3Doodler PRO Review: The New 3D Creative Pen
It’s finally out, the 3Doodler Pro has hit the market with a vengeance. It has been specifically designed to make manual 3D printing through a hand held device even easier than its predecessors.
Boasting to be the world’s first and most advanced 3D printing pen, it is designed specifically for creative professional and beginners alike.
Let us take a look and see what the fuss is all about and how it varies from previous models.
We think you will be pleasantly surprised!
- 1 3Doodler PRO Printer Pen
- 2 3Doodler PRO Differences & Similarities
- 3 3Doodler Pro vs 3Doodler 2.0 Comparison
- 4 Switching Material & Removing Plastics
- 5 5 Reasons Why The 3D Pen Is Next Gen Of 3D Printing
- 6 3Doodler PRO F.A.Q
- 6.1 What Is The 3Doodler Price Tag?
- 6.2 What Comes With The 3Doodler Bundle Kit?
- 6.3 How Noisy Is The 3Doodler PRO Pen?
- 6.4 Is The 3Doodler PRO Pen Available Only For Right Handers?
- 6.5 Can I Change The Nozzles Of My Pen When It’s Switched Off?
- 6.6 How Long Can I Use The 3Doodler PRO Nonstop?
- 6.7 Where can I get 3Doodler Stencils For My First Creations?
- 7 Customer Support
- 8 Links & Resources
3Doodler PRO Printer Pen
The 3Doodler pen grew to fame back in 2014 when WobbleWorks LLC decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their amazing pen that could draw in thin air, and the rest as some would say is history. So what exactly is so different about the new Pro model? Like many upgrades, they are just a better, quicker more accurate version of the older models. Its function works on the same principles to a hot glue gun that is loaded with thermoplastic sticks and when heated, comes out of the end whereby you apply the glue. However, one of the main differences is that with a glue gun, you apply the glue on a surface, but with the 3Doodler you can draw in three dimensions which means drawing in the air thanks to the quick-drying materials that WobbleWorks LLC have on offer.
Although the PRO version of the 3Doodler pen can easily be used by the novice user, it is mainly designed for the more ambitious and creative professional (hence the model’s name) for quick prototyping and communicating ideas in 3D form at the lowest possible running cost. The multipurpose freehand pen caters for professionals in various fields of business such as engineers, architects, artists and general designers. They managed to achieve this by designing a pen that can extrude in several materials such as metal (that can be polished up), wood (that can be sanded down) and plastics. Learn more on the materials. Even though details are not out yet, it is believed that the current variation of materials has reached a count of 65, giving professionals from all walks of life plenty of choice to create visually accurate prototypes for all to see and admire. One major advantage the PRO pen has over conventional 3D printers is providing that flexibility of being creative and applying your ideas in a more spontaneous manner which in turn allows users to “run wild”. This freedom is somewhat limited when designing on 3D packages as the user has to focus his/her attention on understanding the software’s features to achieve the desired results. This in turn restricts the user from naturally flowing further ideas to the model. Another plus, you are not limited to the size of your prints, which with tranditional 3D printers are restricted based on the size of the printer itself. Therefore, the bigger you want your prints, the bigger and more expensive the 3D printer needs to be. This may seem like a somewhat gimmick statement to make, however, artist Grace Du Prez has gone as far as to demonstrate this by drawing in 3D a life size Nissan Qashqai Black Edition crossover SUV that used over 8 miles of filament and took approximately 800 hours to complete… Now try doing that with a 3D printer!
3Doodler PRO Differences & Similarities
So what are the main differences from older models? For one, it is designed to be more precise and easier to control thanks to a considerable amount of new introduced features. It does however, take more time to learn these new features before you start to benefit from its ease, flexibility and productivity. The pen has been built from the ground up with a revamped and improved drive system designed to keep it going for longer and more intense sessions while also handling a range of materials.
Carbon Fiber Body
The 3Doodler Pro pen is relatively bulky compared to its predecessors and it has to be to accommodate its inner workings. The pen needs to deal with a whole host of different materials that contain different densities along with many new features that will be discuss below. Therefore. to keep the pen as light weight as possible, WobbleWorks LLC have decided to build the pen’s body out of Carbon Fiber, which also provides added durability.
Added Battery Pack
Along with the power adapter that is required to power up your Pro pen, WobbleWorks LLC have also included a battery pack for untethered drawing. This can be particularly useful when cable length restriction can come into play when drawing large life size object or when creating complex 3D models at acute angles whereby causing the cable to get in the way.
LCD Temperature Display
One of the main differences with the PRO version is its LCD temperature display combined with an LED light, both working in tandem to inform you when the pen is ready for use. You turn the temperature dial to the required temperature (depending on the material you are using) and the display will show the temperature building up in Celsius or Fahrenheit until reaching the programmed setting, which is when the LED light turns from red to blue.
6 Piece Nozzle Set
The 3Doodler PRO will come with a range of 6 nozzles to give your more flexibility on the extrusion and the type of desired finish required. With the set, will come a key for removing the nozzles which also acts as the casing to house the nozzles inside to keep everything together in one secure place.
How to remove the nozzle
Step 1: Turn on pen. Step 2: Heat the pen up to at least 180 degrees Celsius. Step 3: Place the key over the nozzle and unscrew it in a counter-clockwise direction. Step 4: Make sure the pen is still at least 180 degrees Celsius before screwing replacing the new nozzle. Step 5: Use the key to screw back a new nozzle in a clockwise direction.
Adjustable Fan Speeds
The built in 2-speed variable fan is yet an other feature catered to give the user more flexibility when creating their design. Being able to control how quickly your material cools is directly related to your proficiency of the pen. For example, if you are a quick worker, then you will want the material to cool quickly and become sturdy before adding or applying the next layer(s). Whereas slower users might want their material to cool less quickly to give them more time to build up the material on the model.
Materials Types For 3Doodler Pro
Now this is what gives the 3Doodler the “PRO” in its model name. It is the vast array of various materials that are on offer to compliment each professional in their niche (for example architects can add wood to the models for life like aesthetics).
Nylon (semi flexible)
The nylon filament is a polymer plastic who molecules are similar to that in shape of metal chains which is what gives it its strength, durability and semi-flexibility. This unit chemistry make up means it can be dyed, giving you the flexibility of dying your filament strand to any color you want to add visual accuracy to your prototypes. Typically these are the same dyes that are often used on wool and other clothing made up of animal fibers. Simply dissolve the dye with some salt in enough water to cover your filament strand and allow it to move freely in a container. Heat it to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes and then add some vinegar and simmer for an other 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Ideally, polycarbonate, which is a thermoplastic, is one of the preferred materials used for rapid prototyping due to its ability to cool and solidify very quickly. It also has a high melting point and therefore is able to resist high temperature exposures without effecting the model’s structure, shape or integrity. An other advantage to using polycarbonate is its ability to bend it while cold without cracking or deforming in shape, giving the user that flexibility and forgiveness is he / she is a little too slow to shaping the model.
Flexy is a rubber type compound that may be used for creating flexible designs, hence the name “Flexy”. It is highly flexible which in itself makes it strong with some stretch. This material is perfect for models that need to bend or strech somewhat, such as the new fashion of prining out clothing or wallets that need a little give to allow for movement.
An anagram for Poly Lactic Acid. PLA is an organic biodegradable based material derived from renewable resources such as sugarcane, tapioca and corn starch (depending on which part of the world you are in). PLA is an easier and safer material to use (compared to ABS) but due to its low melting point, it has a tendency to warp, melt or crack at high ambient temperatures and therefore cannot really be used for mechanical or load-bearing components.
An anagram for Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Styrene. ABS is an oil based plastic (thermoplastic polymer) used to create strong and robust plastic objects that are normally designed for everyday use such as for households, vehicle molds and electrical light switch and casings. As it is oil based it is not biodegradable nor a renewable source.
Of course the 3Doodler is not physically capable of melting 100% organic wood and extruding it through the pen. The material is a composite which is made up of a brown powder made from wood chips. The result when extruded is a surface with a sandy look that can also be sanded down which is perfect for architectural models.
Copper / Bronze
Similarly to the wood material, the 3Doodle Pro does not melt pure metal, it too is made up of a composite which contains copper / bronze powder to give that metallic finish that can also be polished up after it hardens.
Note: Currently all 3Doodler pen refills packs contain 25 strands. Of course each of these materials have a different chemical makeup, such as different melting points and densities, so the pen has to cater for such differences such as allowing the users to set various temperatures, fan speeds for cooling and extrusion rates to compensate for the materials and the user’s characteristics. Let’s take a closer look!
3Doodler Pro vs 3Doodler 2.0 Comparison
|Specifications||3Doodler PRO||3Doodler 2.0 Create|
|Body Type||Carbon Fiber||Aluminium|
|On / Off Switch||Yes||Yes|
|Extrusion Speed (material)||Yes (3)||Yes (2)|
|Variable Fan Speed||Yes (2 speeds)||No|
|LCD Temp. Screen||Yes||No|
|Portable Battery Pack||Yes||No|
|Nozzle Set||Yes (6 pieces)||No (1 piece)|
Switching Material & Removing Plastics
So what do you do once you have used up your first strand of material and want to add a new one, particularly one of a different material? Here we demonstrate how to do this correctly in order not to effect your next print and to allow for a longer lasting pen with an extended life span. But first let’s discuss the functions to know what does what!
Functions on 3Doodle Pro For Material Switching
Step 1: The circular button will extrude the material out of the nozzle. If you want to change your material which is not long enough (no material sticking out the pen), you will need to use the extrude button to push it out. Pressing the button a second time will “stop” the function. Step 2: The triangular button will reverse the material from the back end of pen. However, there must be enough material in the pen to do this (i.e. material sticking out the pen)
Changing From Low Temp Material To High Temp Material
Step 1: Keep the temperature of the last material you used (the low temp material you want to clear out). Step 2: Determine whether you will be extruding the material out through the nozzle or reverse the material through the backend. Step 3: Maintain that temperature before running out the existing material as much as possible. Step 4: Use the “unblocking tool” to completely clear / push out any remaining traces of the old material. Step 5: Adjust the temperature for the new material and make the switch. Note: Do not run a high temperature material on a low temperature setting…you can damage your pen.
Changing From High Temp Material To Low Temp Material
Step 1: Keep the pen at the same temperature of the last material used (the high temp material you want to clean out). Step 2: Determine whether you will be extruding the material out through the nozzle or reverse the material through the backend. Step 3: Use the “unblocking tool” to completely clear / push out any remaining traces of the old material. Step 4: While keeping the same temp as in Step 1, insert your low temp material and begin extruding on the high temp. Step 5: As soon as you see your new material extruding out the nozzle, set the temperature to the proper lower setting for that material. Note: Remember, if you use a lower temperature while there is still a higher temperature material in the pen, it will harden in the nozzle and block it.
5 Reasons Why The 3D Pen Is Next Gen Of 3D Printing
3Doodler PRO F.A.Q
We have included some of the most commonly asked questions for the 3Doodler Pro pen and provided some useful answers that can help you along the way.
What Is The 3Doodler Price Tag?
At the time of writing this, the 3Doodler Pro pen hit the market with a retailed price tag of $249
What Comes With The 3Doodler Bundle Kit?
The Pro pen comes with a lot more than just the pen alone. This is what come with the bundle:
- 3Doodler Pro pen
- Power supply
- Jet pack (External battery pack)
- Nozzle set (6 nozzles, housing for nozzles & key to remove nozzles from pen)
- Maintenance tools (such as unblocking tool)
- Storage case
- 100 strands of plastic filament
How Noisy Is The 3Doodler PRO Pen?
Being a new pen that can extrude different materials, as a result one of the new features are a two speed fan to give the user control over how fast your material can dry. Subsequently, the fan does make some noise.
Is The 3Doodler PRO Pen Available Only For Right Handers?
The pen is symmetrical, meaning users can be both right handed and left handed. It is an ambidextrous pen, just like any ordinary pen… except it can draw in 3D.
Can I Change The Nozzles Of My Pen When It’s Switched Off?
Actually, it is advised to heat up the pen to 180 degrees Celsius before removing and fitting any nozzles. We recommend your read removing 3Doodler PRO’s nozzle section if you haven’t already.
How Long Can I Use The 3Doodler PRO Nonstop?
Although the official documents are not out yet for the PRO version, we do know that predecessor pens such as the 3Doodler Create are capable of about 2 hours of continuous work with a minimum of 30 minutes down time after that. We therefore decided to contact 3Doodler customer support, whom promptly replied: “We recommend letting the Pro pens have some time to cool down after 2-3 hours of continual use” This does make sense actually, because although the Pro is far more robust with an improved drive system, it also has far more features than previous models which puts more stress on the pen. So all in all, a good guideline is 2 hours of continuous use followed by 30 minutes down time… same as its predecessors.
Where can I get 3Doodler Stencils For My First Creations?
Luckily WobbleWorks LLC have posted hundreds of stencils online in PDF format for download and print. The PDF document has both the stencil and instructions for creating your first 3D model. Get access to your 3Doodler stencils
At times we had contact customer support to gather some information we could not get. I must say the 3Doodler team were excellent at coming back to us (in less than 24 hours). It must also be stated that us contacting them was based on some general questions we had regarding the pen and not because of some issue(s) with the pen… I can only suspect such urgency would have prompt them to respond even quicker due to priorities. Further to add, their response on email was well laidout with very clear instructions. It really was a pleasure to deal with such a friendly and helpful customer support team. It reflects an organization that truly care about their product and customers using it.
Links & Resources
Here are some great resources in addition to this guide.