When you think about 3D printing and 3D printers, the image that comes to mind will be the standard FDM printer. That sort of printer has a defined movement in each axis and can be accurately controlled by a computer. There is, however, a type of 3D printer that isn’t computer-controlled.
What Are 3D Printing Pens?
3D printing pens are handheld devices that create 3D prints. Most are FDM-based, extruding a standard plastic filament which you then have to let cool. Some 3D printing pens, however, are more similar to SLA printers, printing a photosensitive resin and curing it with ultraviolet light.
Filament-based pens are often referred to as hot pens because they need a heating element to melt the filament. Resin-based 3D printing pens are known as cold pens because the resin doesn’t need to be heated to be printed. Some warm pens are designed for use by children. They use a special plastic that doesn’t need to be heated as much to be printable.
The main benefit and selling point of a 3D pen is creating 3D prints by hand. This is an excellent feature for creative types that want to express themselves artistically. Unfortunately, if you’re wanting to create reliable and accurate prints, then 3D pens aren’t ideal.
Even if you have a steady enough hand and can accurately reproduce the shapes you want, if you want to create perfect models, you will get better, faster, and more reliable results with a computer controlling the printer.
Helpful Repair Tool
One area where 3D printing pens may be beneficial is making minor repairs or edits to a 3D print. Working with high-temperature materials means you can print with normal filaments. This means you can easily add more material to cover any holes or damage to a model.
It will likely require further post-processing, but you may be able to fix a print you might otherwise have had to discard. This approach likely isn’t strong enough for functional 3D prints but would be suitable for display models.
3D printing pens are a beginner and potentially child-friendly approach to 3D printing. The lack of requirement for technical skills expands the potential user base. Unfortunately, the requirement for artistic ability then narrows it again. Have you got a 3D printing pen, or are you planning to get one? Let us know what sold you on it down below.