3D printing is definitely the cool hip thing to do nowadays, at least judging by the number of printers you see launching on the crowdfunding sites. But one area that’s still a bit of a mystery is the budget end of the market, namely 3D pen printers, which offer similar 3D capabilities, but via a handheld device.
We recently tested out a generic budget 3D Stereoscopic Printer Pen, and we were really surprised at how much fun it was to use. As you can see from the video below, despite being a little wary of the skills needed, it turned out to be rather easy to pick up, and we got going in literally minutes.
The device comes in a fairly generic box, which holds the pen itself, a rather sparse but useful user manual and some starter filament in three colors. Oh and a power block and cable of course.
The pen itself is pretty straightforward, with around four controls and two indicator lights to help you know what’s going on. It’s good that they’ve kept it simple and easy to learn, otherwise this could easily end up being one of those gadgets you bought and quickly stashed in a drawer. Check out the video below for our fun time trying to become a 3D artist.
The real surprise is how quickly you can get going with the thing. Once you grasp the fact that you need to press the filament feed button to get the plastic extruded, it’s really straightforward. Insert the filament, press the button and start drawing. We didn’t even have to alter any of the default settings (there are buttons for temperature and speed control), but just set off trying to make stuff.
As with anything like this, it’s going to take time to become really proficient, but we managed to create a rudimentary 3D bicycle within 10 minutes from opening the box, which is pretty impressive. The trick seems to be to make sure you anchor the start of any run so the extrusion process has something stable to work from. We also used a sheet of paper to act as a worktable, which was great.
Now it’s pretty clear that I’m not an artist, so we’re not going to be able to offer any judgment on how great the pieces of work you create are likely to be, but the fact is that it’s really great fun, no matter what you end up with. The fact that you can build something that stands up, has shape and form and looks reasonably decent with minimal practice is really impressive, and who knows what you could create once you really got expert?
We think this could be one of the gift gadgets of the future, and we can see a whole generation of makers getting excited over the possibilities of art and crafts using the new materials and pen printers. Oh and the filament itself is reasonably well priced at around $1.60 a meter. Which should go a long way. Very cool indeed.
Price: $79.99 / £44.82
Input: AC 110V-220V
Output: DC 12V 3A
Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
Output Materials Type: Fused Deposition Modeling
Molding Method: 3D Modeling
Printing Area: Unlimited
Sprinkle Speed: Adjustable
Heating Temperature: 160 to 230 Degree Celsius (Adjustable)
Main Product Dimensions: 185x28mm (L x W x D)
Main Product Weight: 65g