The trade-off is that they take much longer to cool than ABS filaments.

To use a 3D pen, you need to set the temperature based on the filament type. For the most part, you can adjust the temperature in small increments of 1-10 degrees at a time. 3D pens that use PLA filaments should be heated between 320-428 degrees, while those using ABS filaments should be heated between 350-482 degrees.

3D pens are available as wired or wireless models. Wired 3D pens are often preferred by individuals who engage in lengthy creative sessions, as they provide continuous power. Unfortunately, they have fairly short power cords that can encumber your design process. Wireless models, on the other hand, are often battery-powered or equipped with rechargeable batteries. While they offer great portability and full range of motion, you’ll likely need to plan your use or set a timer to avoid interruptions.

As far as price goes, 3D pens range from $40-$150. Most consumers stick to the $50-$80 range, especially when purchasing them for kids. Models in this bracket are generally more reliable and have a diverse assortment of settings or features.

3D pens FAQ

Q. Why should I buy a 3D pen instead of a 3D printer?

A. 3D printers can cost thousands of dollars, and not all models are all-ages friendly. For that reason, many consumers begin their 3D printing experience with a more affordable option, a 3D pen. As 3D pens are easier to operate than most 3D printers, the learning curve is also much quicker.

Q. How do I learn to use a 3D pen?

A. Most 3D pens are packaged with quick-start user guides that teach you basic techniques. Some are also packaged with stencils or activity books if you prefer guided projects. If you want something more interactive, companies like 3Doodler have apps to explore for more inspiration or in-depth design projects.

In-depth reviews for best 3D pens

Best of the best

MYNT3D’s Professional 3D Printing Pen

MYNT3D’s Professional 3D Printing Pen

What we like: Customizable heat settings with 1-degree increments between 266-464 degrees. The pen has an ergonomic design, making it comfortable to hold for prolonged periods of time. Comes with a few starter filaments.

What we dislike: While fairly reliable, this model heats up a bit more slowly than others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

MYNT3D Junior2 3D Pen

MYNT3D Junior2 3D Printing Pen

What we like: One of the shortest learning curves of all models on the market. Its low-temperature nozzle won’t burn little fingers. Packaged with starter stencils to help kids learn the ropes of design.

What we dislike: Its simplicity is great for younger kids, but older kids and teens would prefer a more advanced model.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

3Doodler’s Start Essentials 3D Pen Set for Kids

3Doodler’s Start Essentials 3D Pen Set for Kids

What we like: Box includes a user guide, starter filaments and an activity booklet. Refined design makes for much better control. Eco-friendly all-around, as the set ships in sustainable packaging.

What we dislike: Some issues reported regarding the filament loading process and melting consistency.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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