By this point, it's safe to say that we all know a little something about 3D printing. They have been around for about a decade. The first 3D printers were hefty, expensive, and hard to transport from place to place.

In 2013, three men by the names of Peter Dilworth, Maxwell Bogue, and Daniel Cowen made a significant breakthrough in the world of 3D printing.

The three invented the "3Doodler," the first ever 3D printing pen that is capable of drawing in the air or on surfaces.

If you're confused, it's all good, because you're in the perfect place! Continue reading to learn about 3D pens and 3D pen templates.

What Is A 3D pen?

3D pens are one of the next big things for artists and creators, as they can create astounding arrays consisting of different shapes and designs. They are easy to use, lightweight, and portable.

3D pens actually function in a much more simple way than you may think.

First, heat is used to melt plastic. It is very similar to the concept of a hot glue gun. Plastic filament is melted when it is pushed through a heating chamber at the tip of the pen. You can adjust the temperature depending on the materials used to make the filament.

Next, the melted filament is then pushed through the extruder nozzle. The pen user then moves the pen to create different shapes and figures. The melted plastic quickly cools down and becomes solid once outside the pen, making the shape of the extruded filament permanent.

The plastic coming from 3D pens must be able to melt and solidify quickly when extruded. 

There are a handful of different plastics that meet these criteria.
Check some of them out below:

  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
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    Polyamide (nylon)
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    Glass-filled polyamide
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    Polycarbonate (PC)
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    High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Of those, ABS and PLA are by far the most popular...

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene):

Due to its low cost, ABS plastic is very popular in manufacturing. It is very effective for the construction of Legos and bicycle parts, for example. It is very easy to find ABS at craft stores or online.

One of the downsides is that ABS has a high melting temperature. It melts at 210 to 250 degree Celsius.

The increased melting temperature of ABS isn't necessarily a problem for 3D pens because they are so technologically advanced. They can easily reach these temperatures, but using 3D pens at this temperature can cause the plastic to emit mild fumes that are potentially harmful to those who inhale the fumes.

Those who use ABS filament often should doodle in well-ventilated areas to ensure that they are not inhaling fumes. If you are not in a well-ventilated area or you plan on using ABS for a long uninterrupted period of time, it may be smart to use a mask.

PLA (polylactic acid):

Believe it or not, PLA actually comes from common food sources such as corn, potato, and sugar cane.

It is a kind of plastic, but it is also biodegradable, meaning it will not pollute the environment. So, in turn, using PLA for 3D printing rather than other plastics is much better for the environment.

PLA melts at 160 to 220 degree Celsius. It also does not emit any harmful fumes when heated.

3D printing filaments made from PLA, however, cool down a bit slower when they are extruded from the pen’s nozzle. If you choose to use PLA, you will need additional cooling equipment to make sure you are drawing complex, detail orientated creations. Compared to ABS, it is also a bit more brittle.

3D pen filaments are very affordable, so it might be a good idea to buy both ABS and PLA to see which one you prefer! Experiment with both of them and see which one suits your needs!

What Are 3D Pen Templates?

Drawing exceptional 3D figures with a pen is no easy task.

It is sophisticated and time-consuming, and due to the freehand nature of drawing 3D figures, it takes practice to get good at it.

In the meantime, however, it might be a good idea to start with 3D pen templates and 3D pen stencils.

Templates and pen stencils are outlines of objects that you can use to assist your drawing. This can help you get a good feel for the 3D pen and how it works. Soon after, you will likely gain enough confidence and graduate on to freehand 3D drawing!

In the video below, "Make" gave an interesting take on a 3D printing tutorial. They advise starters to create 3D pen templates by combining 2D sketches. They go on to show you how to practice your freehand drawing as well.

Check it out:

How Do You Acquire/Create 3D Pen Templates?

You can always draw 3D pen templates. You can also find downloadable 3D plan templates on various websites. For example, 3doodler.com offers many different 3D pen templates.

Several examples from 3doodler are shown below. You simply scale the photos to the size you want, print them out, and use them as stencils.

3d pen stencil screen shot

Final Thoughts

3D pens are a relatively new product on the market, so we hope that this post was informational! You should now have a good idea of what 3D pens are, how they work, and why starting with 3d pen templates might be a good idea!

Artists, hobbyists, and creators can likely find great joy in watching their creations takes shape right before their eyes. 3D pens have now given us the opportunity to actually make our ideas take tangible shapes.

If you are interested in a 3D pen for yourself, check out our 5 best 3D pens for your budget! Start drawing awesome 3D creations without breaking the bank!

If you are looking to create large, complex creations, 3D printers are probably your best option. They are typically associated with high cost, but that's not always the case. There are many affordable 3D printers available on the market. We encourage you to check out our top 10 best 3D printers under $500. These are entry-level 3D printers. If you want to take it up another notch and spend a little bit more money, we encourage you to check out our top 10 best 3D printers under $1,000.

Thanks for reading today!

Also, please feel free to drop a comment below!

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