5 Best 3D Pens For Your Budget
Whether you’re an amateur, a professional artist, or just someone who just likes to try new things, you need to give the 3D pen a try. 3D pens are quickly growing in popularity in the art world because of the way in which they allow artists to bring their visions to life. Though 3D pens are relatively new, there are dozens of options on the market, each with its own benefits and pitfalls. Before we delve into the best 3D pens, however, we will briefly explain what exactly a 3D pen is, how one works, and why you should invest in one.
What Is a 3D Printing Pen?
A 3D pen does not look much different from your standard ink pen. In fact, upon first glance, you may think that what you’re looking at is just a really bulky writing device. You use it the same as you would an ordinary pen, but instead of drawing on paper, you draw in the air. Typical writing devices use ink or lead to bring artists’ visions to life in 2D format. 3D pens use plastic to bring those same ideas to life but in a three-dimensional way.
How Do 3D Pens Work?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably confused as to how a pen can bring a vision to life without being on a piece of paper or some other object. As mentioned above, 3D pens use plastic to draw an actual object. 3D pens work in much the same way as a hot glue gun does. The mechanism heats up the plastic until it is melted. Once in the molten state, you can use it to draw pretty much anything your heart desires. If you want, you can even draw on a surface as you would with a regular pen. However, you’re not limited to paper; you can draw on wood, furniture, plastic or any other item you would like to decorate with your artwork.
What You Should Invest in a 3D Pen
If you have an artistic side, there is no reason not to invest in a 3D printing pen. However, if you need more of a reason other than “it can draw really cool images in the air,” here are just a few for you to consider:
- It’s cheaper than buying an actual 3D printer.
- It’s easy.
- It’s fun.
- It’s good for your creative brain.
- It’s something the whole family can have fun with.
Who Should Invest in a 3D Pen
We are not here to sell you a specific pen. Rather, we are here to advise you on how to select the best 3D pen for your budget. To help you do this, we sift through dozens of reviews and online ratings, review product data and consider the reputation of each brand before compiling our “best of” lists. In doing so, we hope that when you click to complete your order on a 3D pen, you can feel confident in your purchase decision.
Top 5 Best 3D Pens
MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen
If you’re in the market for a reliable, precise and sleek looking pen, the MYNT3D Professional Printing Pen is ideal for you. Packed with impressive features, you will wonder why it’s only $69.99, but you won’t be complaining. The slim design allows for easy handling and its ergonomic shape is perfect for hours of drawing. Change the settings as you write thanks to strategically placed buttons that allow you to move your fingers easily to the setting you need without interrupting your work. You can easily view the settings as you change them thanks to the large OLED display on the side.
With the MYNT3D, the artistic possibilities are endless. A stylus allows you to create precise renderings of your imaginings with slim lines and intricate details. Sketch, paint or doodle various objects with the different tips you can use. Speed and temperature control settings allow you to fill in large areas quickly or to slow down the flow of plastic to create complex drawings. With this device, you can take your creativity to the next level and explore your creative side in a way that you cannot with just a pen, or just a paintbrush.
Unlike many other 3D pens, this particular pen caters any thermoplastic, be it wood or bronzed filaments. The only restriction is that the filament must be 1.75 mm. Temperatures can be changed in 1-degree increments and can be set at anywhere between 130 and 240 C, allowing plenty of leeway for finetuning.
Another huge perk of the MYNT3D is that it is USB powered. Most 3D pens need to be plugged into an outlet, which hinders portability, but this pen can be plugged into a computer, portable charger or anything else with a USB outlet. This is a particularly handy feature for those who enjoy channeling their creativity in outdoor spaces.
Many 3D pens have permanent nozzles, which is a huge pain considering that melted plastic is prone to hardening. Nozzles often become clogged, rendering the pens unusable. The nozzle on this model, however, is replaceable. If it becomes clogged, you don’t have to throw your entire pen away. Rather, you can toss the nozzle and replace it with a new one.
The only pitfalls of the MYNT3D are the noise the machine makes and the fact that the plastic extracts slowly. Considering all the perks, however, these pitfalls aren’t much to complain about.
Scribbler 3D Printing Pen V3
Scribbler 3D Printing Pen V3 is the newest version of a classic and fan favorite. As its name implies, it is the third version of the original, meaning that the manufacturer has had significant time to perfect it. Though this is the most expensive pen on this list, it is still affordable, and its extra cost comes with several extra benefits.
For one, this pen has a great design. Though it is not the most lightweight of all 3D printing pens, it is on the lighter side at just 67 grams. It is super simple to hold and has a groove where you can place your palm, making it one of the most ergonomic of all 3D pens. If you’re someone who plans to draw for hours, this pen is just the instrument for you.
Just because this pen was designed for professionals does not mean that you cannot have fun with it. As of right now, Scribbler comes in eight different colors, including blue, green, yellow, purple, white and red. You can also create various shades of different colors in the same pen using the temperature settings.
In addition to being easy to use, the Scribbler V3 is also a safe pen. The body is encased in plastic, protecting you from getting burned while using it. The nozzle is ceramic, unlike the copper nozzle of many of its counterparts, which also prevents burning. The pen is designed to shut off automatically after a few minutes of non-use, a safety feature many pens do not have. A large LED display on the side allows users to view settings while they use it. The pen comes with a free learning book, guaranteeing fun for all user levels.
Some users report that their pens only worked for a couple of days or even just a couple of minutes, and sometimes, the unclogging mechanism does not work. That said, the product does come with a 30-day money back guarantee. If your pen does not work, the company will either replace it with a new one or refund your purchase.
Kuman 100B Newest Version 3D Printing Pen
Perhaps one of the greatest perks of purchasing the Kuman 100B 3D pen is the customer service. Kuman is known for its friendly customer service representatives and even more for its stellar warranties. If you purchase this pen and are not completely satisfied with it, or if you determine that it is a safety hazard, you can count on a real person addressing your issue almost immediately as soon as you submit the complaint.
Warranty and customer service aside, there should be no reason for you to contact the company in the first place. The Kuman 100B is ergonomic and easy to use. The device is shaped much like a regular pen in that it is round. Though it is bulkier than many other 3D printing pens (it weighs 14.4 ounces), it is still comfortable to use because of its pen shape. Like many other of the newer 3D pens, the Kuman comes with an LCD display that read temperature, filament use and speed. The pen heats up easily and the plastic cools quickly, perfect for novice users.
In terms of safety, the Kuman is top-rated. If the device is inactive for five minutes, it will automatically shut off. If the pen starts to become jammed, an alert will notify you so that you can clean the instrument before it becomes unusable. Unlike most other 3D printing pens, this one is designed to operate noiselessly, allowing your inner artist to emerge at any time of day or night.
Though this pen is ideal for beginners, it operates at temperatures between 160 and 230 degrees, perfect for the more experienced artist who wants to create more intricate works of art. It is also designed to melt a variety of thermoplastics.
When you purchase this device, you also get a free EBook that includes tutorials and templates. The EBook also comes with 3D stencils.
Kuman has received complaints of the filaments getting jammed while in use. Slow extrusion is also a typical complaint, but that is standard with most 3D pens. There are also reported incidences when the item suddenly stops working after ten minutes of use. However, the device comes with a money-back guarantee, so if you’re not satisfied with the device for any reason, the company will either refund you or send you a new pen.
7Tech 3D Printing Pen
Based on the extensive list of features that the manufacturer boasts of, you would think that the 7Tech 3D Printing Pen is the best on the market. As a result, it earned a spot on this list. That said, let’s explore its notable features.
First off, let’s talk about the pen’s look and feel. For all the features the pen contains, it is relatively lightweight and slim, making it easy to hold and use for long periods of time. This device can be operated in silent mode, but unlike other pens with this option, this one performs surprisingly well in quiet mode. The device also boasts a thermal control feature and alerts users when the plastic filament gets jammed inside. This handy feature allows you to unclog the device before the clog becomes a major issue.
If you don’t like super-fast or super-slow extrusion, this pen offers a compromise. Fine-tune the extrusion to your level of expertise or based on the project you want to create.
Despite its host of updated features, this pen didn’t rank so well because of its lack of safety features. Whereas the designers gave a lot of attention to user friendliness, they neglected safety. When operating at high temperatures, the pen becomes extremely hot, to the point where holding it is intolerable. This can be dangerous for younger users. For this reason, it is not ideal for kids.
Safety aside, the pen lacks available plastic filaments, which, while it is a problem for many pens of this type, is still a problem.
DigiHero 3D Pen
This pen made the list because of its kid-friendliness. Designed specifically for young users, the DigiHero 3D pen is safe and simple to use. If you’re looking for a pen that doesn’t not come with a steep learning curve, this is the pen for you.
DigiHero markets itself as a pen that is safe for children, so this review will focus on the kid-friendly features it offers. Upon initial inspection, the device looks completely kid-friendly. It’s slim, lightweight and easy to hold. It also comes in three different colors, each of which is reminiscent of classic Crayola’s.
Looks aside, the DigiHero comes with 12 PLA filaments in random colors. Each is ten feet in length, providing for plenty of material with which to work wonders. The pen also comes with a tool that helps users easily remove filaments when not in use, that way parents don’t have to worry about their children being burned. It also comes with a wall charger and a penholder. The pen charges via a micro USB.
Honestly, children are likely the only users to really enjoy this pen. The performance is what you might expect from a 3D pen for kids. There is no mechanism to prevent jamming, and if the pen does jam, you’re out of luck, as the nozzle doesn’t come off. Despite being made for kids, the pen doesn’t turn off when it reaches its temperature threshold, which could be dangerous for kids. Its construction is also fairly cheap, but that is to be expected from a pen of this price.
Every user’s needs are different, and what you may covet in a 3D printing pen may not be what another user covets. For this reason, we have put together this list of considerations, which you can use to find the best pen for your needs:
- User Age: As this post indicates, there are pens for adults, teens and children. Though 3D pens are not nearly as expensive as 3D printers, especially the ones listed in this guide, you still don’t want to drop money on a device that the intended user cannot enjoy. Before you begin your search, know who you are buying the pen for and narrow your search based on that.
- User Skill Level: In addition to considering the intended user’s age, you also want to consider his or her skill level. As indicated above, there are some pens designed with the advanced user in mind and some made specifically for novice users. There are also pens which settings can be adjusted to accommodate any level of user, though those pens may not come with the advanced features that professional users desire. They may also be slightly pricier than pens designed with one particular user level in mind.
- Application: Though 3D pens can be used on just about any surface, including the air, some are better for certain applications. Make sure that the pen you buy is responsive on the surface you plan to write on, otherwise it won’t be of any use to you.
- Temperature Control: Another major consideration to make is regarding temperature. Some pens come with only slight variations in temperature while others allow for huge variations. Those with larger temperature ranges are great for creating intricate works of art, while those with less of a range are ideal for novice users and children. Make sure that the pen you buy has a temperature range that you will be satisfied with.
- Cooling Time: Just as important as temperature is cooling time. When the plastic comes out of the pen, it should retain its shape. If you are drawing on air, you need it to cool quickly, otherwise your vision will collapse. Additionally, if the difference between heating and cooling is large, you may not be able to use your pen for long periods of time, which can be frustrating if you’re someone who gets an artistic urge and must fulfill it immediately.
- Nozzle: Really, you should only invest in a pen with a removable nozzle. Though there are several great options out there that have permanent nozzles, if a pen becomes clogged and you cannot remove its nozzle, you’ll be forced to throw it away. Some pens become clogged more quickly than others, especially for first time users. If you want to make the most of your investment, invest in a pen that has a removable nozzle.
- Warranty: Because 3D pens are such a new and imperfect technology, make sure that the company you buy from offers a warranty. Don’t be sold just by the promise of a warranty though. Read the fine print and see whether the warranty is for pen replacement, a full refund or just repairs. Also figure out when a warranty might be in order. Does the company offer a replacement when the pen breaks because of the way in which you used it, or will it only replace the tool if it breaks due to a design error? These things are important to know, as you don’t want to drop $100 on a pen because you wrongly believe that the company will replace it no matter what as long as it’s within two years of the purchase date.
3D pens can offer hours of endless fun for people of all ages, and they can provide the artist in you with an artistic freedom you cannot achieve via a standard pen, pencil, paintbrush or any other art tool. However, if you really want to enjoy your 3D pen and all that the technology has to offer, it’s important that you do your research, shop around and buy the best 3D pen that is right for your needs and your budget. Hopefully this guide will help you find that pen, but if the MYNT3D, Scribbler V3, Kuman 100B, 7Tech 3D Printing Pen or DigiHero 3D Pen is not right for you, use the tips in the buyer’s guide to find the one that is. As we already mentioned, there are dozens of options out there, each one that offers its own unique benefits and, in some instances, a few minor pitfalls.