You don’t have to be a professional designer or artist to enjoy building beautiful 3D objects with a 3D printing pen.
This amazing tool is a must-have for anyone with an inner drive towards innovation and creativity, and a desire to bring their imagination to life. It is a fascinating and engaging drawing tool that can expand your creative skills.
We’ve decided to explore the market and test the different features of some 3D printing pen brands. Thus, we have created the best 3D printing pen 2017 list along with some pros and cons of each featured product. But first, lets find out what this technology is all about!
What is a 3D pen?
A 3D pen is like a desktop 3D printer, except that you can hold it in your hand. It looks like a bulkier version of a normal pen and operates with plastic instead of ink.
While desktop 3D printers use motors and computer software to control the printer nozzles to create objects, a 3D pen is controlled solely by your hand and imagination. The great thing about a 3D pen is that it can be used to draw on most surfaces.
How does a 3D pen work?
Plastic filament is inserted into the pen and fed into the nozzle with the help of small motor driven rollers. The heated nozzle then softens (melts) the filament and pushes it out, at which point it can be given any shape. It only takes seconds for the plastic to cool down, thus it attains the desired shape.
Most 3D pens use either PLA (poly lactic acid) or ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic filaments, or both. However, if you want to avoid inhaling the smell of burnt plastic, you might consider a 3D pen that uses photopolymer inks.
These usually come at a higher price point, but are safer for children. The ink comes in small cartridges. Once extruded through the nozzle, it is exposed to UV light coming from built in LEDs and gets solidified. And since the nozzle stays cold, you don’t run the risk of burning your fingers.
Some 3D pens are powered by batteries, some can be hooked up to a USB port on your computer, and some may require the power cord to be connected to an AC/DC outlet.
Our Best 3D Printing Pen of 2017 List
Most 3D printing pens seem rather intuitive and easy to use. But at a closer look you can see that different models are clearly suited for different target audiences.
|7Tech 3D Printing Pen ver.2015||62 g/ 2.2 oz||7.3 x 1.6 x 1.1 inches||LCD||Advanced|
|Scribbler 3D pen v3||50 g/ 1.8 oz||7.3 x 1.5 x 1.2 inches||LED||General|
|RP800a 3D 4th Generation||45 g/ 1.6 oz||6.9 x 0.8 x 0.7|
|Creaker Professional||60 g/ 2.1oz||10.2 x 5.9 x 2.4 inches||LED working indicator||Advanced|
|Lay3r 3D pen||62 g/ 2.2 oz||5 x 1 x 1.2 inches||None||Children|
|3Doodler Create||50 g/1.8 oz||6.3 x 0.7 x 0.7 inches||None||General|
|Coocheer 3D drawing pen||85 g/3 oz||8.2 x 6.9 x 2.6 inches||LED power indicator||General|
|CreoPop Cordless 3D Printing Pen||113 g/ 4 oz||8.9 x 2.3 x 6.1 inches||None||Children|
|Future Make Polyes Q1||158 g/ 5.6 oz||8.8 x 1 x 1.6 inches||None||Children|
|Magicpen 3D pen V3.0||62 g/ 2.2 oz||8.6 x 5.3 x 2.7 inches||OLED||General|
1. 7Tech 3D Pen – advanced declogging technology
Upon testing this pen, it felt very thin and light. 7Tech 3D pen weights only 2.2 oz. (63 grams) and integrates so comfortably with your hand that its users can easily forget that they are holding a pen. Instead, they can concentrate on their 3D creations and designs and produce anything that they imagine.
With that said, the smart, non-bulky shape of the 7Tech 3D pen appeals to adults and children alike. And you might not believe it, but you don’t have to trace objects on a flat surface. That’s right, with the 7Tech Printing Pen you can draw and build your pieces in the air as well.
If you are concerned about safety, one thing that you will really love about this pen is the automatic sleep mode function. It sets the pen into a standby mode after 5 minutes of idling. In addition, to protect your fingers against the hot nozzle, you can use the aluminum spatula while drawing, which comes together with the 7Tech 3D pen.
Unlike some other models that we have tested, the 7Tech 3D pen has advanced thermal and speed control buttons. The temperature can be adjusted anywhere between 320-446 °F (160-230 °C). It is always convenient to be able to control the heating temperature and the speed of extrusion of the ABS or PLA filaments. Plus, 7Techpen comes with an LCD screen and the reverse button for unmelted filament. Besides, the manufacturers have developed a sophisticated de-clogging mechanism that detects filament jamming and prevents any clogging problems.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert in 3D printing, this pen is a great tool for bringing your brave artistic ideas to life. 7Tech 3D pen is amazing in terms of design, practical and easy to control. The product is backed up by a 1 year warranty.
2. Scribbler 3D pen v3 – most comfortable and a top seller
We continue our list with no other but the stellar Scribbler v3. One of the first things you notice about the Scribbler 3D pen is its slim, lightweight and flexible design. It demonstrates some significant improvements of the legacy version of this brand. As the pen weights only 50 grams (1.8 oz) and is made of durable non-metal parts, it is suitable for all age groups.
Surely, the new design has become much simpler, more robust and cleaner compared to the older versions.
The LCD screen is another great addition to this pen as it gives you the opportunity to see the various parameters of the device. You can easily adjust temperature and choose one of the 6 speed modes of the wire feeder according to your skills and needs.
The Scribbler is now available in 8 different colors: white, yellow, red, blue, green, metallic blue, silver and metallic purple.
It can work with both PLA and ABS filaments without any problems, while the package comes with three loops of ABS filament. Some of the available types of material are glowing, wooden, flexible, and metal. It also features a removable ceramic nozzle, which is a safer version compared to copper nozzles available on devices from most other manufacturers. The pen shuts off automatically when idle for several minutes.
One major drawback of the Scribbler is that it lacks a mechanism for de-clogging. Furthermore, the instructions might seem a bit confusing at first glance, and there is a learning curve if you are used to the traditional way of drawing. But you can download some fee stencils from the official website and start drawing with ease by following the available patterns.
Still, because it is simple to operate and extremely comfortable with its improved ergonomic design, this third generation Scribbler 3D pen is perfect for beginners in 3D drawing.
3. RP800a 3D 4th Generation – extremely compact
With the RP800a pen you can create models by using both ABS and PLA filament. The filament can be easily replaced. Please keep in mind that while the 3D pen operates at a temperature of 130-240 °C, at 6 different speeds, the ABS may produce a toxic smell. And even though the PLA releases a more pleasant smell than the ABS when melted, it is still recommended that you ventilate the area whenever you work with the RP800a or any 3D pen with ABS/PLA substance.
The pen comes with a pack of ABS filament in 5 different colors: white, purple, blue, yellow, and silver. It does not require a connection to AC/DC adapter and can be powered by a power bank or a USB. The nozzle is ceramic and changeable.
The new version of the model is equipped with an OLED screen which allows to adjust device temperature and filament type easily. You will certainly enjoy its thin design, which might seem a bit ridged at first sight. In fact it integrates comfortably into the hand and allows for smooth movements during operation.
There is a lot to like about the RP800a. For instance, the pen can be easily refilled through the handle, which also makes it possible to mix colors and materials directly while creating your art.
It has a couple of buttons for speed of the plastic flow, temperature control and two indicator lights. There is no need to constantly press buttons to feed the pen, as it comes with a special function for automatic extrusion, just double click the button.
When it comes to shortcomings of the RP800a, our research and testing of the 3D pen did not reveal any significant drawbacks. It was a pleasure exploring the tool and effectively bringing our creations into life. Another bonus is the price, which is significantly lower compared to that of most of its competitors. Just the way we like it.
4. Creaker Professional 4th Generation – great look at a great price
In contrast to the other models, Creaker comes with 2 loops of PLA filament, and at a price that is difficult to pass up. We were very delighted with this product, because it combines a number of necessary features: return filament function, speed control, LED indicator, speed indicator.
As soon as the LED indicator light on the pen turns blue and you know that the pen is ready to use.
You can draw your 3D masterpieces in minutes with Creaker and if you decide to take a break for a new doze of inspiration, you do not have to worry about the heated nozzle, as Creaker features an intelligent stand by function.
The nozzle of the pen is not ceramic, like on other brands, it is made of metal. Moreover, the Creaker comes with a built-in import motor at a low power dissipation, offering longer working life.
The Creaker comes in a modern, stylish design, however some users have complained that the pen is not as comfortable to hold as some other brands.
Also, the package could be improved with some instructions for beginners and simple exercises that can help tap into your individual creativity and accomplish inspiring results in 3D drawing.
But considering the name of the pen, Creaker is meant for professionals who have already integrated 3D printing in their work and do not need much guidance. They can just grab the pen, take the idea in their mind and share it with the world in the form of a 3D design.
5. Lay3r 3D pen – smart temperature and speed control
Half way through our list, we’d like to present to you the Lay3r 3D pen. This pen is very user friendly. You simply unpack it, fill it with material and start using it. And just in case it is your first 3D pen, you can review the very clear and concise instructions manual, which will guide your learning and drawing.
Besides, if you run into any issues regarding the features and the performance of your Lay3r pen, you can always ask for assistance in the well-developed online support community, which can point you in the right direction. By joining the online community of 3D craftsmen you can also have access to projects and stencils that are free to download. There are some great inspiring ideas that can put your gears in motion.
The model is very innovative with and relatively comfortable design. The Lay3r filaments are available in 20 different colors. The material is perfect for repairing plastic objects and for creating professional models one can be proud of.
The Lay3r 3D pen is ideal for children and adults as it has an automatic shut off safety function and does not overheat while drawing. The manufacturers have designed the Lay3r with both the amateur and more advanced drawers’ needs in mind and that is why they have included different speed modes that can suit any drawing style.
The modifications of the speed can offer additional convenience and simplicity while drawing. Meanwhile, the option to adjust temperatures completely changes the whole process of 3D-art creation. Many 3D designers insist on having a 3D pen with smart temperature and speed control. They prefer to be fully in charge of the flow and speed of the drawing and claim to have better and more pleasant experience.
In fact, one of the best features of the Lay3r pen is the inbuilt cooling fan. The Lay3r heats up after longer periods of usage, but you should not worry about burning your hands. Plus, you can always adjust the temperature manually.
Some users complain that the pen becomes easily jammed, but we did not notice any such tendencies during testing.
The Lay3r is available in white, yellow, silver, blue and green. In short, offering a great overall value, 3D printing enthusiasts will find that it is worth the investment. If Lay3r is your preferred choice, please don’t forget to share your creations and designs with the community and get additional inspiration from other designers and hobbyists.
6. 3Doodler Create – a brand with traditions in 3D printing
Did you know that the newest version of the 3Doodler was labeled “Create” to “highlight the huge creative potential of [the brand’s] hero product” ?
There is no point in glorifying any of the models, but for sure, the brand has revolutionized the 3D printing experience with its newest top-of-the-line printing pen.
You will be amazed by its ergonomic, compact and comfortable design, allowing for a good grasp. The 3Doodler Create is light and thin, resembling a regular pen. Well, with a couple of large buttons (for speed and temperature control, for loading filament and feeding), it fits nicely into the hand.
It is safe and easy to use. It works with both ABS and PLA. Also, the new design makes the printing process quieter and smoother.
It takes about 40 seconds for the 3Doodler Create to heat up to the maximum temperature level. The LED lights of the pen will turn green to indicate that the ABS or PLA plastic is melted and ready to use. Apart from having several heat settings that need to be adjusted in accordance with the used plastic, the 3Doodler Create automatically turns off if it heats up.
You might need some time to become familiar with all its features and to really master the process of creating flawless 3D object, but with the 3Doodler this will be fun and enjoyable experience. You can easily load and change different filaments without relying on superb crafting skills.
It comes with easy-to-follow drawing guide and a number of useful additional accessories (changeable nozzle, base, additional pack of 50 ABS/PLA filaments, ambient light bar, etc.).
Last but not least, the brand offers a wide range of materials in over 65 colors (matte, glossy, sparkle, clear…) that can definitely inspire many new and fascinating designs. Of course, you can easily draw both horizontally on paper and vertically off the page or fabric.
But let us mention some of its drawbacks also. You might find the power cord a bit short, especially if you are used to more freedom and flexibility during operation.
Do keep in mind that you can make speed and temperature adjustments, but to prevent any clogging of the pen or feeding issues, you should make sure that you are setting the correct temperature for the chosen material.
7. Coocheer 3D drawing pen – cheap but good quality
Before you make your choice of which pen to purchase, you should also consider the Coocheer 3D drawing pen: it can provide everything that you might need for your creative projects without causing you any financial burden.
The Coocheer pen comes with 3 loops of ABS filament, but it can work with PLA as well.
As a rule, the simpler the filament can be replaced in the pen, the easier it is to draw with that material and the better the results. That is why, it is recommended that you buy material form the company manufacturer of the pen. Thus you will not only avoid jamming, but will really enjoy the process of creating art pieces.
With the Coocheer you have double assurance against jamming which is in the form of well-functioning unclogging mechanism.
In all seriousness, the Coocheer 3D pen offers stellar performance, good speed of extrusion of plastic and different temperature modes. It weights only 65 grams and feels very reliable and durable. The LCD is useful for accurate setting of temperature and speed modes.
While the long cord can bring comfort to the drawing hand, the beautiful design and the 5 different colors in which the Coocheer is available (purple, red, blue, pink, and yellow) can really please the eye.
All in all, apart from some minor subjective flaws like plastic odor that we already discussed in relation to other models, this pen is our most favorite recommendation for anyone looking for a cheaper tool of good quality.
8. CreoPop Cordless 3D Printing Pen – cordless 3d pen
If you are in need of a tool for unique 3D models, you should consider the CreoPop Cordless 3D Printing Pen, which is the first pen that uses fresh ink.
The model clearly demonstrates how the printing industry and more specifically the 3D printing pen as a tool has been changing during the years to meet the users’ needs.
Let’s just consider the convenience of a 3D printing pen without a cord. It can fulfill its purpose as effectively as possible without distracting the craftsperson. For sure, flexibility, durability and portability matter, especially when you building smaller and detailed designs. It is good that the CreoPop has not sacrificed many of the other awesome features for portability and aesthetics.
And yes, aesthetics matter too! But the CreoPop Cordless pen does not lag behind the rest. As a matter of fact, it not only gives true control over the functionality of the pen, but it also looks good.
Moreover, the premium technology of CreoPop includes a rechargeable lithium ion battery, charging cable, bright LED light, etc. The battery can be easily recharged via an AC adapter or a computer USB port. It lasts longer when the pen is set at the lowest speed, which of course is suitable for many artistic designs and a good match for amateurs.
While using the CreoPop Cordless you do not have to worry about any hot parts. That is, it can be a perfect present for a child to draw, create, fix objects.
The key advantage of this 3D pen is that it does not use thermoplastic substances, but it can be filled with light-sensitive photopolymers or inks. For those of you who don’t know, this is a substance that is produced at the tip of the pen and hardens only when it comes into contact with the LED light.
The list of inks that can be used with the CreoPop is quite exhausting: shiny ink, magnetic inks, elastic, edible, aromatic, temperature-sensitive. They come in multiple colors and are all child-friendly, non-toxic and odorless.
As for the limitations of the CreoPop, to be honest there aren’t many that can make you reconsider buying it. Unfortunately, there is no option to reverse plastic, especially if the filament has become too short and if it cannot be pulled back out of the pen. Well, we should also admit that the CreoPop was among the heaviest pen from the ones that we researched and tested, weighting around 4oz.
Because of the nature of the substance, the CreoPop 3D creations do not look as rough as those created with ABS or PLA material. Also, because the pen uses photopolymers, the ink cartridge might also seem a bit more expensive than the regular filament.
Yet, you can enjoy the comfort and safety of using non-toxic materials.
9. Future Make Polyes Q1 – Best 3D Pen for Kids
The next up on our list is the Future Make Polyes Q1. To be very honest, this is the best choice for anyone looking for a pen that is comfortable, easy to control and safe to use. Besides, this is also our top recommendation for children.
As our testing revealed, the Polyes Q1 deserves a place on the best 3D printing pens 2017 list since compared to the previously mentioned models it stands out with a number of well developed inbuilt features.
To begin with, Polyes Q1 works with photopolymer ink. The photopolymer, or the cool ink, is the core reason for labeling this pen as “the safest and most environmentally friendly”. And when feeling secure in your tool, your talent will make your work process smooth and enjoyable.
We highly recommend the Polyes Q1 pen also because of another great feature that it has: the built-in tilt sensor. It allows you to turn off the LED light when the pen is tilted to a minimum angle or when the pen is pointing up towards your face and eyes while using it.
Apart from having a single button for speed control, the pen is comfortable and portable as it is not hooked up to any wires. Obviously, this is an important and very convenient feature that can draw the attention of anyone interested in freedom of movement when crafting.
Besides, the internal battery offers hours of learning and drawing experience. It can be easily recharged via USB connected to your computer.
You can be sure that you can design your artistic models without worrying about melting plastic odor, wires in your working space or any hot parts that may burn your fingers.
On top of that, the manufacturers have thought of and now offer different types of ink that can unleash your creativity and inspire your future models. You can build your creations in temperature color changing ink, glow-in-the-dark ink, transparent, and aromatic ink.
Still, make sure you keep an eye on the tip of the pen and the nozzle so that the ink does not clog it.
10. Magicpen 3D pen V3.0 – ergonomically comfortable and amazing design
The last on our list is the Magicpen V3.0, which does not have any complex features but can be easily mastered by even young children.
The leightweight, pleasant to touch, ergonomic design of the Magicpen ensures that you can draw in great comfort and in a style that is most suitable for you. And when we talk about 3D pens, the ergonomic design can really make a difference while drawing. It is even considered to be a necessity by some artists, because it can significantly affect the quality of your work.
Honestly, the Magicpen is among the best 3D market pens on the market because it offers excellent experience in 3D printing for the set product price.
You can easily regulate the temperature and speed even while modeling, and thus control the size and width of the exerted plastic. Besides, the OLED display can really smooth any designer’s operations. It shows the chosen speed and temperature and the filament that you are working with.
In addition to that, it comes with a short, easy to read operation manual. With or without referring to it, with this model you can become a magician in 3D printing and designs. So, don’t hesitate to put your creative skills into the testing with the Magicpen 3D.
You can really have fun drawing, decorating and building different shapes with the Magicpen. Be careful though. When we tested it, we noticed that it can overheat, which will require you to turn it off for a while completely. Of course, it can also be improved with more detailed instructions especially for the newbies.
In general, the advantages of the pen outnumber its disadvantages. The pen offers amazing quality and great working comfort and is no doubt a great tool.
3D Pen Buyer’s Guide
As you can see from the review above, the primary function of any 3D pen model is to draw 3D objects from scratch, however every brand has a somewhat different approach to achieving this task. When shopping for a 3D pen, here are a few things to consider:
Drawing material used
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) – a plastic filament that requires higher temperatures to melt and tends to shrink when cooling down. Is likely to produce an unpleasant smell of burnt rubber (although not harmful to inhale), therefore good ventilation is required.
PLA (Polylactic Acid) – another popular plastic filament that requires lower temperature to melt, does not shrink when cooled down. Doesn’t smell as bad as ABS, but your artwork is more prone to melting if placed near heat.
Photopolymer inks – cool to touch inks that harden when encounter the UV light coming from built in LEDs located around the nozzle (a processed called curing). This technology is not prone to clogging the pen the way PLA and ABS plastics are. There are no unpleasant smells to deal with and you can’t burn yourself, since there are no heating elements. This drawing method is probably the safest for young kids.
Pen design and functions
Generally, the thinner and lighter a pen is, the easier it is to use for most people, especially children. Please refer to the product comparison chart in the beginning of the article to see how much each pen weights.
Ergonomic designs are popular, however artists experienced in drawing with brushes or pencils may take some time to adjust. The pen design should allow for easy access to LED display and other controls, in case you need to change any of the settings while creating your 3D art. Depending on your proficiency, you may need to adjust filament temperature and speed of extrusion.
Finally, we hope that this information has been valuable to you and that it will help you make a better and more informed decision when purchasing a 3D printing pen.
As you can see, the market is relatively new, but it already boasts a great variety of brands and models. We hope that you find your best 3D pen with the best possible features for your personal needs and goals.
Go, build your toy, product, 3D object or whatever your mind and creativity can cook up. And when you do, please don’t hesitate to share your impressions and experience with us.