Whether you’re a kid, a hobbyist, or an artist, a 3D pen is a fun and innovative tool. It can enhance your creativity and help you get a better understanding of three-dimensional objects.
To help you cut the wheat from the chaff this festive season, here’s an overview of the top 3D pens on the market, ranging from bargain bin beauties that are as capable as they are cheap, to multi-function fancies that put a powerful creativity tool in your hand.
While browsing, keep in mind that prices often fluctuate — all prices are correct as of the time of publishing.
Without further ado — here be the pens, ordered by price.
The IDO3D Vertical is actually 5 pens, where each pen is actually a cartridge of UV-hardened gel. (Confused yet?) Gel is extruded by squeezing the pens, and the UV light is an attachment which can easily be switched between them. Thus the IDO3D Vertical offers many colors, and the ability to easily incorporate them in a single project. The initial kit also includes an activity guide.
The CCTREE 3D pen is another warm nozzle pen, but instead of using a proprietary filament, like the 3Doodler Start, it uses regular PCL filament, which naturally melts at a low (and therefore safe) temperature. On the other hand, the nozzle temperature can be increased to accommodate PLA or ABS.
Unique among the other 3D pens on this list, the 3Dsimo Kit is exactly as the name suggests — a kit. Coming in pieces — including a 3D printed shell for the ultimate maker-vibe, this pen is also unique for being open source. Indeed, the plans, files, and firmware are all available on GitHub, making this pen a tinkerer’s dream.
Out of the box settings for ABS and PLA allow you to draw immediately, but should the desire for more control and specific material requirements take you, you can hook it up to your computer and bash in your own custom settings.
Supporting a long list of filament types and operable through USB power, the MYNT3D 3D pen is a versatile, if unexciting choice. Adjustable temperature settings allow you to design with creative freedom using the likes of PLA and ABS filament, all in a compact frame that’s understatedly simple and elegant.
Operating at temperatures of up to 220 degrees Celsius, the new generation Dikale 07A is capable of extruding PLA (provided in-box) and ABS filaments – more than adequate for creative projects following templates and small touch-up work on existing 3D prints.
Marketed as safe for kids, the nozzle is not entirely enclosed so we would recommend caution when handing the pen off to younger hands.
Striking a fine balance between affordability and, seemingly, performance — if the near-200 4-star and higher customer reviews on Amazon are to be believed, the Dikale 07A appears to be a strong contender for the pick of value 3D pens today.
Along with its main product, the Create, 3Doodler offers this model designed specifically for children, the Start. Setting it apart is its warm nozzle, which melts a special biodegradable plastic — called “Eco-Plastic” — at a lower (and therefore safer) temperature than is needed for regular 3D printing materials such as PLA and ABS. This means the nozzle, as well as the molten material, are safe to touch.
In order to better suit a child’s creative interests, the Start comes in a variety of sets, each including an activity guide and additional components unique to a theme. For example, kids can experiment with a motor in the “robotics” set, or with spherical molds in the “product design” set.
Although it only supports PLA filament, the ability to adjust the temperature by increments of 1°C makes it possible for the AIO Printing Pen to accommodate multiple PLA variants. Add to that a 5-speed settings and a sleek design, and you have yourself a pretty professional product for a pretty modest price (especially when on sale, which is common).
Looks kinda like the Create, doesn’t it? And with the same two extrusion speed buttons, it performs similarly, too! One major difference, and in general unique feature of the CoLiDo: It has a retractable nozzle! No accidental surface (or skin) burning here.
With stencils and a large amount of starter filament, this is a nice 3D pen for anyone trying out 3D drawing for the first time.
Already a huge presence in the market, Scribbler is stepping up its game once again with the Duo.
Annoyingly, this 3D pen kinda breaks the below list, as its most important and unique feature, its twin-tipped nozzle, is forced to appear in “Extras”, along with the stencils and pen caps… Needless to say, this feature is fantastic for more complex drawings, as one can instantly switch between two different filaments, or simultaneously draw with both!
In June 2018, 3Doodler brought out a new version of its popular hobbyist model 3Doodler Create. The new improved version, called “Creator+” or “Creator Plus”, is a major overhaul of the popular 3D pen.
According to the manufacturer, the “Dual Drive” motor system can transport the filament more reliable, so your 3D pen should be 99 percent free of jams.
In an unusual twist, the Create has two buttons for two extrusion speeds. The slower speed is great for doodling intricate details, the faster one for filling bigger areas fast.
The new Doodler Create+ also is capable of handling flexible filaments besides PLA and ABS materials.
The starter pack comes with 3 packs of ABS and PLA strands, power adaptor, maintenance tools and instructions. The new version is currently cheaper than the older one.
The latest version of Scribbler’s base 3D pen model, the V3 is a fantastic all-around choice. In style and features, it’s similar to the SkyWriter3D, but comes at a slightly lower price.
Here it is, the 3D printing pen that started it all (it was also the winner of All3DP’s Best 3D Pen 2017 Award):
Well, not really. In truth, the Create is the descendant of the original 3Doodler. Still, it deserves some recognition, not only for its role in the world of 3D printing pens but also for its features.
In an unusual twist, the Create has two buttons for two extrusion speeds and no unloading button. Then again, it is the original – maybe it’s the other pens that are strange…
As with other big company 3D printing pens, a wide variety of accessories exist for the Create, including a swappable nozzle set, the DoodlePad (3D drawing surface), the JetPack (portable battery pack), and a foot pedal to relieve the fingers.
As of June 2018, the original “Create” is now being phased out in favor of the improved “Create+”, which you can read about more below. The Create still is available at many vendors selling 3D pens, so it‘s easy of getting hold of that model.
3D Pen Review: 3Doodler Review - 3Doodler Create: The Best 3D Pen of 2017
The Basic is 3Dsimo’s take on a 3D pen for kids.
The 3D pen has got some nice tricks up its sleeve. First of all, you don’t need to have it plugged into a socket. Instead, you can 3D draw for maximum 3 hours form the 3D pen’s USB rechargeable battery, claims the manufacturer. 3Dsimo basic uses safe PCL materials that don’t heat the nozzle to a temperature that might burn your skin on contact.
Coming in second place on our list of best pens for artists, the SkyWriter3D is marketed as “the lightest 3D pen on the planet”, weighing in at only 55 grams.
Apart from being easy to use, this model additionally boasts an impressive list of features, and at a reasonable price. (Don’t forget to check for sales!)
What started out as a Kickstarter campaign, has become the home of a range of 3D printing pens.
What’s really surprising about the 3Dsimo Multipro is its relatively low price for its impressive list of features. It is capable of 3D drawing, burning, foam-cutting and even soldering smaller parts. Most 3D pens in this list support only PLA and ABS, but the 3Dsimo takes 3D drawing one step further by additionally printing in HIPS and PET, thanks to its high-temperature nozzle.
You can use an app and connect it to the pen to find the right preset for the materials you are using.
The Pro is 3Doodler’s most advanced model. It includes all the normal bells and whistles, and even adds a few extra ones!
To begin, just about any conventional 3D printing filament can be used with this 3D pen, from the standard PLA and ABS to polycarbonate, nylon, and flexible. And not only can you control what goes in, with six nozzle shapes and sizes, you can also control how it comes out!
Starting to see the underlying theme here? Control. Just look at the print settings: 8 speeds and a temperature spread from 60°C to 240°C. Oh, there’s also an adjustable fan. Yeah.
Sure, the price tag is a little high, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.
Overall, the 3Doodler Pro was designed with the professional in mind, offering them the flexibility they need to get the job done.
License: The text of "16 Best 3D Pens to Gift for Christmas 2018" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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