3D printing pens have exploded in popularity in recent years, allowing artists, hobbyists, and designers to unleash their creativity like never before. These handheld devices function like a standard glue gun, but instead of dispensing hot glue, they melt and extrude plastic filament, letting you “draw” 3D objects in midair.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be reviewing the top 5 best 3D printing pens in 2023 based on performance, features, price, and overall value. We’ll also provide a detailed buyer’s guide on what to look for when choosing a 3D pen to match your needs and budget. Read on to discover the ideal 3D pen to unleash your inner artist and start creating!
An In-Depth Look at the Top 5 3D Printing Pens
1. MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen
The MYNT3D Professional 3D Printing Pen is our pick for the best overall 3D pen. This versatile, high-performance pen excels at detailed artistic creations but also handles day-to-day prototyping and repairs with ease.
- Compatible with PLA, ABS, wood, bronze, and copper filaments
- Advanced auto-standby and auto-feed functions
- LCD screen shows temperature and speed settings
- Ergonomic design with comfortable grip
- Heats rapidly and maintains consistent temps for smooth extrusion
- Glad flow and speed controls for precision
- Great balance of quality, performance, and price
- Reliable craftsmanship and durable construction
- No variable speed controls
- Can be heavy for prolonged use
With exceptional performance right out of the box, intuitive controls, and sturdy construction, the MYNT3D pen excels for beginners and pros alike. It’s our top recommendation for a versatile, high-quality 3D printing pen.
2. Dikale 3D Printing Pen with LCD Screen
Featuring precise temperature controls and an LCD interface, the Dikale 3D Printing Pen is ideal for artists requiring optimal extrusion consistency.
- Full temperature range control from 130° to 240°C
- Intuitive LCD screen for adjusting speed and temperature
- Uses PLA, ABS, and flexible TPU filaments
- Ergonomic triangle design for comfort
- Advanced heating controls for consistent, steady extrusion
- LCD screen allows granular adjustments during use
- Lightweight, easy to use for extended periods
- Excellent value for the price
- Feed button can stick occasionally
- No variable speed control
With exceptional temp precision and an easy-to-use interface, the Dikale 3D Pen excels for artistic 3D printing and drawing applications. The extensive extrusion controls provide a real advantage for detail-oriented use.
3. Scribbler 3D Pen V3
The Scribbler V3 features a unique dual-drive extruder for improved consistency, making it one of the best pens for beginners.
- Patented dual-drive extrusion system
- Uses PLA and ABS filament
- Ergonomic design with rotating nozzle
- Includes useful starter accessories
- Dual-drive extruder prevents material jams and skips
- User-friendly for first-time 3D pen users
- Lightweight and comfortable for prolonged use
- Great value kit for beginners
- Limited maximum temperature of 230°C
- No screen or controls on device
With its innovative extruder and accessible design, the easy-to-use Scribbler V3 is a great starter 3D pen for novice users and younger creators. The dual-drive system provides added reliability for smooth, consistent printing.
4. MYNT3D Super 3D Pen
Providing professional-quality performance at an affordable price point, the MYNT3D Super 3D Pen is our choice for the best budget buy.
- Heats to 230°C for PLA, ABS, and wood filaments
- Ergonomic hexagonal design for comfort
- 6 speed settings and auto standby
- Includes 3 filament samples
- Pro-quality performance at an affordable price
- Easy to control with responsive buttons
- Comfortable for extended use sessions
- Great value kit for beginners
- No advanced controls or LCD screen
- Limited temperature range
For an affordable but capable 3D pen that can handle diverse filaments, the MYNT3D Super is a great budget-friendly option. While basic, it delivers solid performance for the price.
5. CreoPop Cordless Cool Ink Pen
Using innovative cool ink gel technology, the CreoPop pen stands out with its unique functionality and safety.
- Uses specialized photopolymer cool ink gel
- Cordless and battery-powered
- No hot parts or plastic odor
- Includes 3 gel ink cartridges
- Cool ink gel technology is safe for kids
- Cordless for easy portability
- Special gel inks create smooth, bubble-free lines
- Unique lighting effects in finished prints
- Limited to proprietary gel inks
- Pricier than standard filament pens
With its innovative gel ink system that doesn’t require heat, the CreoPop is a unique, safe option perfect for kids. The specialty gel results in distinctive printed objects.
How to Choose the Best 3D Printing Pen
With so many 3D pens now available, it can be tricky deciding which one best fits your needs and budget. Here are the key factors to consider when selecting the right 3D pen:
- Use Case – Will you primarily use it for artistic creations, repairs, or prototyping? Pens optimized for art vs. utility work can vary.
- Filament Compatibility – What materials do you want to print with? Check which plastics the pen supports.
- Temperature Controls – Adjustable temps allow finer control over extrusion consistency.
- Extrusion Consistency – Test extrusion consistency and ease of getting smooth, steady flow.
- Comfort Features – Ergonomic pens will be easier to use for long sessions.
- Extra Features – LCD screens and speed/flow controls are useful upgrades for some.
- Brand Reputation – Stick with known brands offering quality products and warranties.
- Price – Set a budget and look for good value at your target price point.
- Safety – Auto shut-off and cool ink options make safer choices for kids.
Consider what features would be most beneficial for your specific creative needs and look for a pen that aligns with your priorities.
Frequently Asked Questions About 3D Printing Pens
How exactly do 3D printing pens work?
3D printing pens work by melting and extruding thermoplastic filaments, letting you draw structures in midair as the plastic cools and hardens. They contain a filament feed mechanism to drive material through, a heated extruder tip to melt it, and controls to adjust temperature and speed. As you move the pen, the melted filament is deposited to form 3D objects. The plastic then solidifies, fusing the layers together.
What types of filament can I use in a 3D pen?
The most common filament materials used are PLA and ABS plastic, but specialty pens support flexible TPU, wood, bronze, copper, and more. Entry-level pens work with just PLA, while more advanced models accept various filaments to expand your material options.
What kinds of projects are 3D pens good for?
3D pens are ideal for artistic creations, customized jewelry, ornamental objects, prototypes, repairs, adding details to existing 3D prints, and more. Their freehand functionality makes them shine for organic, sculptural designs. They also assist with fixing broken plastic parts on toys, gadgets, models, and appliances by refilling holes or adding reinforcement.
How long does it take to learn to use a 3D pen?
With a little practice, most people can get the hang of a 3D pen in about 1-2 hours. Starting with basic lines and shapes, then moving up to 2D patterns and finally simple 3D objects will quickly build skills. Like learning any new tool, comfort and proficiency will improve over several sessions. Taking it slow at first is key.
What precautions should I take when using a 3D pen?
Use in a well-ventilated area, take breaks to allow cooling if needed, keep flammable materials away, closely supervise children, and avoid contact with skin as nozzle can reach 200°C+ temps. Feed filament properly to avoid jams and only use recommended plastic materials. Work on a nonflammable surface.
How are 3D pens different from 3D printers?
3D pens are handheld and designed for freehand drawing, while 3D printers produce objects from digital files on a build platform. Pens offer immediate, artistic control rather than waiting for a model to print. They’re also more compact and affordable versus a full 3D printer setup. But printers allow bigger, higher detailed prints by automating the process.
Is there any maintenance required for 3D pens?
Basic care includes keeping the nozzle and feed tube clean by regularly purging old filament. Wipe away plastic debris with a cloth. Maintain proper filament flow and check for clogs or jams. Don’t overtighten the nozzle. Clean the pen body with a soft brush and cloth. Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals.
What are some troubleshooting tips for 3D pens?
If filament won’t feed, check for obstructions and carefully unclog with included tools. Adjust temperature and try slower speeds for inconsistent flow. Allow full cooling before difficult filament changes. If plastic ooze, clean the nozzle and feed tube thoroughly. Ensure proper filament installation and seating. Gently straighten bent filament before loading.
What accessories do I need to use a 3D pen?
At minimum, you’ll need power adapter/charger, 3D pen plastic filament, and paper stencils or templates. Optional extras include additional nozzles, specialty blades, project books, storage case, remover solvent, and more. Many 3D pens include starter filament packs and templates in the box.
Start Creating Today with a 3D Pen
After reviewing the top models and factors to consider, you should feel confident choosing the best 3D printing pen to unleash your creativity. Whether you’re producing artistic sculptures, fixing old toys, or bringing product ideas to life, a quality 3D pen gets you designing straight from your imagination. With the right pen, the possibilities are truly endless.
So power one up, doodle some test lines, and start bringing your visions to reality today. Just take it slow and get a feel for the extrusion process at first. Before you know it, you’ll be drawing detailed 3D objects in midair and adding a whole new dimension to your creative projects. The world of 3D pen creation awaits – let’s get making!