Top 10 Best 3d Printing Pen Reviews in April 2020 – Buying Guide

Every artist or illustrator will appreciate the ability to create tangible images. Some years ago, this was not easy for artists to do as it required a 3D printer. 3D printers are too expensive for most. They are also cumbersome to manage. 3D printers only work in combination with a computer and special software. This has been the case until the invention of the 3D pen.

3D pens allow you to make physical images in a similar way as 3D printers. But this time without a computer or software. One can guide the pen by hand to make 3D drawings. Not only is this very flexible but also time-saving and easier.

The 3D pen is a recent invention. But the market is pretty flushed with all sorts of 3D pens – some better than others. Some not even worth half the cost. Many people are unable to figure out which to buy, and this leads to a waste of money and productivity. This article aims to give you all the help you need in deciding to choose the best 3D printing pen. You should be able to find one for any purpose. The article also suggests, based on thorough research, the best 3D pens in 2020. You are not likely to buy the wrong pen if you understand this guide, so read to the end.

Comparison of Table

Every item in this table has an OLED or LCD. All pens are also suitable for both kids and adults except one the MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen. All pens are compatible with ABS or PLA filaments. Pens also have intelligent temperature control.

Product NameTemperature/SpeedExtras/Filament Type 
Tecboss SL300 3d Pen (Editor’s Choice for Both Kids and Professionals)8 speed control,160-210℃finger protectors, five rolls filament, pen holder, supports PLA and ABS
Tecboss 3d Pen Pro mp01 (Editor’s Choice for Color Intensive Designs)6 speed setting, 170 - 230℃Finger protectors, 3 rolls filament, ABS/PLA, 3-color printing
Uzone 3d Pen8 speed control 160 – 210℃12 rolls filament, 2 finger protectors, sample work, pen holder, adapter, supports ABS/PLA
Mynt3d Professional Printing 3d Pen (Editor’s Choice for Professionals)
Stepless speed control, 130 - 240℃3 rolls ABS filament, Power adapter
Digihero 3d Printing Pen3-speed setting, 190 - 220℃12 rolls filament, finger, power adapter, USB cable, removal tool, pen holder
Betim-3d-Pen2-speed mode, 185 - 220℃12 rolls filament, automatic feeding, PLA/ABS, template, adapter, USB cable, scraper, mat, finger protectors
Dikale DKL-07A 3d Pen3 peed levels, 190 - 220℃12 rolls filament, 250 stencil eBook, finger protectors
Kt-Prase 3d Pen (Editor’s Choice for Kids)Adjustable speed/temperature, 60 - 240℃3 rolls of filament, adapter, USB cable
Nulaxy Robot 3d Pen3-speed level, ABS/PLA compatible6 rolls filament, pen holder, cleaning tool, voice prompt, 3D drawing stencil
Nulaxy 3d Pen3-speed level, ABS/PLA compatibleABS material, Drawing Stencil, 100ft PLA Filament, 2 Finger stalls


01. Tecboss SL300 – Best Budget 3d Pen

Best Budget 3D Pen

This pen has more than proved its worthiness. Not only is it the best budget pen, but also the best on this list. Apart from the wonderful features it packs, the pen has garnered over 500 user reviews. It also has a near five-star rating. The testament of hundreds of satisfied buyers is more than enough proving. The TECBOSS 3D Pen is a great value for money. It is almost the go-to choice for any buyer. Its design has the most popular filament types in mind – the PLA and ABS.

This intelligent 3D pen features up to 8 level printing speed. The speed options are adequate for amateurs, kids, and expert users alike. Flexibility in speed has a great advantage. It ensures that you can find a setting that is right for your purpose and skill level. It also has an adjustable temperature range of between 160 and 210 degrees. With this temperature range, you can use most of the filament types on the market today. The adjustable temperature gives you the option to control the overheating of the device. This makes it safer for kids to use. It is a recommendation that kids use it under the watchful eye of an adult.

Extra Feature

The USB charging mechanism ensures that you can use accessories. For example, power banks or a direct socket. This makes the TECBOSS SL300 a mobile 3D pen, and a perfect gift for both adults and kids. There is also the LED light that displays status for temperature, speed, and material type. The TECBOSS SL300 has a simple handheld design. The design makes it convenient for young and mature hands alike.

The 3D pen is so reliable that it can work for over 20 hours without any problems. For the type of gear it carries, this pen is light and heats up pretty fast. – Within seconds from standby mode. The nozzle is strong. The end gets warmer as your fingers slide down to warn you against touching the danger zone. It is certainly a great value for the price.

Pros

  • Up to 8 Level Speed Setting
  • Great Price for the Quality
  • Supports a Wide Range of Filament Types
  • USB Charging

Cons

  • Cord a Bit Too Short
  • A bit of oozing

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02. Tecboss MP01 3D Pen Pro – Best 3d Art Pen

Best 3D Art Pen

TECBOSS 3d pen that is the world’s first multi-filament 3d pen. It is designed for both children and adults. It can load and extrude up to three different colors simultaneously. How wonderful for those who work on projects with color segregation. This should be the ultimate choice for such a task. It does appear this brand is good at what they do.

The design is simple and makes for a good grip in small hands like those of the kids. On paper, the size may appear too big for children, but it turns out to be perfect. The big size has been calculated for ultimate convenience. It is light for that size.

It has a smart control panel with a relatively large OLED display. This enables you to read or adjust certain features like target temperature, speed level, and filament quantity, among others. The pen also has separate controls for the speed and heat.

The 6-speed setting allows you to find the speed level for your best performance. It also helps keep clogging to a minimum. With the TECBOSS MP01 Pro, you can use a flexible filament to make things like bracelets that bend. Not only is it easy to use, but there is also hardly any problem with clogging. It is a reliable 3d pen that isn’t going to break in a month, even with heavy use. It will hold up pretty well with hours of continuous work.

Extra Feature

The package also comes with enough extra filaments to complete a small project. This is a big plus. The price parallels others of similar quality but without any attractive extras.

The pen motor enjoys a superior upgrade than previous versions. It works well with the most popular filaments – PLA and ABS. It handles anything within a temperature range of 170 – 230. The cheap 3d printing pen heats up and cools pretty quickly.

You can draw in one, two, or three colors simultaneously. The effect can be a rainbow-like color, and you get to switch between colors with convenience. You can switch the colors without interrupting the project you are working on. The big size of the pen makes you rarely have to change the filament.

You only have to push a slider forward to start using a particular color and slide back to the center when done. You can mix colors to create a rainbow 3d drawing. It doesn’t blend the colors. It looks more like aqua fresh toothpaste with three distinct sections on one extrusion.

Pros

  • Up to 6-Speed Settings
  • Print in Three Colors Simultaneously
  • Has a Wide Temperature Range
  • Comes with Extras

Cons

  • Instructions Not Very Clear
  • Does Not Support USB Charging

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03.  Uzone – Best Pen for Kids

Best 3D Pen for Kids

This pen comes with several rolls of 1.75mm PLA filament. There are 12 different PLA colors, ten feet each. It also has an extra 2 finger protectors. The package also comes with a sample of very easy things to make as a beginner.

The Uzone 3D printing pen is made of ABS material. It features smart temperature control and adjustable 8-speed printing control. It gives the ability to adjust temperature and printing speed. Professionals and amateurs never fail to appreciate this.

The intelligent temperature control minimizes the risk of scalding. The fast heat dissipation technology also works towards that end. The adjustable temperature ranges between 160 – 210 degrees. The nozzle is a quality aircraft-grade ceramic which can endure high temperature. Its interior is smoothened for a seamless flow of filaments. The motor is of high quality with a stable rotation. The design of this 3D pen reduces clogging to a minimum.

This pen is compatible with both PLA and ABS filaments. It also comes with a pen holder and a stencil. The pen is suitable for children over eight but under adult supervision. There is a 12-month guarantee on this product.

This pen features an LCD panel for monitoring the temperature at any time. It can be charged up for wireless use and heats up within seconds. The manual contains trouble-shooting instructions for clogging. It automatically after being idle for 2 minutes.

It is a good pen for both engineers and artists alike as it can be used reliably for hours. You can operate the pen even without reading instructions. That is due to the simple and intuitive design. The manual explains in good detail. It is best to use the same filament brand that came with it, but it can still be used with third-party brands.

Pros

  • Up to 8-Speed Setting
  • Supports a Wide Range of Filaments
  • USB Charging and Battery
  • Lots of Extras

Cons

  • Not so Good Packaging
  • Filament Leakage 1 – 2 Seconds after Use
  • LCD May Be Too Small for Clear Reading

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04. Mynt3d – Professional 3d Printing Pen

3d Printing Pen

The 3D pen has an adjustable speed and flows for optimal control. The temperature is adjustable in 1-degree graduations from 130 to 240 degrees. It has a large OLED display to let you monitor the temperature. The temperature control helps fine-tune thickness and flow rate of extruded material. Any filament that is not more than 1.75mm and melts within 130-240°C will work fine with this 3D pen.

The MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D pen comes with a bonus of 3 rolls of ABS filament in three colors. It also comes with nozzle replacement tools. This pen will be a great fit for people who work with objects that need different line thicknesses. You could buy a set of nozzles and use conveniently with the pen. This is a tool for professional artists and engineers.

The pen has an ergonomic design and a one year warranty. The item weighs 13.1 ounces. It is suitable for both engineers and artists and seems to be made specifically for these groups of users. It is also designed to be used with any thermoplastic. You could use wood and bronze infused filaments. It works with nearly any 1.75mm filament under the sun and has a 1-year limited warranty.

The speed can adjust to fast, slow, and anywhere in between. You can crank up the extrusion speed for larger fill in areas and dial it down to create intricate works of art. The non-step design allows for the dial-in of the ultimate speed for any task you throw at it. Plus, this gadget rarely clogs. Not to worry as it unclogs easily.

Extra Feature

The ergonomic design keeps the controls always within reach. You get to maneuver the pen in ways that will be impossible for a larger design. The USB powered pen makes it compatible with power banks that have at least 2A output. This gives you the option to take your projects outside on the go.

It has a modular nozzle design that can be replaced within minutes. This is helpful since a temperature mistake could occur with disastrous results. It is also lightweight and comes with a 100-240V AC 50/60Hz adapter. A power output of 10 watts with an input power of 5V or DC 2A makes it safe for outdoor use. FCC, CE, and RoHS certify the MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D pen.

It can easily be dismantled and fixed if need be. The pen is lighter than most. It also feeds plastic in two ways. You can hold down the button, which stops the feed when released. You can double-click the feed button, and it will continuously feed. This is good for achieving flow appropriate for each plastic. The customer service is great.

Pros

  • Supports a Wider Range of Filaments
  • Feeds Plastic Two Ways
  • Easy to Dismantle
  • Mobile

Cons

  • Pricy
  • Non-Kid Friendly
  • No Finger Protectors, You Have to Buy

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05. DigiHero 3d Printing Pen – Perfect Gift for Kids

Perfect Gift for Kids

This pen comes with a 1.75mm PLA filament bundle of 12 colors, each 10ft long. The pen is compatible with both ABS and PLA filament. It has three adjustable printing temperature and speed modes. There is an advanced LCD that displays the corresponding speed and temperature of the material.

It has a USB power adapter. This 3D pen can be charged on the go, by power bank, laptop, or similar devices. The operating temperature is between 190 – 220 degrees. The pen will automatically switch to standby mode if idle for 3 minutes. It comes with a power adapter, micro USB cable, and a holder. It also comes with free samples.

The pen is convenient for children from 5 years and above. One very special feature of the Digihero 3D Printing Pen is that the pen is waterproof. This can be good for work while camping. The pen is also lightweight, well designed, and comfortable in hand.

The pen comes with a full instructional manual. One of the controls will feed the wire automatically. This pen is especially good for stenciling. Kind of makes it a product for adults even though it is friendly to kids too.

Extra Feature

There is a rare case of leakage, and except for the tip, this pen does not over-heat. The pen has a retract button that is designed to control clogging. It takes a couple of seconds while keeping it pressed to retract. There is also a sleep function that retracts the filament, so that does not clog the tip for the next use.

The price is pretty low for the quality it provides. It comes with a cool little stand for when you set it down between uses and charges quickly too. It is a convenient tool for mending 3D objects. This pen is designed in such a way that it stops automatically every 8 minutes. And you have to click on the “load” to start it working again.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Automatic Feeding of Filament
  • Supports USB Charging
  • Lots of Extras

Cons

  • The Lowest Speed Is Too Slow
  • This Pen May Get Too Hot

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06. BeTIM – Bes Art Printing Pens

Bes 3D Art Printing Pens

This 3D printing pen comes with a bundle of PLA filaments in 12 different colors. It also comes with a mat. It features an LCD screen for monitoring the temperature and speed. It is designed in such a way as to minimize clogging. The pen is suitable for both adults and children.

It also has an automatic-feed and auto-sleep function. The 3D pen comes with two-finger protectors to avoid scalding. The protectors make it safer for kids. It has two adjustable printing speed and temperature control. The speed allows for monitoring the temperature of material and extrusion speed. It is compatible with both PLA and ABS filament and has a one year warranty. It supports temperatures between 185 – 220 degrees.

The templates that come with this pen are kid-friendly. The plastic cover sheet can be put on anything to trace it with the filament. Cases of clogging are pretty rare, provided one follows instructions. The instructional manual is very easy to follow.

The pen has to be plugged in at all times during use, as it takes a lot of power. There is no battery in this pen. When plugged in, it makes a sound to let you know it is ready for use. It heats up pretty fast. This pen is perfect for beginners, for it has a small learning curve. The pen is lightweight and has a comfortable grip. It takes seconds to warm and seconds to load a filament. This device is great for the price. It also comes with a pen stand that works.

Extra Feature

The problem is that one button controls many functions. One button loads change temperature and change speed. The speed is a little inconsistent, but this is not a big deal when you get used to it. It also comes with a scraper. It is good enough to hold onto being used continuously. The finger protectors are made of silicon, and the power cable is long. This gives you a wide radius of activity.

Pros

  • Supports a Wide Temperature Range
  • Automatic Feeding of Plastic
  • Lots of Extras
  • Easy to Follow Instructional Manual

Cons

  • Has to Be Plugged in before Use
  • Does Not Cancel an “Unload” Operation
  • A Little Noisy

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07. Dikale DKL-07A – PLA Filament Refills Best 3d Drawing Pen

3d Drawing Pen

This 3D pen comes with a bonus of 12 colors 120ft PLA filament, and 250 stencil eBook. The extras also include two finger protectors.

This is the newest version and model by Dikale. It is made of ABS material. It is designed for both kids and adults. You can use it to fix a worn-out cable or improve a kitchen hook. It is convenient for making repairs on prints, like adding hair, eye, mouth, to a robot.

Its intelligent temperature control keeps scalding in check. This makes it safer for kids. Plus, fast heat dissipation technology. There are three temperature and speed modes for this 3D pen. The operating temperature is adjustable within 190℃-220℃. The Dikale DKL-07A 3D pen is compatible with 1.75mm filaments.

The nozzle is made of aircraft-grade ceramic with a smooth interior. This makes it endure high temperatures and also minimizes clogging. The nozzle can easily be removed to unclog it. The motor has a stable rotation speed and strong power output to ensure a smooth operation. The advanced LCD screen displays the corresponding speed. The controls are well placed for a medium sized hand. There is a feed-forward control used for loading filament. It also features an unload button for ejecting non-melted filament to change color. It has a USB charging mechanism that enables it to work with any power bank.

This pen is quite easy for a 7-year-old to pick up and use. It also heats up fast. Clogging is rare, and the operational manual is easy to understand. It has a 12-month warranty and 24 hour reliable support service. The pen produces a steady flow of filament.

Pros

  • Supports a Wide Temperature Range
  • Automatic Feeding of Plastic
  • Lots of Extras
  • Easy to Follow Instructional Manual

Cons

  • Has to Be Plugged in before Use
  • Does Not Cancel an “Unload” Operation
  • A Little Noisy

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08. KT-Prase – Best 3D Art Pen for Kids

Best 3D Pen for Kids

This one is designed with kids in mind, but can also be used by adults. It has the lowest and widest temperature range on this list and is the cheapest by far, though it is relatively new. The pen has the flexibility of mobile use as it has a USB power cable compatible with any mobile power bank. It is good for ABS and PLA 1.75mm filament. Do not use PCL or similar filament with this 3D pen as it can damage it.

The pen is lightweight and easy to handle by kids. The speed can be regulated for optimal results. Temperature is also adjustable between 60 – 245 degrees. Increments of 1 degree can vary. The OLED display gives real-time monitoring of heat. The nozzle is made of ceramic, and the pen automatically sleeps after 2 minutes of being idle.

The pen is easy to dismantle in the event of clogging. It comes with a 5 meters long power cord.

Although there is no use review currently on amazon for this 3D pen, it made our list based on a couple of features. The first thing is that this pen has a wide temperature range, wider than any on this list. This makes it suitable for kids who can work with filaments that require 60 degree heat to work well. It is also the cheapest 3D pen on this list, selling for about $15.

It comes with other features like the adjustable speed, temperature, and OLED display. It is compatible with a power bank.

Pros

  • Very Kid-Friendly
  • Support Temperature Range from 60 – 245 Degrees
  • USB Charging
  • Easy to Dismantle

Cons

  • Does Not Support PCL Filament
  • Does Not Come with Many Extras

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09. Nulaxy – Best Robot 3D Pen with Voice

Best Robot 3D Pen with Voice

This 3D pen comes with PLA filament refills. It is designed to be non-clogging and quite easy to use for both kids and adults.

The Nulaxy 3D pen itself is made of ABS material. It has an aircraft-grade ceramic nozzle and rubber pen body. It comes with two finger stall to provide good anti-scalding protection. It has an ultra-silent motor. The high quality motor reduces the risk of clogging. It also provides a stable, smooth extrusion. It is easy to dismantle for unclogging. A very good device for easy repair or reinforcement of items printed on a 3D printer. You will also find it a handy tool to add gussets or extra material anywhere needed.

The package comes with 100ft three color PLA filaments as extras. There is also a 3D drawing stencil, two finger stalls, templates, and other accessories. The extra filaments are in three colors of red, yellow, and blue. It has an 18-month quality guarantee and 24 hour response service. This gives a pretty good impression of the confidence of this brand to satisfy users.

It also has speed and temperature adjustment. It has low, medium, and high operating speed. There are separate keys for temperature and speed setting. It is compatible with both PLA and ABS filament. It is compatible with 1.75mm filaments, and there is a button to change the operation mode between PLA and ABS. It has an ergonomic body structure for a comfortable grip by both kids and adults. The company recommends that children should use under supervision. It is a 3D pen suitable for children eight years and above. However, a child of 5 can use it pretty well under supervision due to the good grip and lightweight.

Extra Feature

Any regular paper works fine with the pen. The manual only mentions ABS and PLA filaments. However, the temperature range suggests other filaments like PCL may be compatible. The temperature limitation is 230 degrees, and the pen heats up pretty fast. Usage instructions and troubleshooting directions are easy to follow

The Nulaxy 3D pen is compatible with DC 5V-2A for power supply. It comes with a 5V-2A power adapter. The power voltage is recommended to be 120V. The pen does shut off automatically after 2 minutes if unused. It does not have a battery, so it has to be plugged in at all times to use. The adapter for the Nulaxy 3D pen supports 110V – 220V of power supply.

Pros

  • Very Kid-Friendly
  • Support Temperature Range from 60 – 245 Degrees
  • USB Charging
  • Easy to Dismantle

Cons

  • Does Not Support PCL Filament
  • Does Not Come with Many Extras

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10. Nulaxy – Best 3D Printing Pen for Professionals

Best Printing Pen for Professionals

This 3D pen comes with PLA filament refills. It is designed to be non-clogging and quite easy to use for both kids and adults.

The Nulaxy 3D pen itself is made of ABS material. It has an aircraft-grade ceramic nozzle, rubber pen body, and two finger stall to provide good anti-scalding protection. It has an ultra-silent motor that reduces the risk of clogging and provides a stable, smooth extrusion. It is easy to dismantle for unclogging. A very good device for easy repair or reinforcement of items printed on a 3D printer. You will also find it a handy tool to add gussets or extra material anywhere needed.

The package comes with 100ft three color PLA filaments as extras. There is also a 3D drawing stencil, 2 finger stalls, templates, and other accessories. The extra filaments are in three colors of red, yellow, and blue. It has an 18-month quality guarantee and 24 hour response service. This gives a pretty good impression of the confidence of this brand to satisfy users.

It also has speed and temperature adjustment. It has low, medium, and high operating speed. There are separate keys for temperature and speed setting. It is compatible with both PLA and ABS filament. It is compatible with 1.75 mm filaments, and there is a button to change the operation mode between PLA and ABS. It has an ergonomic body structure for a comfortable grip by both kids and adults. The company recommends that children should use under supervision. It is a 3D pen suitable for children 8 years and above. However, a child of 5 can use it pretty well under supervision due to the good grip and lightweight.

Extra Feature

Any regular paper works fine with the pen. The manual only mentions ABS and PLA filaments. However, the temperature range suggests other filaments like PCL may be compatible. The temperature limitation is 230 degrees, and the pen heats up pretty fast. Usage instructions and troubleshooting directions are easy to follow

The Nulaxy 3D pen is compatible with DC 5V-2A for power supply. It comes with a 5V-2A power adapter. The power voltage is recommended to be 120V. The pen does shut off automatically after 2 minutes if unused. It does not have a battery, so it has to be plugged in at all times to use. The adapter for the Nulaxy 3D pen supports 110V – 220V of power supply.

Pros

  • Wide Temperature Range
  • Easy to Unclog
  • User and Kid-Friendly Design
  • Ultra-Silent Motor

Cons

  • There Have Been Reports of Incorrect Labeling on the Pen
  • Inadequate Cleaning Instructions

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Editor’s Choices – Best 3D Printing Pen Reviews

TECBOSS SL300 3D Pen is the best overall on this list. It strikes a good balance between all kinds of purposes a 3D pen can be bought for. It also comes at a great price. This pen has satisfied hundreds of buyers on Amazon who come back to leave very powerful reviews about the product. Whether you are a professional designer, a hobbyist, or a kid, the pen should meet your needs.

With up to 8 speed levels and a temperature range of 160 – 210 degrees, this 3D pen will work with most types of filaments today. The reliability of this pen is like no other. There are cases of people using it for up to 20 hours without experiencing any downgrade in performance. Cases of clogging are pretty rare. The speed and temperature settings work smoothly. Filament flow is steady. Dismantling is also easy. There is no overheating or noises during operation.

The best 3D pen for professionals is the MYNT3D 3D Pen. It is designed to handle all kinds of filament within 130 – 240 degrees. It is very reliable for heavy design work.

The best option for kids is the KT-PRASE 3D Pen. Apart from the extra features, it comes with. This pen has the widest temperature range on this list. It can handle filaments that melt at temperatures as low as 60 degrees, making it the safest pen for kids on our list.

If you have projects that require different colors, the TECBOSS PRO MP01 3D Pen is the best option on our list. It lets you work with up to three colors simultaneously. You can switch the colors without interrupting the project you are working on. The big size of the pen makes you rarely have to change the filament.

Best 3D Art Printing Pen – Buying Guide

If you are new to using a 3D printer pen, which I guess you are, there are several things to note before deciding to buy one. All 3D pens are made to produce live objects or models. But the degree to which each is effective largely depends on several factors. You need first to figure out the purpose for which you are buying the pen.

There are all sorts of reasons to purchase a 3D pen. You may want to use it for artistic designs or illustrations. It could also be for fun, to model objects, or as a toy for your kids. Whatever you want to use it for, different kinds of 3D pens are suitable for different tasks. If you buy the wrong type now, you will be buying again soon. By understanding the purposes, strengths, and weaknesses of each feature, you are better positioned to make the right choice. Let’s start by describing the Filament. Filaments happen to be the ink of every 3D pen.

The types of filament a 3D pen can use will greatly affect your drawing experience. There are several filaments on the market, each with at least one characteristic that distinguishes it from the others. Filaments differ in melting point, solidification time, cost, availability, strength, durability, malleability, smell, toxicity, the propensity to clogging, and a couple of other features. That is why you should scrutinize a 3D pen thoroughly for the type of filament it is capable of handling. We will briefly describe the most common filaments for 3D pens with their most important features. You should be able to figure out which filament is best for your purpose after understanding this guide.

Thermoplastic or Photosensitive

All 3D inks or filaments are either thermoplastic or photosensitive. Thermoplastic means they melt with heat and solidify when cooled. Photosensitive means they solidify when exposed to a certain kind of light. Individual filaments have unique chemical compositions. The difference in chemical composition is what accounts for the variations in the features mentioned above. For example, the PLA filament is made from starch, making it biodegradable, while others like ABS is based on oil.

This difference in chemical composition has a direct effect on glass transition temperature – the temperature at which the filament turns into a rubbery substance and extrudes through the nozzle.

But why is it important to know the properties of a filament before buying a 3D pen? Well, you need to know the properties of each filament to decide on the best option for your project since the properties of a filament makes it suitable for certain kinds of 3D pen. The following is a brief description of the most common filaments for a 3D pen. Included here are the four most common types. There are others you could lookup. We will concentrate on these four because they are the ones you are most likely going to be using.

PLA filaments

Polylactic acid (PLA) is made from plant based material, mostly corn, and it biodegrades easily. It is popular for 3D printing because it flows and hardens fast, making it very easy to print with. Its popularity is also a result of it having the lowest printing temperature (190-240°C) among all filament types for a 3D pen. PLA prints best at 210°C, but can still work anywhere between 180 and 230 °C. It is also non-toxic and has the smell of popcorn when melted.

PLA is glossier than others like ABS, which happens to be its biggest competitor, and it comes in semi-transparent varieties. It bonds well to clothes, other plastics, and paper. Bonding to paper makes it less convenient for tasks like stencil based drawing; however, less so with glossy or semi-glossy paper. The downside of PLA is that it degrades when exposed to moisture and sunlight, which means you must be careful with designs you intend to keep for a long time. Another downside is that PLA is brittle.

ABS filaments

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common and versatile plastic. It is made from mostly petroleum based raw material that does not biodegrade easily but can be recycled. This makes ABS a better option than PLA for objects that are intended to last. ABS does give up an unpleasant smell when melted, though not too unpleasant. It can also produce toxic fumes when dissolved in acid or heated to a substantially higher temperature than for a normal 3D pen, say at above 400°C. But it is safe since the temperature of 3D pens does not reach 400°C, and you are not going to be dissolving ABS in acid.

To 3D draw, ABS requires a bit higher temperature than PLA, typically (225-250°C), and best at a nozzle temperature of 210 to 250 °C. It provides one of the best drawing experience as it allows you to draw in the air. It looks glossy and in many forms like glow-in-the-dark, wood-like, metal-like, and so on, but not transparent.

It was the most popular filament until recently when PLA displaced it. ABS is more difficult to print with than PLA. It can also release toxic fumes when burnt at over 400°C or exposed to strong acids. Apart from these two extremely unlikely scenarios, ABS is safe to use.

A disadvantage of ABS is that it has limited flexibility, degrades with prolonged exposure to sunlight, no translucent options, and releases some bad odor.

Flexy or TPU/TPE (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) Filaments

FLEXY filaments work at temperatures similar to that of ABS. their greatest advantage is the flexibility and elasticity they bring to 3D drawing. This filament can be used to draw things that can be made use of, like shoes, phone casing, etc. their nature makes it difficult to break, and they last longer than many other filament types. If you intend to be designing things for everyday use as opposed to toys or models to keep somewhere, this filament is good for you. The downside of FLEXY is that it is a lot more expensive than most of its counterparts. It also has fewer special options available and degrades with prolonged exposure to sunlight.

PCL Filaments

The polycaprolactone (PCL) is a non-toxic, biodegradable polyester. The special thing with this filament is that it works at a comparatively low temperature of 60°C. That makes it suitable for 3D pens that are meant for or can be used by kids. It is also ideal for DIY repair jobs due to the fact that it can conveniently be reshaped in hot water. PCL also takes longer to solidify thereby giving you a chance to correct any drawing mistakes. It is softer than ABS and PLA, but still offers great flexibility with creativity such that you could draw pretty complex and detailed models. PCL is also a superb choice of stencils as it peels off effortlessly from paper.

Well, it does have a couple of disadvantages. Its softness makes it a less convenient choice for weight-bearing designs. And because it takes longer to harden, you will have a hard time drawing in the air. It also does not last long and degrades and melts when exposed to sunlight for a while.

When Assessing a 3d Pen

As you already know, every 3D pen has the same major purpose: to make 3D artsy. But not every 3D pen fulfills this purpose – at least not without disappointment. A 3D pen works with filaments that melt within a particular temperature range. If a 3D printing pen does not generate enough heat to melt any filament, then it is useless.

When assessing a 3D printing pen, the first thing to look at is the range of temperature it supports. You must have decided what filament is best for your project. Before hitting the checkout button, look to see that the 3D printing pen can melt the filaments you are going to be using. Every 3D pen indicates in the specification, the range of temperature it operates.

The 3D pen should have a temperature range that adjusts easily and reliably. 3D pen with static temperature cannot work with certain filaments that require a higher or lower heat level. The adjustable-temperature 3D pens give you the flexibility to choose between wider varieties of filaments. However, your filament of choice should fall between the upper and lower levels of temperature for a particular 3D pen. For example, if you intend to use a filament that requires 60 degrees and the 3D pen has a temperature range of 190 – 240 degrees, then it is unsuitable. You need something that can adjust down to 60 degrees. The greater the range of temperature a 3D pen supports, the better.

Speed

Another very important factor to consider when buying a 3D pen is the speed at which it extrudes filaments. If it is too slow, the filaments just extruded will solidify close to the nozzle and cause a jam in the motor. It will also lead to poor design as the filament solidifies when you don’t want it to. You will end up sending that 3D pen straight to the trash. On the other hand, if the extrusion speed is too fast, you will have difficulty producing any meaningful object. It may be impossible to draw. You will end up making a big mess of a splash every time to try to draw. So what you need is a budget 3D printing pen that has an adjustable speed setting – the more speed levels, the better. A 6-speed is better than a 3-speed 3D pen of the same quality.

Battery

Some 3D pens have a battery; others only work with a USB and other charging cables. Which one to buy will depend widely on your working environment. If you want to work on your project on the go, then a 3D pen that has a battery or at least supports USB charging is what you need. With a USB charger, you can use a mobile power bank with a pen. The problem with a battery-powered 3D pen is that the pen might be too heavy or support lower temperatures only. Some power cords can also get in your way while drawing. You are also limited within a certain radius of activity.

Kids and Adults

You will also find 3D pens that are suitable for both kids and adults. Some are only meant for adults like artists and engineers. Others are just for kids. Which one you buy depends on whether you intend to hand it down to your kids or if they will have access to it. A general purpose 3D pen is most preferred as you can make use of it as well as your kids. This eliminates the need to buy one for them.

On the other hand, a general purpose 3D pen can be unsafe for kids. It supports a higher temperature than a 3D pen designed specifically for kids. You may need always to supervise their use to prevent accidents.

The nozzle diameter and filament diameter for the 3D pen are also very important – though not a problem for most users. If your 3D work requires lines of varying thickness, you will need a 3D pen that the nozzle can be adjusted or easy to change and comes with a set of nozzles with different diameters.

Price is also a very important factor. Want to get a 3D pen fairly cheap, or at least be worth the price you are paying for it. Thankfully, there is so much competition in the 3D industry that prices have dropped significantly. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a 3D pen that is both reliable and cheap.

Extras

You also need to know the extras that the best 3D pen comes with. This varies by brand and model. You may get as high as 120ft extra filament or just 30ft – in some cases maybe even nothing. Some will come with a mat, stencil, samples, a holder or stand, scrapper, USB cord, etc. it is not easy to find one that comes with everything. It will be a combination of some accessories listed here. Accessories are also very important if you want the best 3D experience with your pen.

Reliability

Finally, and most importantly, you want to buy something that can last a long time. There should be no disappointment. The pen must also be easy to maintain. Due to the sheer variety and brands out there, it is very difficult to determine the reliability of a 3D printer pen. This is especially the case with new models or brands. Your best option is to find as many user reviews on a particular product as possible. Amazon is a good place for this. Do not use expert reviews alone. They are not half as reliable as user reviews.

We have made a selection of the top ten 3D pens based on extensive research. We have mined a lot of user reviews to have a deeper understanding of each item on this list. We took user reviews on amazon seriously for every product on our list. We also considered all the features outlined in this article plus a few less important ones to reach our conclusion.

Be sure to go through the buyer guide in this article. It will help you understand more about assessing the capabilities of a 3D pen. You will also most likely avoid mistakes many others have made while shopping online. This is the case, especially when buying a new model 3D pen.

Conclusion

You can only do your best to acquire information necessary for the right buying decision. In the end, whether or not you end up buying the best 3D pen depends on a bit of luck. No matter how good a brand or product is, there will always be a negative side. Sometimes it may be as a result of buying a defective product. Thankfully, most online stores have favorable return policies for buyers. If you fully understand this article and made good use of user reviews for a particular 3D pen and the online store, you are not likely to regret a purchase.