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Best 3D Pens Reviewed – For Printing, Painting and Drawing


A few years ago choosing a 3D pen was a simple task. There were only a handful of models on the market, and the pens all performed similarly. Well, in 2018 this is not the case anymore.

When doing a online search for “3D Pen” through Amazon or Ali-Express you will find thousands of options from hundreds of different manufacturers. Many of these pens are no-good, as you will quickly see by reading the product reviews of unsatisfied customers.

Fortunately, we have gone through the trouble of separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. In this review we decided to list the 5 best 3D printing pens which we tested, with a focus on quality, durability, and features.

September 2017: We've added a whole new section to this roundup review, called Cheap 3D Pens, as we decided to review some pens for those shopping on a strict budget.

Best 3D Pens of 2018

In the table below we have reviewed the best  3D drawing pens of 2018. The 5 pens you see in the table below are the cream of the crop; feature loaded and stylish to boot.

Name

Score

Summary

Price

Where to Buy

3d Simo Mini

3D Simo Mini

4.5 out of 5

The best and most versatile 3D pen of 2017

$$$$

lix 3d pen

Lix 3D Pen

4.5 out of 5

Great design, best looking 3D pen

$$$$

3Doodler

3Doodler Create

4 out of 5

The best 3D pen on the market

$$$$

creopop cool 3d pen

Creopop Cold Pen

3.5 out of 5

Best for kids, uses cool ink not hot plastic

$$$$

Mynt Pro 3D Pen

3.5 out of 5

Cheaper, jack of all trades master of none

$$$$

BONUS: Top 5 Cheap 3D Pens for 2017

In this review we not only tested each of the most popular premium 3D printing pens currently on the market but also the best budget picks. Here is our list of 5 value for money picks.

Name

Score

Summary

Price

Where to Buy

AIO Robotics

4 out of 5

The best value for money 3D drawing pen

$$$$

scribbler 3d pen

Scribbler 3D Pen

4 out of 5

Popular choice and great for kids

$$$$

7Tech Printer Pen

3.5 out of 5

Very cheap, lots of features and extras

$$$$

qpau intelligent 3d pen

QPAU 3D Pen

3.5 out of 5

Modern design, supports many plastics

$$$$

Soyan 3D Pen

3 out of 5

Very cheap but not recommended

$$$$

Before we do an in-depth review of each product, it’s important to introduce this fairly new technology properly.

A printing 3D pen can best be described as a bulkier version of an ordinary pen, but its ink consists of plastic. This plastic filament is fed into the pen and melted inside, very similar to how the extruder on a 3D printer works.

This melted plastic is then drawn into a shape, either on a piece of paper, or on top of another shape. This new technology is quickly gaining popularity among artists who want to express their creativity on something other than a piece of paper.

For an introduction to 3D printing check our post How to Use a 3D Pen. 

With some types of plastic you can even draw freehand in the air, and the plastic will cool quick enough so it that keeps its shape. When you’ve mastered this technique you can create functional shapes and art, like the picture of the bag I created below. If you want to see examples please take a look this handbag from my Portfolio.



Although 3D Pens use the same plastic filament as 3D Printers, that’s about where the similarities end! From the picture above you can see that the level of detail and artistic impression of 3D pen art isn't comparable to the 3D models you make with a 3D printer.

With that being said lets move onward to the review process.

How we reviewed


Here’s a list of the categories which we used to evaluate the pens in this review:

Qaulity of Design:

  • Ergonomics: Is the pen stylish and good looking
  • Durability: Does the pen have a plastic or metal casing
  • Weight and size: lighter, smaller pens are easier to paint with

Features:

  • LCD Display: Is the temperature controllable through an LCD screen?
  • Speed Control: Can you adjust the flow speed of the plastic?
  • Extras: Such as addons, mobile app etc

Versatility:

  • Plastic Types: Does the pen only support ABS and PLA, or others like Flex, Nylon etc
  • Power: Does the pen need a plug point or can it work from a USB cable or Powerbank

Value for Money

  • Price: Total cost was one of the key metrics in this review
  • Warranty: Does the manufacturer provide an international warranty?​
  • Reviews: Product reviews on Amazon.com say a lot about quality

For each pen you will see an overall score out of 10. Click on "view all scoring categories" in the drop-down box to see how each pen faired for the categories listed above.

And now without further ado, let’s take a look at Pen&Plastic’s round-up of best 3D printing pens currently on the market.

Our Top 3D Pens for 2017

1. 3D Simo Mini 2


After rigorous testing, the 3D Simo Mini wins our award for the best 3D pen of 2017. We ended up spltting hairs between this and the Lix 3D Pen, but ultimately the modules and mobile app won 1st place for the Mini.

Simo is a European manufacturer of 3D art pens, who ship all over the world, including the USA and Canada.

The 3D Simo range first appeared in a Kickstarter campaign and since then the company has become one of the leading brands in creating quality and reliable 3D printing pens.

The recently launched Simo Mini represents the cutting edge when it comes to 3D Pen technology.

For starters, you should know that it’s not just a 3D printing pen, it comes with a number of attachments that you can use in order to make it multi-purpose. Let’s take a look at the features on offer in this premium package.

3d Simo Mini

Pen and Plastic Rating

"4 modes and a mobile app - the best 3D pen of 2018"

By using the above mentioned mobile app you can activate the correct settings for the type of filament you are using, and you can even watch some helpful tutorial video.

This unique feature, along with rock solid build quality and clever design are what separates the 3D Simo Mini from its rivals and thereby distinguishing itself as the best 3D printing pen for 2017.

If you want to see the 3DSimo Mini in action, take a look at this promotional video, and be sure to check out our full review of the 3D Simo, where we take a closer look at this swiss army knife of 3D pens.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Only pen with 4 different modules
  • Only pen with a Mobile App
  • Can use all types of plastic filaments, including nylon, wood and metal
  • Great ergonomic design
  • Excellent build quality with 1 year warranty included

Cons

  • More expensive than your typical 3D Pen
  • Not suitable for children

2: Lix 3D Art Pen


The Apple iPhone of 3D pens! This sleek looking pen definitely takes the prize in aesthetics category hands down!

Lix, a Belgium manufacturer, took the world by surprise when they announced that they would be creating the world’s smallest 3D printing pen.

Since the start of its production, the Lix 3D printing pen climbed to the very top, and it is not by chance that consumers and critics alike are signing its praises. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a review unit of this amazing 3D printing pen.


Pen and Plastic Rating

"Aluminum finish USB powered
Small, light and stylish
"

The Lix 3D Smart Pen excelled at every test in our lix pen review. The most noticeable aspect of the Lix is the fact that it operates so quietly. You can use this pen in the library without disturbing anyone!

This is not the case with other pens, as the extruder often creates a hum when operating. Not only is it quiet and beautiful, the build quality is top notch, and it works brilliantly on almost all the surfaces we tested in this lix 3d pen review.

The final major selling point of the this pen is that it is cordless, and can be charged via USB cable. This allows you a lot more freedom when drawing free-hand, and you can even use it outdoors.

The only downside to the pen is that you pay for the good looks and excellent build quality. But that being said, should you choose this pen it is money well spent!

Do you want our take on this pocket-sized powerhouse? Take a look at the extensive list of features in the table below.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Extremely quiet compared to rivals
  • 1 year warranty, 30 day return policy

Cons

  • On the expensive side for a 3D Pen
  • Only 2 adjustable heat settings
  • times-circle-o
    No LCD screen for temperature monitoring, only LED indicator

3: 3Doodler Create


3Doodler’s Create takes 3rd place in this 3D pen reivew..how fitting!

If you’ve ever browsed the market to purchase a 3D printing pen you would undoubtedly have come across the 3Doodler series.

The range comes in 3 flavours, namely 3Doodler Create, Starter and Pro. If you’re at a new or intermediate level when it comes to 3D drawing then the Create will not disappoint you.

3Doodler’s Create is a huge upgrade over the previous iterations. Its lighter, extrudes faster and feels more sturdy. This is thanks to the enhanced drive system which also allows for near silent printing.

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Build Quality Dependable brand
50 m of plastic filament included
"

Its rectangular body makes it fairly easy to control. It’s aluminium case gives it an elegant finish and helps to make the 3D pen feel lighter. This pen can definitely compete with the Lixpen when it comes good looks and aesthetics.

In summary, the Create is the most versatile model from 3Doodler. This works well for hobbyists, crafters, artists, and professionals, alike.

It is best for art, DIY projects, scale models and even decorative items. However, due to the lack of LCD screen, we would not recommend it to professional users.

Here is a list of features which help separate the Create from its competitors.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Good quality 3d pen with practical design
  • Has extra tips with different diameters
  • The best customer support, the most well known 3D pen manufacturer
  • 1 Year Guarantee

Cons

  • Only two temperature settings
  • No LCD screen
  • times-circle-o
    Few reported cases of pens malfunctioning after a few hours use

4: CreoPop Cool 3D Cordless Pen


And now for something different. CreoPop is a venture-backed company based in Singapore, and their product might change the future of 3D Pens.

The CreoPop 3D Printing pen makes this list due to its revolutionary capability of printing cold ink which dries quickly when exposed to light. Pretty neat yes?

Well that’s not all, the CreoPop 3D is also a cordless, similar to the Lixpen reviewed earlier.

The benefit being that it’s completely safe for kids to use due to the lack of a hot tip nozzle, and you have much more flexibility and options when you are not limited by a plug and cord!

creopop cool 3d pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Prints with Cold Ink not Plastic!"

The difference between 3D Plastic Pens and Cool Ink Pens

At the start of the 3D pen craze, 3D plastic pens with hot extruders were the only 3D pens available. In September 2015, the 3D Creation Maker was launched, marking the first non-heated 3D pen which could compete with the established brands.

Children will find the Creopop cool 3D pen much safer and easier to use than your standard hot nozzle pen. It is also cordless so that makes it great for youngsters who might want to do some outdoor 3D art. Earlier versions of the Creopop could only print of flat surfaces, as the ink would take a long time to harden.

This was a huge disadvantage as other plastic pens can draw freehand 3D shapes in the air.

Creoprop solved this problem by since developing a pen which uses ink that hardens as quickly as heated plastic does. What was their secret you may ask.. Well, the ink used in the Creopop hardens to light exposure!

In contrast to your standard 3D pen which uses thermoplastics, CreoPop’s product uses cool ink. Lets take a look at this 3D drawing pen’s unique features.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • The best pen for kids
  • The best cold ink 3d pen on the market
  • Safest 3D pen, since no heat is generated
  • Cordless operation, works with battery
  • 1 Year guarantee

Cons

  • The supported ink is currently provided by the manufacturer itself
  • Pricey 
  • times-circle-o
    Plastics like ABS and PLA remains more durable than the cold ink provided

5: Mynt3D Pro Printing Pen


Next up on the list is the MYNT3D’s offering. It is sold by an American retailer and is packed with features considering that it is a reasonably priced 3D printing pen.

This pen sports an ultra-thin design for easier handling, on account of its ergonomic shape and smart design. Similar to the 3Doodler Create, the MYNT3D sports a rectangular body, but the plastic feel is definitely a downgrade from the Doodlers aluminium finish.

Where the MYNT3D has a leg-up over the Doodler is it’s beautiful OLED display helps you monitor the temperature. This pen also comes with adjustable speed control allowing you to fill large areas quickly or slow it down to create a detailed masterpiece.

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Bright OLED temperature display
USB / Powerbank powered
"

MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen is one of the most competitive and reliable products on the market. It is cheap but is packed with impressive features, and a generous helping of sample plastics for your use.

This pen is one of the most competitive and reliable products on the market. It is cheap but is packed with impressive features, and a generous helping of sample plastics for your use.

One thing to note is that one or two consumers have reported the pen not working when they received it, however Mynt3D's pen does come with a 1 year warranty.

This 3D printing pen will enable you to take your innovation to new heights. It is not difficult to use, proficient, and solid, which is why pen makes sits pretty at no.5 on our list.

Listed below are its most impressive features:

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Good all round 3D pen with many features
  • Sleek design with aluminium casing
  • USB powered, can be used with a powerbank
  • Excellent OLED display
  • 1 Year guarantee

Cons

  • Noisy, the high pitched frequency emitted during operation can be irritating
  • Slower extrusion rates than some rivals
  • times-circle-o
    Some dead on arrival complaints from Amazon customers

Bonus Section: Great Cheap 3D Pens

When it comes to buying a budget 3D pen, the options on the market are plentiful. Yet so many of these pens break after a few hours of use, have no warranty, and therefore receive terrible customer reviews.

To help you not fall into this trap, we decided to create a buyer’s guide reviewing the best 3D painting pens on a budget.

1: AIO Robotics Full Metal 3D Pen


Introducing the latest offering from a Californian based 3D printing firm, meet the AIO Robotics Premium 3D Drawing Pen. This pen is aimed towards professionals and teachers who will be using it to draw complex models.

Yet it only retails at around 50 USD…this is why the 3D pen from AIO wins our award for the best cheap option in this 3D pen review.

AIO Robotics’ pen has a stylish look. It’s ultra-slim and has an ergonomic touch that makes it extremely comfortable to grip this pen.It comes with a USB charging port which is awesome since users can use the pen freely without worrying about finding a place to plug it in. Simply use a high speed cellphone charger or a powerbank.

AIO Robotics

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Bright OLED temperature display
USB / Powerbank powered
"

You can charge it anywhere you can plug in a USB charger. It comes with a bright OLED display and you have a variety of compatible plastics to choose from.

This 3D Pen can only be used with PLA and ABS plastics. Please read our post reviewing 3D printing materials if you are uncertain about which plastic to use for your 3D objects.

The offering by AIO Robotics is aimed at precision work. You have complete control on flow and speed of the ink, and you can adjust the temperature in 1-degree increments.As a result, you can control the way this pen draws. It makes your life much easier while crafting compared to 3D drawing pens that give a constant speed and flow. AIO’s pen was one of the best we tested on flat surfaces.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Feature loaded
  • Great at printing on flat surfaces
  • USB charging allows for use of powerbank
  • Metal gives good build quality.
  • Includes 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Couple of reported defects  in customer reviews
  • Awkward placement of buttons
  • times-circle-o
    Not suitable for children

2: Scribbler 3D Pen V3 - Updated Model


Meet the Scribbler V3, and as the name may suggest, it is an updated version of the legacy Scribbler Pen. If you’re in the market for a cheap 3D pen with plenty of features, then the Scribbler V3 is a great option.

This is the newest version from Scribbler and it performed surprisingly well during our testing.This pen was the lightest in the budget 3D drawing pen review, which makes it very easy to draw with.

Furthermore, if you are looking for Scribbler 3D pen filament, then you will be glad to know that it works with both ABS and all types of PLA, but unfortunately not with Flexi or Nylon plastics.

Scribbler 3d printing pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Quick Cleaning Function
Temperature and Speed Regulator
"

This Scribbler does not have any metal parts and comes with a removable nozzle made of ceramics.For ease of use, it also includes an OLED-display that helps you read all the operation mode data clearly.

The heating element is enclosed in a heat-resistant plastic case to keep you from getting burned.You can choose from a wide variety of colors. We definitely give this pen the thumbs up if you want to buy it for your kids. Scribbler has taken a huge step forward with the Version 3 model.

As you can see from our Scribbler 3d pen V3 review, it's packed with features. It is easy to use, very versatile yet at an affordable price. We didn’t hesitate to award this pen as the runner up for the cheap 3D pen category.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • It can print with wood, metal and other infused plastics
  • Kid friendly
  • This pen has good, bright LCD screen
  • Quick adjustable speed control
  • Quick cleaning function

Cons

  • Bulky and clunky, especially when compared to Lixpen
  • Guarantee just for 180 days

3: 7TECH 3D Printing Pen


As we move on through the Chinese manufacturers on the list here is another 3D Pen which delivers. This 3D pen by 7TECH is a quality offering and together with its excellent customer reviews we decided that it deserves 3rd place on our list.We found the 7TECH’s design very similar to the Soyan 3D printing pen in size and shape.

We mention later that the Soyan is similar to this pen, and this seems to be a pattern with the Chinese manufacturers.What sets this apart from the Soyan is it has an LCD screen which shows temperature.At first glance this pen looks bulky, but it turns out to fit comfortably in our hands, it’s also quite light.

7tech printing pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Very Cheap 3D Pen
Advanced Nozzle Technology
"

It includes temperature and speed control for ease of use. In addition to this, it supports both PLA and ABS filament.

In general, this Pen was designed for easy of use. It is OK for youngsters 8 years of age, and an aluminium spatula protects little fingers from the hot nozzle. The 7TECH 3D Drawing Pen is packed full of features and product reviews are excellent.Combined with the warranty 7TECH’s offering passes our review with flying colors.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • LCD Screen
  • Easy to use, great for kids due to nozzle design
  • Step-less speed control
  • Anti clog and anti jamming technology
  • 1 Year warranty
  • check-circle-o
    Possible to buy(and change) an extra nozzle

Cons

  • Cheap design, plastic body 

4: QPAU Intelligent 3D Art Pen


Our top choice when shopping on a very strict budget is the QPAU Intelligent 3D Pen.

When you factor in that this is one of the most affordable 3D printing pens on the market, and has the versatility to work with QPAU's wide range of filaments, then the QPAU Intelligent 3D Pen. screams value for money. 

This pen is really all you need to get started in the 3D drawing world. It has a comfortable design, an LCD screen which allows you to adjust the temperature of the extruder, this is especially important if you plan to use different types of plastic.

It is also easy to use for beginners, but has enough options to satisfy someone who is experienced in 3D printing.

The current offer (as of 2017) allows you to pay an extra 15 USD for 20 pieces of extra filament.

intelligent 3d pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Clear LCD Screen
Can use special plastic filaments
"

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • OLED display
  • Budget friendly
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Comfortable design

Cons

  • Too big for some users
  • Slightly noisy

5: Soyan Standard 3D Printing Pen


 Soyan is a Chinese manufacturer and this is their latest model. You will find that many of the Chinese manufacturers opted for a similar design, shape and button placement. Coincidence, unlikely!

Nevertheless, this is one of the cheapest 3D pens you can currently buy and is suitable for beginner to intermediate level 3D drawing.

The Soyan 3D printing pen closely resembles the model from 7TECH in terms of its shape and design.It’s available in a variety of colors , blue and yellow being our favorite.

As an added extra, the pen comes with filament in various colors.Although a little bit bulky, it has a round shape that fits comfortably in your hand.

Like the model from 7TECH, it has an LCD display. So when using different types of plastic, it can be adjusted via this LCD for precise temperature control.

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Cheapest of all pens tested
Comes with step-less speed control
"

Soyan does not offer a guarantee for their pen.

This device is perfect for teenagers and adults who want to enjoy the art of 3D printing. It is very affordable too, however, some sacrifices were made to achieve this low price, and this is reflected in our scoring of the pen.

Soyan’s pen is of the cheapest that you can find on the market today, with some nice added extras included in the bundle. We summarized the features on offer below.

Pros

  • Anti clog and anti jamming technology
  • Good for beginners and easy to use
  • Cheap

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Works just with ABS and PLA

Conclusion

Well there you have it, the top 5 3D pens for 2017, as well as our top 5 cheap budget picks. To summarize, we recommend either the 3D Simo Mini (best all-rounder) or the Lix 3D Pen (best design) if you have more than $100  to spend. If your budget is tight then go with the AIO Robotics 3D Pen for around $50.

Remember to choose the correct plastic, if you are uncertain about the properties of different plastics and what they can be used for then go to our 3D printing filament review.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, leave us a comment below and remember to share this post with your friends by clicking one of the handy social media sharing buttons, or simply head back to our homepage.

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The Best 3D Printing Pens for Kids – Our 2018 Review

Before we start, lets get one thing straight...your typical 3D pen is not a toy.

Many parents make this mistake and purchase a standard 3D pen for their child, then discover that the heated metal nozzle reaches 392°F (200°C) when melting the thermoplastic...

Do you allow your kid to play with a iron? No. So you should not buy your child a typical 3D pen. Fortunately there are many pens which do not use this hot extruder technology, and these are the 3D pens which I will be looking at in this review. 

So with that disclaimer out of the way, lets dive right in.

3D Pens are an amazing new invention which use the same technologies like 3D printing to offer you fun and unique creative tool. They're used by artists, craft hobbyists, and children to create all kinds of amazing three-dimensional objects.

This butterfly I painted nicely demonstrates the Sort of cool sculpture that is possible:

butterfly drawn with 3d pen

Also as for artistic creations, I like to use a 3D pen alongside my desktop 3D printer as it can be utilized as a hot glue gun to bond components together using the same thermoplastics which the 3D printer uses.

The technique described above allows you to create seamless, invisible bonds having the same strength as the individual pieces. You can quickly fix broken or neglected 3D prints effortlessly.

If you would like to learn more about how to use a 3D pen, then read my step-by-step guide which has a fun instructional video included.

Which 3D printing pen is the best for my child?

That is what I'm are going to answer in this review! There are well over 100 3D Pen models available at the moment so picking the best isn't an easy task, especially if you are looking for the best 3D pen for your kids!

To assist you, I narrowed down the options available to my four favorites, based on my experiences using 3D Pens and user reviews and opinions. These pens are awesome and completely safe for your kids to use.

Best 4 3D Pens for Kids


In the table below I have listed the Pen and Plastic top 4 3D pens for children.

Name

Score

Summary

Price

Where to Buy

3D Simo Basic

4.5 out of 5

The best 3D pen in test, with the best Christmas Bundle!

$$$$

3doodler start

3Doodler Start

4.5 out of 5

Cheap and popular 3D pen for kids, value for money

$$$$

Scribbler V3

4 out of 5

Comes in 7 different colors, with 30 ft of PLA

$$$$

Mynt3D Printing Pen

3.5 out of 5

Cheap, jack of all trades but master of none

$$$$

How Do These 3D Pens Work?

3D pens let you to draw real-life three-dimensional objects. As you draw a line, rather than ink, a thin line of melted plastic comes out. Similar to 3D printing, you can build up layers on top of one another to form a three-dimensional drawing.

There are four types of 3D Pens:

1. FDM - Suitable for: Older Kids and Teens

The first is named FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling, which is the same procedure which most home 3D printers use. A thread or filament of ABS or PLA plastic is fed into a heated nozzle which melts it. 

NOTE: This heated nozzle is not safe for children under the age of 8

This is the only sort of 3D pen where you can draw a line completely vertically, i.e., a real 3D pen. 

lixpen drawing in air

As you can see, the plastic sets almost the minute it comes from the pen. All other kinds of 3D pens need 5 to 10 minutes before the plastic sets strong, meaning 3D structures would bend and deflect.

2. Low Temperature -- Suitable for Younger Children

The next and latest type is the same technology as FDM but utilizes a different sort of plastic that melts at a much lower temperature. This gives you something near the quality and ease of use as conventional FDM but at completely child safe temperatures. The video below shows how this is done.

3. Cool Ink with Inner UV -- Suitable for Children of all Ages


The third kind is a cold process that makes it particularly appropriate for young kids to use. A liquid plastic is fed through the pen’s nozzle at the end of the pen which solidifies the liquid ink using UV light. The Creopop Cool 3D printing pen falls under this category.This is a similar procedure to SLA Resin 3D printers.

creopop internal

4. Cool Ink with External UV -- Suitable for Young Children

The final type again employs a cool ink process, but the ink is treated in another UV chamber. This restricts you to making simpler designs as the ink stays in its liquid state until it enters this chamber. Appropriate 3D shapes are only possible if you utilize molds that are included with the pen. 

How are 3D Drawing Pens different to 3D printers?

3D pens are a lot more versatile than 3D printers. Having a 3D printer, you need to have thought about and designed your object before you begin making it. Using a 3D printer also requires some kind of CAD drawing skills. Typically children do not have the time or patience to learn how to use such complicated software tools.

Using a 3D Printing Pen, however, you may simply begin drawing straight away. This immediacy makes 3D Pens ideal for younger kids, who may not have the patience to use a 3D Printer. It might also be regarded as a more artistic or creative hobby rather than 3D printing that's more analytical.

Hopefully you now know enough about 3D pens to make an educated decision when it comes to buying a pen for your youngster. Before we dive into our review, lets take a look at the review criteria we used to grade these pens.

Review Criteria:


Here’s a list of the categories which I  used to evaluate the 3d printing pens in this review:

Qaulity of Design:

  • Ergonomics: Is the pen cleverly designed without sharp edges
  • Durability: Will the pen survive being dropped or being used incorrectly
  • Weight and size: lighter, smaller pens are easier to paint with

Features:

  • LCD Display: Is the temperature controllable through an LCD screen?
  • Speed Control: Can you adjust the flow speed of the plastic?
  • Extras: Such as addons, mobile app etc

Safe for Kids:

  • Plastic Types: Does the pen use a safe type of plastic that won't burn the little hands of the user, is the plastics used non-toxic
  • Extruder temperature: Is the extruder cool to the touch
  • Power: Does the pen need a plug point or can it be used cordlessly

Value for Money

  • Price: We want to make sure you get the most value for your money
  • Warranty: Does the manufacturer provide a guarantee?
  • Reviews: Product reviews on Amazon.com say a lot about quality

For each pen you will see an overall score out of 10. Click on "view all scoring categories" in the drop-down box to see how each pen fared for the categories listed above.

And now , let’s take a look at Pen and Plastic’s list of the best 3D printing pens for children!

1: 3DSimo Basic


3D Simo is a Czech manufacturer of 3D pens, who burst on to the scene in early 2016 through a Kickstarter campaign. The Basic is their first 3D pen specifically designed for children.

They are clearly looking to take a sizable chunk of the market giant, 3Doodler with this more affordable and simpler version of their premium 3D Simo Mini 2. Why did this pen make no.1 on our list?

Well, the answer is simple. The Christmas deal  they are currently offering includes pretty much everything a beginner would ever need to develop as a skilled 3D painter. 

3D simo basic

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Wireless with rechargeable battery Suitable for kids of 8+ years"

As you could see from the video, this is not just a 3D printing pen, it comes with a number of attachments that you can use in order to make it multi-purpose. 

By using the above mentioned mobile app you can activate the correct settings for the type of filament you are using, and you can even watch some helpful tutorial video.

This unique feature, along with rock solid build quality and clever design are what separates the 3D Simo Mini from its rivals and thereby distinguishing itself as the best 3D printing pen for 2018.

If you want to see the 3DSimo Mini in action, take a look at this promotional video, and be sure to check out our full review of the 3D Simo, where we take a closer look at this swiss army knife of 3D pens.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • USB Rechargeable Battery
  • Non-toxic Filament
  • Comfortable design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Delivery issues

The Verdict

If you can afford the premium price tag, then you are in luck since the  3D Simo Basic is head and shoulders above the competition in this review.

The amazing bundle, excellent battery and premium design makes this the best 3d pen for your kid.

With the value you are currently getting from their Christmas Bundle, it would be a crime not to award this pen the top spot in our review. Hurry up and get it before the price goes back to the original amount.

2: 3Doodler Start


3Doodler has been around since the start of the 3D pen craze and had one of the first 3D pens on the market. Now they have added a low-temperature, child-friendly alternative for their range with the Start.

3Doodler uses a distinctive biodegradable plastic printing material that melts at a far lower temperature than the more commonly used PLA plastic. This also means that the pen doesn’t get too hot to touch, which makes it perfectly safe for kids to use while retaining the advantages of precision and control you get with the FDM process.

3doodler start

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Completely child-safe 3d pen
3D A
rt made easy for kids"

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • USB Rechargeable Battery
  • No Heat
  • Eco-Plastic Filament
  • Very Good Design

Cons

  • Short Filament
  • Speed

The Verdict

The 3Doodler Start is an excellent 3D drawing pen for children. I have found it to be very dependable and simple to use.

The lack of a power cable and short filaments make it very simple for even young children to use without becoming frustrated.

It came completely ready to go straight from the box; even the battery was fully charged!

Pen and Plastic Tip:

If you purchase the 3Doodler from Amazon, it comes in a smaller "e-commerce" box that's significantly easier to store away compared to the huge box that is available in retail shops.

3: Scribbler V3 3D Pen for Kids


Meet the Scribbler V3, and as it's name may suggest, it's an updated version of this original Scribbler Pen.  If you are in the market for an inexpensive 3D pen with loads of features, then the Scribbler V3 is an excellent option.

This is the most recent version from Scribbler, and it performed amazingly well during our testing. This pen was also the lightest at the 3D printing pen review, making it very easy to draw with.

Furthermore, if you're seeking Scribbler 3D pen filament, then you'll be happy to know that it works with both ABS and all kinds of PLA, but sadly not with Flexi or Nylon plastics.

Scribbler 3d printing pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Quick Cleaning Function
Temperature and Speed Regulation
"

Scribbler V3 is an FDM 3D Pen which provides some excellent features while being aimed squarely at younger kids with a bright, fun look.

The latest in the popular Scribbler range, the V3 now includes a six-speed adjustment and a large OLED display that lift it up to compete with the premium 3D Pens on the market

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Appearance
  • Temperature Control
  • Six Speed Control
  • Bundled Extras

Cons

  • Uses a plug in power cord
  • Build quality not as great as competitors
  • times-circle-o
    Not as safe for kids as other pens

The Verdict

Scribbler has taken a massive step forward with the Version 3 version. As you can see from our Scribbler 3D printing pen review, it is packed with features.

It's simple to use, very versatile yet at a reasonable price. We did not hesitate to award this pen as the runner-up in this review.

Note: This is still a hot-tip 3d pen which uses thermoplastics, therefore e recommend this pen for children over the age of 8.

4: Mynt3D Printing Pen 


Last on the list is  MYNT3D's offering. It is sold by an American manufacturer and is packed with features considering that it is a reasonably priced 3D drawing pen.

This pen sports an ultra-thin design for easier handling, due to its ergonomic shape and smart design.

Where the MYNT3D has a leg-up over the Doodler is it's beautiful OLED display helps you monitor the temperature. This pen also includes adjustable speed control allowing you to fill large areas quickly or slow it down to create a detailed masterpiece.

This 3D pen is among the very competitive and reliable products available on the market. It's cheap but is packed with impressive features, and also a generous helping of sample plastics for you or your children's use.

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Bright OLED temperature display USB / Powerbank powered"

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Speed Control
  • Temperature Control
  • OLED Display
  • Terrific Design Features
  • Works with USB power source
  • check-circle-o
    Auto-power-off function

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Slow extrusion rate
  • times-circle-o
    Quality

The Verdict

The Mynt3D is an excellent 3D pen that's very very tough to fault. It has about all of the features you could ask for, is an amazing option of 3D Pen for older kids.

I loved its ergonomic design and user-friendliness. It includes premium features like an OLED display and variable temperature control. 

We do not recommend it for younger kids (under the age of 8) as it is still a FDM pen with a hot tip extruder.

Bonus:
CreoPop Cool 3D Cordless Pen


And now for something different. CreoPop is a venture-backed firm based in Singapore, and their product might alter the future of 3D Pens.

The CreoPop 3D drawing pen makes this list because of the revolutionary capability of printing chilly ink that dries quickly when exposed to light. Pretty neat yes?

Well, that is not all, the CreoPop 3D is also a cordless, like the Lixpen reviewed in our best 3d pens review.

The advantage being that it is completely safe for children to use as a result of absence of a hot tip nozzle, and you have a great deal more flexibility and choices when you aren't confined by a cable and plug!

creopop cool 3d pen

Pen and Plastic Rating

"Prints with Cold Ink not Plastic!
Child Friendly - No hot parts
"

The difference between thermoplastic and cool ink pens


At the beginning of the 3D pen trend, 3D plastic pens with hot extruders were the only 3D pens available. In September 2015, the 3D Creation Maker was started, marking the first non-heated 3D pen that could compete with the established brands.

Children will find the Creopop cool 3D pen much safer and easier to use than your standard hot nozzle pen. It's also cordless so making it great for kids who may want to do some outside 3D art. Earlier versions of this Creopop could only print on horizontal surfaces, since the ink would have a very long time to harden.

This was a massive drawback as other plastic pens can draw freehand 3D shapes in the atmosphere.

Creoprop solved this problem by since creating a pen which uses ink which hardens as rapidly as heated plastic does. What was their secret you may ask... Well, the ink used in the Creopop hardens to light exposure!

In contrast to your normal 3D printing pen which uses thermoplastics, CreoPop's product utilizes cool ink. Let us take a look at this 3D pen's unique capabilities.

Click for the List of Features

Pros

  • Safest 3D pen to use
  • No bad or toxic odors
  • Ergonomic design
  • Environmentally friendly
  • 1 Year warranty
  • check-circle-o
    3 ink cartridges included

Cons

  • Currently not available on Amazon
  • Availability of ink cartridges
  • times-circle-o
    Relatively expensive
  • times-circle-o
    Durability

The Verdict

The Creopop offers a different take by allowing you to print with inks that can create 3D objects. This cold 3D drawing technology is especially well suited for kids.

If you want to ensure the safety of your young ones while they get creative, we wholeheartedly recommend the Creopop Cool 3D pen!

Conclusion

Well there you have it, the best 3D pens for your kids reviewed by yours truly.

To summarize, we recommend the 3D Simo Basic (current best price), or if your budget is tight, the 3Doodler Start (best price on Amazon).

For older kids, the Mynt3D or the Scribbler is a great buy, but then again I rather consider looking at the Lixpen or 3D Simo Mini 2, see our top 10 3D pen review for more info on these pens.

Still undecided? Then head to our 3D pen landing page, which has every article and review we have ever written nearly summarized on one page. 

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, leave us a comment below and remember to share this post with your friends by clicking one of the handy social media sharing buttons. 

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3D Simo Mini: New Generation of 3D Pens

Specifications


Functions: 3d pen, foam cutting, soldering, burning on wood and leather
 
Additional features: Exchangeable tips (Nozzles for different types of work), LED display, controls for choosing material and temperature, App for controlling functions, USB mini, Magnetic connectors for connecting powerpack (possibility to work without cable)

Software: 3D Simo mobile app for Android, Windows and iOS

Materials:  All available kinds of filaments can be used (ABS, PLA, Wood, Flex, Metal, Carbon, HIPs etc)

Maximum temperature: Possible to adjust up to 490 С

Weight and Dimensions: 40 g and 163 mm x 36 mm x 22 mm

Restrictions: Children under the age of 8 years only under the supervision of adults

3D Simo mini is more than just a 3D pen

3Dsimo is a new generation of 3D pen that, thanks to the variety of thermoplastic materials available, provides an enormous potential for your creativity.

This new tool is very special because of its functions.The nozzles separate the 3D Simo Mini from the rest of the 3D pens, expanding the scope of the device. You can visit the 3D Simo's site here.

You are able to create models that glow in the dark, or change colour depending on the temperature. Draw directly in the air, not limiting yourself to a two-dimensional space.

3Dsimo is the world's first pen that can select and change print settings in the App. All settings and parameters are shown on display.

Also, it is possible to pre-create profile settings for a particular material.The choice of temperature and the speed of thermoplastic production opens unprecedented opportunities for creativity. You can choose from the following materials: ABS plastic, PLA plastic, WOOD plastic, HIPS plastic, fluorescent plastic, flexible plastic and many others. If you want to learn more about these types of plastic please read our post discussing 3D printing materials.

Together with the possibility to set the temperature, you can achieve the necessary speed for the material and even draw in the air. It is also possible to change the display language of the settings and the display back-light.

Proper use of the settings will allow you to achieve the appropriate drawing methods. All materials such as Nylon and ABS, PLA, PVA thermoplastic are not dangerous and not toxic. Of these materials are many children's toys, designers, kitchen utensils, textiles. The plastic is in a liquid state for a very short period of time and then hardens. 

With the help of attachments you can:

Draw

Drawing with this pen is just a pleasure. It melts plastic evenly and that what makes easier creating beautiful and neat drawings. My favourite part of this new device is a variety of materials which you can use with it. A drawing mat which goes in the set is also an excellent base you can use for drawing with your 3D pen.

Cut

The cutting tool is quite unusual, and at first, it feels like you do not nor what you actually can do with it. You will be surprised, but there are many different ideas can be realised with this cutting tool and a piece of foam. With this tool, you can make 3d letters, numbers and other objects (like stars and geometrical figures). Just paint it afterwards with spray paint, and you will have cool decorations for your home or party. If you happen to be more skilled, you can create sculptures and experiment with this tool.

Burn

With the burning tool, you can decorate surfaces like wood or materials like leather by burning onto the surface. It gives you the possibility to decorate old shoes, leather jackets or even wooden furniture which have become bored off. Remember, the longer you apply heat to the surface, the darker it will become.

Solder

The 3D Simo Mini has a soldering tool which works just as well good as a conventional soldering iron. You can use this tool to melt solder and complete connections in your electrical circuits. You can also use this tool to make adjustments to your 3D drawings and sculptures as it can melt and re-mold the plastic.

The device is powered by a power supply, but it is possible to use a powerpack which can be included in your set. You only need a few minutes to practice with the settings and techniques of movements, and you can start creating. In addition to the device itself, there are 15 meters of various thermoplastic, in the form of coils of 2.5 meters each. 

Materials for 3D drawing

ABS

It is used for drawing in the air and creating strong, durable products and has the greatest temperature resistance. Resistant to various weather conditions and temperature changes.

PLA
An environmentally friendly material is made from corn starch, ideally suited for creating final product details. The material eventually decomposes naturally. PET Transparent material, respectively to create transparent details and even vases.

THERMOCHROMIC

Thermochromic plastic, which changes colour according to temperature. Suitable for creating various kinds of ornaments or hidden messages.

FLEXI
 
Flexible material, similar to rubber. Used to create key's chains, cases for phones, bracelets, bags and wearable art. More examples you can see in the article "3d creations" and in my portfolio.

Final Thoughts

If you want to read our full review comparing the top 3D pens against each other, including the 3D Simo's main competitor, the Lix 3D Pen. And if this pen is too expensive for you then you can take a look at our budget 3D pen review as well.

As usual, let us know what you think about the new 3D Simo Mini in the comment section below! 

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3D Printer Filament Review – Top Ten Types of Printing Materials

We know choosing the right filament isn’t easy. Each plastic behaves differently and if you’re not careful you can clog your 3D printer. Don't despair though, help is at hand!  

Type of plastic filament

Properties


Extruder Temp/ Bed Temp

Ventilate when printng?

See Lowest Price

Odorless, low-warp, eco-friendly, less heat required

205±15 °C /50±10 °C

Yes

Durable, can be used outdoors. Easy to print with and strong

230±10 °C /100±15 °C

No

Extremely strong, lightweight, durable, flexible, wear-resistant

255±15 °C /70±10 °C

No

Colorless, FDA approved, recyclable, strong and flexible

245±10 °C /60±10 °C

Yes

Versatility, real wood scent, durable, contains real wood fibers

210±15 °C /50±10 °C

Yes

Flexible, smooth , non -toxic, abrasion resistant,

250±5 °C /90±5 °C

Yes

Biodegradable, great 3D support material, low-cost

230±10 °C /50±10 °C

No

Very low warping, Not Soluble, Conductive

245±20 °C /100±10 °C

Yes

Highly durable, not soluble, shiny finish like real metal

210±10 °C /50±10 °C

Yes

Highly durable, rusty look, magnetic properties

200±10 °C /50±10 °C

Yes

Are you the proud new owner of a 3D printing device and you're baffled by the crazy amount of plastics on the market? Wood, metal, PLA, ABS, the options are endless.

Gone are the days where creating detailed plastic objects could only be done by huge plastic printers in factories. 3D Printers and 3D Pens have been on the market for a while now, and you can pick a 3D pen up for as little as $30, and a 3D printer for around $200.

We assume that the reason why you've landed on this page is because you have already bought a printer or pen (if not check out our in depth 3D Pen review), and now you are lost in the sea of possible 3D printer filaments available.

Fortunately, we at Pen&Plastic are here to help you pick the correct 3D printing materials for the job.

What we have done in this buyers guide is review the top 10 most popular types of filaments, giving you a list of each plastic's unique features, available colors, printing temperatures as well as suggested uses.

What materials are used in 3D printing?

In short, 3D printer material is a strand of plastic, usually 1.75 mm or 3 mm in diameter, which can be used in either a 3D pen or printer. When it comes to 3D printing, whether it be with a 3D pen or printer,the two most common filament types are ABS and PLA.

Both are thermoplastics, which means that they become malleable when heated. In this way, you can use the heated plastic to create any shapes you want, and then let them cool down to preserve your shape permanently.

We have a dedicated post where we performed a in-depth PLA vs ABS plastic comparison, so follow the link if you are only interested in those plastics.

There are so many other filament options available it will make your head spin, and most of them are compatible with 3D pens as well.

Here's an example:

Since you are able to infuse PLA with a variety of elements, there are tons of different options available which we will discuss in this roundup... including wood 3D printer filament!

The picture below shows how the guys from Yolo3D used a model of Groot, (from Guardians of the Galaxy) and wood 3D printing material to create this awesome sculpture.

Groot Sculpture CAD model
Groot Sculpture printed

Groot, in all of his wooden glory

Important checklist before you start 3D printing

  • check
    The temperatures in the table below are typical values, always use the manufacturers recommendation
  • check
    No matter what the plastic, always keep it in a closed bag, especially if you live in a humid area​​​​
  • check
    Once the plastic absorbs moisture and their characteristics will change
  • check
    Always do a small printing test to see how the plastic is behaving  to your speed and temperature settings
  • check
    3D Pens​​​​ cannot work with flexible plastics like TPE
  • check
    Most 3D pens are also limited to an extrusion temperature of 235°C

Enough preamble, lets jump right into the detailed reviews for each type of 3D printer filament in this roundup.

1. PLA (Polylactic Acid)

Colors: Big palette available
Extruder temperature: 205±15 °C
Bed temperature: 50±10 °C
Ventilation: Closed or open printer
Bed Adhesion: BCP Kapton Tape

PLA

Overview

Along with ABS, PLA (Polylactic Acid) are the two most plastics used in 3D printing and drawing. Check out our post on PLA vs ABS for an in-depth look at the pros and cons of using these materials.

If you are new to the 3D printing world, we would recommend this whether you use 3D pens or printers. PLA is low-warp and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

As an added bonus PLA is made up from renewable biodegradables such as sugarcane, grain crops, corn starch, and soybean making it eco-friendly. It is by far the safest 3D filament to use with 3D pens for kids.

When it melts the smell is completely absent, or there is a slight sweetish smell similar to the smell of corn or honey.  

PLA is dissolved in dichloromethane.

The downside of PLA's eco-friendliness is that it's biodegradable. So don't expect your PLA creations to last for very long if you leave them exposed to the elements! 

List of features

PLA plastic can be found pretty much everywhere, grocery bags, wrappers for candy, food containers and other everyday applications.

⦁ PLA is used for almost anything, although cases, toys and models are most common.
⦁ PLA filament is one of the more  brittle and stiff 3D printing materials.
⦁ PLA is based on natural materials
⦁ It gives high quality and strength when used correctly
⦁ It is biodegradable in an aggressive environment

Advantages when using PLA

⦁ PLA plastic is convenient and easy to print with
⦁ High tackiness allows you to paint on surfaces like glass, ceramics and metal
⦁ Many options for colors, including translucent and glow-in-the-dark
⦁ Increased fluidity provides better cohesion between layers, thus improving durability
⦁ No odor when melting the plastic

Disadvantages when using PLA

⦁ More difficult to use it for connecting different elements
⦁ PLA is a bit harder to grind and handle compared to ABS
⦁ It reacts to moisture, which can cause nozzle clogging, discoloration and deterioration
⦁ PLA disintegrates and after 1 year of exposure, you see separation between layers
⦁ Drying it in a oven at 50-60 °C may change the degree of crystallization (more brittle)

2. ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

Colors: Most primary colors
Extruder temperature:230±10 °C
Bed temperature: 100±15 °C 
Ventilation: Only closed printer
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape 

ABS

Overview

ABS is the most commonly used 3D printing material.

Parts made from ABS are durable and able to withstand higher temperatures. In comparison to PLA filament, ABS can be described as more supple and less brittle.

It is also non-biodegradable

If you treat ABS with acetone it will get a glossy finish. While printing with ABS filament, you must use a heated surface, as ABS plastic will contract if it touches a cold surface, and the plastic will warp.

Unlike PLA, which is odorless when heated, ABS let’s off the distinct smell of burning plastic when heated.

List of features

⦁ ABS filament is flexible, malleable, strong with wear resistance
⦁ Able to tolerate higher temperatures.
⦁ Commonly used for interlocking parts like belt buckles, gears, cups or outdoors plastic.
⦁ The fumes emitted by ABS is semi-toxic, therefore a closed printer is recommended
⦁ ABS dissolves in acetone, which allows you to create a smooth surface finish
⦁ Natural ABS has a beige (milky) hue before painting.
⦁ Low stickiness, but sufficient for drawing on paper.
⦁ If you use a hair spray, you can draw on other surfaces.

Advantages when using ABS

The most popular, and perhaps the best 3D printing material.
⦁  Hard, shock-resistant and at the same time it is resistant to slight bending.
⦁ Low stickiness
⦁ Painted with ABS plastic often has a glossy surface.
⦁ Can be recycled as normal plastic.
⦁ Plastic ABS makes it easy to create elements of various connections and fasteners.
⦁ It is easily ground and processed
⦁ ABS is easily dried with warm (preferably dry) air, for example, in an electric oven at a         temperature of 70 degrees.

Disadvantages when using ABS

⦁ Oil based, toxic when exposed to high temperatures (400°C).
⦁ When printing ABS, there is often a strong smell of hot plastic.
⦁ To reduce odor, adequate ventilation should be provided in small rooms.
⦁ It is more vulnerable to overheating during operation.
⦁ Wet ABS during painting can begin to bubble and splatter, which will affect the appearance, accuracy and strength of the resulting object.

3. Nylon (Polyamide)

Colors: Large palette available 
Extruder temperature:255±15 °C
Bed temperature: 115±5 °C
Ventilation:Only closed printer 
Bed Adhesion: PVA-Based Glue

nylon

Overview

Nylon, sometimes referred to as PA in the 3D printing world, is perhaps the strongest and most durable of the printing materials.

The thin strands of nylon adhere and give nylon great strength.This is why you will typically see it used for hinges or other high strength parts.

Nylon filament prints naturally as a clear white colour and can absorb acid-based clothing dyes or synthetic cloth specific dyes allowing for a large color palette.

Nylon loves to absorb water (most hydrophillic plastic), which is not good news for your 3D prints.Therefore make sure you store it in a dry place.

Nylon should be printed in a closed printer with no ventilation.

List of features

⦁ Nylon becomes strong (yet flexible) after printing, making it hard to shatter or break
⦁ Commonly used for high strength parts such as hinges
⦁ Must be kept dry, extremely hydrophillic
⦁ Only use it for 3D printing, cannot be used with 3D Pen
⦁ After printing it can withstand heat of up to 140°C, and used as a thermo-insulator

4. PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)

Colors: Large palette available 
Extruder temperature:245±10 °C
Bed temperature: 60±10 °C
Ventilation:Open or closed printer
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape

PET

Overview

PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) is difficult to find in its pure form, as most PET plastics tend to be co-polymers.

PETG filament is the most commonly found, the G means it has glycol modification is an industrial strength filament with several great features.

PET is available in any color as it mixes with most dyes.

PET(G) really provides the best of both worlds, this filament gives you the durabilty and resiliance of ABS, along with the the compatibility and practicality of PLA.

Thus, you get a plastic thats stronger and more durable than PLA, but with none of the health drawbacks of ABS, it is even FDA approved and can be used for lunch boxes or other food containers.

Unlike ABS filament, it barely warps, and produces no odors or fumes when printed. PET(G) plastic is 100% recyclable but not biodegradable.

All of the above features makes this one of the best bridging 3D printer materials available.

List of features

⦁ PET(G) filament is a durable and wear resistant 3D printing material
⦁ PETG has industrial strength capabilities
⦁ It is extremely impact resistant
⦁ It has a glossy finish
⦁ PET(G) serves as a good dielectric
⦁ Best used for bridging materials or as mechanical part
⦁ Adheres very well to blue painter's tape

5. Wood 3D Printer Filament

Colors: Dark/light with wood texture
Extruder temperature:210±15 °C
Bed temperature: 50±10 °C
Ventilation:Open or closed printer
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape

wood 3d printer filament

Overview

Wood 3D printing material gives your 3D printed objects that natural fiberboard look and feel.

The object which you print is imbued with the similar attributes to normal wood, meaning you can sand, cut or paint it like you would with a piece of timber.

As you read this review you will notice a pattern, all plastics imbued with wood, metal or other properties have PLA as their base.

Wood is no different. PLA makes this compound compatible with 3D printers and some 3D pens, while the other element (wood in this case) imbues properties that you would only find in nature.

Note that you should be careful when using these organic fill-ins, a high temperature can cause the wood to burn giving you a blackened print.

It’s important that you remove the plastic from the extruder before it burns and clogs it.

After you have finished printing your Wood PLA object, you can paint it with acrylic, or even varnish it, like a real piece of furniture!

List of features

⦁ Looks simlar to wood and has the same texture but prints like PLA
⦁ Best used for wooden imitations
⦁ Too hot extruder temperature will burn the wood, if you want it darker bring the heat!
⦁ Very resilient to water
⦁ Can be sanded, varnished and painted real wood

6. TPE/TPU (Thermoplastic Elastomer)

Colors: Few color options
Extruder temperature:220±10 °C
Bed temperature: 30±10 °C
Ventilation:Open or closed printer
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape

TPE

Overview

TPE and TPU is one of the more flexible 3D printing materials. TPE/TPU filament is mostly used for parts that need to flex or bend, such as springs and belts found in the automotive industry. If you have a phone cover it’s probably made from TPE.

This is an highly flexible 3D printing material will allow you to create objects which have the typical characteristics of a plastic ruler, soft and flexible.


As we mention above, this 3D printer filament has the tendency to jam and therefore you need to use slow printing speeds to prevent this from happening.

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is the newer version of TPE and has some advantages over its sibling. It is more resistant to abrasion, and can be used with a wider range of 3D printers as it is slightly more rigid.

TPE/TPU cannot be used with 3D pens as it is too flexible and will jam inside the pen.

List of features

⦁ Non-toxic and completely safe for kid's toys
⦁ Layer to layer adhesion is excellent
⦁ TPE/TPU filament creates elastic and flexible parts
⦁ It is impact resistant
⦁ Best used for rulers, phone cases, automotive parts

7. Metal Infused PLA

Colors: Silver, Aluminum, Copper, Brass
Extruder temperature:210±10 °C
Bed temperature: 50±10 °C
Ventilation:Open or closed printer
Bed Adhesion: Glass

metal infused filament

Overview

The gold standard of 3D printing materials…just kidding.

Metal Infused plastics are tough to print in comparison to normal PLA, but due to the metal mixed in with the PLA, prints made from these metal printing materials are heavier and will give a more authentic look and feel.

Finished 3D prints can  and polished to give a shiny metal look.

Unpolished, the filament looks like cast metal with a matte and dull appearance.

Finishing can be done with wire brushing, rock polishing or wheel polishing.The metal infusion does however, not make it stronger. ​

You can use these 3D printing materials to imitate jewelry, figurines and a whole other host of applications where you want to give the appearance of metal.

Note that the metal infusion does not make the material any stronger.

List of features

⦁ Best used for “fake metal prints”, like jewelry or sculptures
⦁ Similar printing characteristics to PLA, but slower due to hardness
⦁ Just because it’s infused with metal does not make it stronger
⦁ Non-conductive, even though it contains metal
⦁ Finishing by rock tumbling or polishing is possible
⦁ Best results can be achieved by wheel polishing the print

8. HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)

Colors: Large palette available 
Extruder temperature:230±10 °C
Bed temperature: 110±10 °C
Ventilation:closed printer Only
Bed Adhesion: BCP Kapton Tape 

HIPS

Overview

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) can be compared to ABS. It is often used together with ABS using a dual head printer, as the HIPS plastic can be dissolved afterwards using Limonene as solvent.

This property makes it a great option as support material when printing ABS with dual extrusion printer. Of all the 3D printing materials, HIPS is closest to ABS but it doesn’t warp nearly as easily.

Another advantage of HIPS over ABS plastic is its excellent electrical insulation properties, so if you want to use voltages above 1 kV in your project, HIPS is your material.

List of features

⦁ Semi-toxic, so do not print with an open printer
⦁ Great electric insulator
⦁ HIPS filament is a rigid, support material that dissolves away in limonene.
⦁ Used as internal supports for complex models with many overhangs
⦁ Best 3D printer support material for ABS because of similar printing temperatures

Example of HIPS being used as a support during printing. (picture credit smarttec.com.au). Note this requires a dual extrusion printer.

smart_support_part

9. Magnetic Iron PLA

Colors: Iron (rustable)
Extruder temperature:200±10 °C
Bed temperature: 50±10 °C
Ventilation:Open or closed printer 
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape 

magnetic iron pla

Overview

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) can be compared to ABS. It is often used together with ABS using a dual head printer, as the HIPS plastic can be dissolved afterwards using Limonene as solvent.

This property makes it a great option as support material when printing ABS with dual extrusion printer. Of all the 3D printing materials, HIPS is closest to ABS but it doesn’t warp nearly as easily.

Another advantage of HIPS over ABS plastic is its excellent electrical insulation properties, so if you want to use voltages above 1 kV in your project, HIPS is your material.

List of features

Semi-toxic, so do not print with an open printer
⦁ Great electric insulator
⦁ HIPS filament is a rigid, support material that dissolves away in limonene.
⦁ Used as internal supports for complex models with many overhangs
⦁ Best 3D printer support material for ABS because of similar printing temperatures

magnetic iron pla

Some examples of rusted vs non-rusted 3D prints using magnetic Iron PLA

10. PLA Conductive Filament

Colors: Black or Copper
Extruder temperature:220±10 °C
Bed temperature: 50±10 °C
Ventilation:closed printer Only
Bed Adhesion: Blue Painters Tape 

conductive pla

Overview

Conductive PLA, designed for low voltage circuitry applications.What you get with conductive PLA is a material thats less flexible than normal PLA but with better adhesion.

This makes it ideal for a dual head printer to use both normal PLA and conductive filament, as the layer adhesion between the two plastics is excellent.

If you open up some old electronics you would be sure to find some conductive PLA inside.

List of features

⦁ PLA filament is conductive and slightly flexible.
⦁ Non-toxic like PLA, but stronger
⦁ For circuit boards a dual extruding printer is needed, one for PLA and one for conductive
⦁ Best used for circuitry, especially complex circuits where wiring proves difficult
⦁ Still bio-degradable, but less so than normal PLA

Conclusion

There are many more types plastic which you could use for 3D printing, but we decided to stop at 10 since these are the most popular plastics, with which you can bring to life almost any kind of design, right here at Pen and Plastic.

Let us know what you think in the comment section below…did we miss an important plastic which you would like to see included, do you have any feedback or additional information?

Feel free to share your thoughts the comment section or through social media!

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PLA vs ABS Filament : 3D Printing Strength and Flexibility

PLA vs ABS...there can be only one! Well actually there are two plastic giants in the 3D printing industry and we take a look at both.

When it comes to 3D printing, whether it be with a 3D pen or desktop printer, the two most common filament types are ABS and PLA. Both are thermoplastics, which means that they become malleable when heated.

In this way, you can use the heated plastic to create any shapes you want, and then let them cool down to preserve your shape permanently. There are many other materials for 3D printing, but not all of them are suitable for the standard 3D pen.

Most 3D pens currently on the market are designed to work with only PLA and ABS. However, many artists are experimenting with different types of plastic, and the latest of Professional 3D pens and 3D printers are allowing for these special kinds of plastic.

 

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If you haven’t bought a 3D Pen yet check out our Buyers Guide: Best 3D Pens for 2017. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two basic types of plastic for 3D pen and printer. Before comparing PLA vs ABS, we will briefly describe each plastic.

minion drawn with 3D Pen

PLA plastic is a biodegradable thermoplastic, made from renewable resources like sugarcane or corn starch or soy beans. When it melts, there is no smell, so it is very comfortable to use in the home or classroom. Outside of 3D printing, it's commonly used in medical implants, food packaging, plastic cups and plates etc. The main benefit of PLA is that it's easy to print with, as it melts at a lower temperature.

ABS plastic is an oil-based thermoplastic, commonly found in automotive trim, protective headgear, and toys such as LEGO. When ABS melts, it lets off the odour of burning plastic, so we recommend using it in a well-ventilated room.

Objects printed with ABS boast slightly higher strength, flexibility, and durability than those made from PLA. Since the focus of this website is on 3D pen printing, our focus will be on what you can draw with each plastic. The table below shows what you can print with PLA vs ABS.

Detailed comparison: ABS vs PLA

List of features


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    Melting temperature is usually 180 - 220C
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    PLA is based on natural materials (sugarcane, grain cropsбcorn, corn starch, and soybean).
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    When it melts, it's odourless, or there is a slight sweetish smell similar to the smell of corn or honey
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    PLA is dissolves in dichloromethane

Advantages of using PLA


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    PLA plastic is convenient, easy to use and child-friendly.
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    High tackiness allows you to paint on surfaces like glass, ceramics and metal.
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    Many options for colours, including translucent and glowing in the dark.
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    Increased fluidity provides better cohesion between layers, thus improving durability
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    No odor when melting the plastic

Disadvantages of using PLA


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    Low melting temperature makes the PLA unsuitable for some situations. Influenced by hot temperature, it can deform and "flow".
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    PLA is a bit harder to grind and handle compared to ABS
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    Although PLA can also be easily dried in a conventional oven (t 50-60 ° C), it should be noted that plastic may change the degree of crystallisation, resulting in characteristic changes
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    Products from this polymer begin to disintegrate in a year, which is unacceptable when creating high-quality mock-ups and details.

List of features


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    Melting temperature 225 – 250C
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    Natural ABS has a beige and milky hue before painting
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    Low stickiness, but sufficient for drawing on paper. If you use a hair spray, you can draw or print on other surfaces.
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    In the production of ABS plastic in its composition, you can add any colouring pigment, giving the finished raw material the desired colour or shade.
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    When working with conventional colourless plastic, the finished product can be easily coated with almost any colour.

Advantages of using ABS


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    The most popular 3D printing material.
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    Hard, shock-resistant and at the same time it is resistant to slight bending.
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    Painted with ABS plastic often has a glossy surface.
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    Can be recycled as normal plastic.
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    Plastic ABS makes it easy to create elements of various connections and fasteners.
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    It is easily ground and processed.
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    It is important to note that ABS dissolves in acetone, which allows you to glue the parts together and achieve a very smooth surface.
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    At the same time it is more resistant to other chemicals (excluding acetone)

Disadvantages of using ABS


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    Based on oil. Most of the plastics you encounter daily are ABS.

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    When printing ABS, there is often a strong smell of hot plastic. To reduce odour, adequate ventilation should be provided in small rooms.

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    It is more vulnerable to overheating during operation.

So which plastic should you buy?


Kids printing with a 3D Pen should use PLA plastic, due to its non-toxicity and lower temperatures. Due to PLA’s biodegradability, for all permanent applications, ABS plastic remains the best choice.

If you choose to buy PLA please keep in mind that you should store it in a way that it is isolated from moisture, i.e. keep it sealed. This does not mean that the plastic is destroyed if it spends a week is on the shelf, but long-term storage in a humid environment can undesirably affect both the printing process and the final product.

ABS and PLA are best kept in a vacuum or tightly sealed package to avoid excessive moisture in the materials.

Conclusion

There is no way to say which plastic is the best for your 3D pen. PLA vs ABS; they both have advantages and disadvantages. If you want to take a look at the full range of plastics available for 3D pen or printer then check out our review of the best 3D printing materials.

PLA has a bigger colour range including translucent, transparent and luminous in the dark plastic. If you are a beginner, and you do not have the skill to create complex objects, then PLA is the best choice.

ABS has a wider range of applications, but one of its greatest deterrents is of course the smell it gives off when the extruder heats it to the melting point. If you buy are looking to buy the best plastic for a child to use with his or her 3D printer, then PLA is the best choice.  

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