3Doodler bike. Source: WhiteClouds
3Doodler bike. Source: WhiteClouds

In their Kickstarter video 3D pen developer 3Doodler says, “If you can scribble, trace, or wave a finger in the air, you can use a 3Doodler to create simple or complex objects.” Since seeing 3Doodler for the first time, we’ve been eager to put their claim to the test.

The 3Doodler concept is simple—it’s basically a hand-held extruder that is about the size of an electric toothbrush and extrudes PLA and ABS plastics. It allows you to draw 3-dimensional objects that literally come off the page.

The 3Doodler came neatly packaged in a small, shoebox-like box. We found that the box makes for a good building platform, so hang on to it. The box contained the 3Doodler pen, power supply, and quick start guide. The 3Doodler also comes with one package of PLA plastic sticks in multiple colors and two packages of ABS plastic sticks in multiple colors.   

For our first attempt with the 3Doodler, we decided to create a bicycle. The Bicycle pattern is available on 3Doodler’s website. After reading about 3Doodling with ABS vs. PLA, also available on their website, we decided to build the bike out of ABS.

After plugging the 3Doodler in and turning it on, it doesn’t take long to heat up—less than a minute. We loaded the filament as directed in the quick start guide and didn’t have any problems. The 3Doodler has two speeds. Low is the bottom button and high is the top button. Push both buttons at the same time to reverse the feeder and remove the filament.

There is a noticeable difference between low and high. It was hard to accurately draw fast enough on the stencil to keep up with the high speed. The low speed was just right.  The 3D pen takes some practice and getting used to, but in just a few minutes I felt like I was getting the hang of it. While there isn’t an age recommendation on the box, we’d recommend this product for older kids (8+), teens, and adults. The tip gets hot so be careful with young children around the 3Doodler.

The only hitch we ran into was sometimes the low-speed button would get stuck. It was easily remedied by wiggling the button just a little bit.

Tips:

  • Hold the 3Doodler just a little above the paper to extrude a nice bead of plastic.
  • The paper sometimes warps. It help to draw on something stiff (like a box) or hold the paper down so your object won’t warp.
  • We removed the rubber cowling on the hot end of the pen which allows you to see a little better—but it probably isn’t as safe.

The 3Doodle site has many templates that you can print and use to trace with your 3Doodler and build objects. There is also a community to share pictures of your designs, how-videos, and accessories for your 3Doodler. Daniel Cowen, co-founder of 3Doodler, explains: “The 3Doodler accessories, as well as the hundreds of stencils now available on the 3Doodler website, are an integral part of building our community. 3Doodler continues to spark imaginations, as people find new ways of using the pen to create amazing things.”

3Doodler is a fun way to build 3D objects and at $99, is a reasonable price. We’d recommend it for the artist, inventor, or anyone that likes to doodle. We’re looking forward to many more creations with 3Doodler. 3Doodler is asking for you to post your creations at #WhatWillYouCreate?