3D Printing Pen or Doodlers seems to be the buzzword around 3D printing enthusiasts and hobbyists. This post will discuss in detail about what is 3D Printing Pen or 3D Doodler, it’s architecture, how it works, how to use, applications and advantages.
What is 3D Printing Pen
3D Printing Pen is a hand held device in the shape of a marker. It is similar to hot glue gun with the ability to print a fine line of PLA (Polylactic acid) or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). PLA and ABS are thermoplastics which are considered the best for prototyping applications.
Fig. 1 – Introduction to 3D Printing Pen
It prints in 3 dimensions without using any software or computers. A normal Pen uses ink whereas a 3D pen melts environment-friendly plastic using heat that oozes out of the pointy-end of the pen. Whatever you imagine, you can draw. It goes from your brain, to your hand, right there.
Be it a child or a professional artist, everyone is eager to have a 3D pen. The fact that it brings fun at the workplace, inspires creativity and helps in learning, is making 3D pens a craze all over the world.
One can draw a raised graphic with the help of 3D Pen. Capability to draw in air makes it different, allowing you to instantly form 3D structures right in front of you, which you can pick up and hold in your hand. Fig. 2 shows 3D object (Eiffel Tower) created by 3D Printing Pen.
Fig. 2 – Prototype of Eiffel Tower created by 3D Printing Pen
Architecture of 3D Printing Pen
The architecture consists of components namely:
- Hot End
- DC Geared Motor
- Arduino Controller Board
- Transistor (NPN)
- LED Display
Hot End is referred to the pointed end or nozzle and the heater. The heater maintains the operating temperature within 130- 2000 C. At this temperature the filament melts and makes it’s way out through the nozzle creating a thin line of plastic. It adheres to the surface it’s laid on.
DC Gear Motor
Gear assembly is attached to the DC Motor to increase the Torque output and decrease the speed.
It is nothing but a printed circuit board which provides communication between electronic components of the system and other peripherals. Hot End and DC motor are assembled onto the Motherboard.
Arduino Controller Board
The control of the entire system is handled by Arduino Microcontroller. The Arduino board is programmed to run the device efficiently.
It is typically used to amplify or switch signals and electrical power. NPN Transistor is bipolar in nature and can be made to operate as ‘ON/OFF’ switch by biasing the Base terminal of the Transistor. The push Button on the pen is connected to NPN Transistor. When the User switches on the device, the transistor helps the motor to run and vice versa.
Mode of Operation along with Temperature settings and control is displayed.
Fig. 3 – Architecture of 3D Printing Pen
How does 3D Printing Pen Work
The physical components of the device include:
- Power Jack
- Plastic Insert Port
- Indicator Light
- Reverse and Forward Button
- Speed Change Button
It helps in connecting the power supply to the device and powers it on.
Plastic Insert Port
This port is used to insert plastic filament in the 3D Pen.
To indicate filament is warming up or warmed up.
Speed Change Button
Select the fast setting and press the extrude button until the melted filament starts to come out of the tip of the pen. Then you can adjust the speed setting based on what and how you are printing.
Reverse and Forward Button
Pushing these buttons make the filament to move back and forth.
Nozzle is at the end of pen for extruding melted plastic.
In a 3D pen, the plastic is heated and pushed out of the tip of the nozzle. Once the melted plastic leaves the tip it is very malleable and can be painted onto any surface or molded into any shape.
After leaving the tip, the plastic begins to quickly cool down and after a few seconds, the plastic hardens and is molded into whatever shape you have created.
How to Use 3D Printing Pen – Step by Step
- Turn the device on.
- Heat it up and then load plastic filament.
- Select the speed.
- Double click for continuous flow.
- Unloading/Reversing the plastic filament
Fig. 4 – Components of 3D Printing Pen
Applications of 3D Printing Pen
The applications include:
- Basic 3D shapes and 3D models.
- Jewellery, pendants and hanging ornaments.
- Decorative art and fridge magnets.
- Personalization of everyday objects.
- It is used to create complex organs of human bodies by doctors and then use them whenever required.
- It is used for creating first renderings of the project in the field of architecture.
- It is used to repair objects and weld together different pieces.
Fig. 5 – Plastic Welding by 3D Pen
Advantages of 3D Printing Pen
It offers a wide range of advantages compared to traditional methods. These advantages include those related to design, time and cost, amongst others. The advantages of 3D Pen include:
- Unlimited shapes and no limitation of size: There is no limitation of sizes for making objects out of it.
- Creative Design and Customization: It allows us to design more complex designs than traditional manufacturing processes.
- Profit in industries: The loss companies are facing due to the manufacturing of trial products to see whether the final product will be a success or not will be terminated – thanks to the 3D pens.
- Waste Reduction: Results obtained from 3D pens are eco-friendly.
Disadvantages of 3D Printing Pen
The disadvantages include:
- Expensive– 3D printing pen and materials cost make the technology expensive.
- Limited Materials– Materials that can be used as filament are limited.
- 3D prototyping from the device is a slow process.
3D printing pen provides countless benefits. It is false to believe that 3D pens are mostly for kids and do not have any useful applications. Countless useful things can be accomplish using this small tool.