A 3d pen is a creative tool under the vast technology of 3d printing which allows its user to create plastic three dimensional structures by hand. It can be done by either the use of Stencils, by drawing over another object or simply drawing in the air. The unique experience that it offers has made the product popular across many industries and sectors. And, amongst the new generation of students who want to put no limitations to their imaginative creativity.
The end of a 3D pen is fed with the filament with which the creation has to be made. The machinery inside is designed to melt the plastic at an appropriately high temperature; melted plastic comes out through the tip of the pen once it is switched on. The user can easily set the speed at which the plastic filament comes out according to their convenience and handling skill. As soon as the melted plastic comes out, it cools immediately, stiffening and taking hard form.
The filaments that can be used in 3D pens come in different colours, lengths and materials- PLA and ABS being the most common ones. PLA is a biodegradable plastic derived from organic sources, it is rigid and sensitive to moisture. The ABS plastic, on the other hand, is of petroleum origin and is more flexible, strong and temperature resistant.
The Applications of 3D pens are many.
- 3D Texts- A text written on paper can be brought to life by writing over it using a 3D pen. With any colour, handwritten names, signatures and slogans can be made 3-dimensional which look effortlessly unique.
- Creating a Prototype- Before using a 3D printer to manufacture a substance, a 3d pen can be used to design the desired prototype right in front of the customer. A rough model can thus be created before producting the final product. The waste generated is negligible.For example, someone wanting to print say, a rectangular PLA based box, can be shown the dimensions and material by making a rough box using a 3D pen first.
- Repairing structures- 3D pens can be used to repair broken parts of objects that are produced using 3D printers. Since 3D pens use the same plastic raw material as 3D printers, more material can be added or two parts can be welded together using the melted plastic that comes out of a 3D pen.It is therefore a good idea to buy a 3D printer along with a 3D pen, to ensure objects produced can be maintained in the long run.
- Art, Personal and Educational Use- Young creative minds, hobbyists and children will be restricted by no limits when it will be possible to draw out any design imaginable. A dragon, car, building, aeroplane, or a robot
figure!DIY (Do-It-Yourself) artists are using 3D pens to create all kinds of items-such as jewellery, mini cartoon characters, decorative boxes, etc.
Some Cartoon characters and jewellery items made using 3D pens
Schools are equipping their students with 3D pens to draw out things that need to be learnt. Now, instead of memorising the labels off an image printed on the page of a textbook, students can understand the real structure after having made it themselves.
From building small molecules in chemistry to the DNA helix, geometrical shapes in Math class to awe-inspiring figurines in Art class, the uses of 3D pens in schools are numerous.
And what better way to learn than convert the 2-dimensional shapes and diagrams in textbooks to actual objects?