A 3D pen is a creative tool used by people to create simple 3D models and images. To describe one would be to say it’s a cross between a traditional pen and a soldering iron, and in that description works in a very similar way.
In this article we’re going to look at how a 3D pen works, and what you can make with it.
How Does a 3D Pen Work?
The pens work in a very similar way to a glue gun by heating up the plastic filament, so it melts and then squeezes it through the tip of the pen. Because of the melting, the plastic can be molded or shaped into almost any form the user can think to create. Because of the type of plastic and how quick it cools this then becomes solid into the shape the user has drawn.
Creations For Beginners
Once you have the pen set up, it’s strongly recommended that the artist starts by drawing in 2D, this will give you time to get used to how the pen feels, draws and the speed at which the plastic comes out.
Try starting out by drawing something first in pen or pencil to create your own free stencil to practice on. Once you have a few stencils made up it’s time to grab the 3D pen and go over them, it helps if the images you’ve drawn are something you can potentially attach together so you can get used to modelling something into a 3D shape.
Once you’ve gained confidence in 2D modeling it’s time to have a go at simple 3D models. Start basic with shapes like cubes and pyramids and do them free hand so you can get a feel for how the 3D modelling aspect works.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now you’ve got used to making simple 3D shapes and models, let’s have a look at what to make next.
Spherical objects and figurines are an ideal place to take your modelling next. Spheres are a good next step after shapes built from straight edges as this will give you freedom to create a figurine. Try starting out with a mold to draw over and do it parts so that the mold doesn’t get trapped and you can learn how to create a shape out of two parts.
Once the sphere has been mastered it’s time to go a bit more complex and give your shapes some life. Small and simple figures are a good start, like an animal or a person, something you’re familiar with and can do off the top of your head.
Just For Fun
With 3D printing becoming more popular and accessible it could be a good idea to get an early start in the 3D modeling world.
At the moment 3D pens are mostly for fun, used by hobbyists and kids with quite minimal professional use. It’s a fun simple way for people who want to get into 3D modelling but want to try it before they go all out on a 3D printer.
Some people have gotten into seasonal decorations, ornaments and even jewelry as some nice simple projects.
3D Printer Model Repairs
For those who are using a 3D printer to make precision models or professional models they will find due to the size of the printers, typically they will have to print out their project in parts and assemble them together.
This can mean they will need to create points in their models where they can be fix together, due to them usually being made out of similar plastics they can be melted together easily.
The 3D pen can be used as a precision tool like a traditional welder or soldering iron but for plastic, and has real application to these kinds of projects.
Once you’ve got used to crafting with the 3D pen and are able to make more than just shapes, a good place to take your 3D modelling would be decorations.
A good example of where this could apply really well is at Christmas time. This could be a fun idea to get the decorations that you want, or if you had something super specific in mind then you could potentially create them yourself.
When looking online there are so many free stencils and guides on making your own stencils to create really good decorations to get your house ready for any occasion.
Rings, earrings, bracelets and even pendants for necklaces could also be crafted using your 3D pen. This could be a good step to take when trying to level up your 3D penmanship.
Most 3D pen models look quite wiry when finished, but when baked in an oven, users have achieved a smooth finish to some of their models making them look more professional as if they’ve been 3D printed. This technique could be used to create fun bits of jewelry or even nicer looking ornaments.
This is where the mastery of the 3D pen comes into play. Once things like decorations and jewelry have been mastered, detailed ornaments are the next step to conquer.
Looking online there are loads of levels to where people are taking their 3D craft. They start out with objects that look basic but, almost exactly like what the user intended to make with a 3D pen, but there are also people taking it to another place and making things that look professional and look as if they’ve paid some top dollar for what they’re buying.
People are creating collectors like action figures from popular movies, and they look like the real deal! Even with a simple browse on YouTube you can find competitions for the best 3D models made with the pen and people are willing to pay thousands for the best model.
3D pens are a super easy and cheap way to get into 3D modelling, they have some real applications but also can be used to enjoy. They seem to be able to create works of art or even just small 3D doodles and are definitely worth having a look at, especially as small gifts for children as it can help them to find their creative side early.
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