The capabilities of 3D printing have become truly breathtaking in recent years. Full of possibilities, not only are 3D printing machines more affordable than ever before, but they are more user-friendly. A 3D printing pen is a more modern version that directly puts some of those applications in the user’s hands.
3D pen prints can be as strong as extrusion prints if you use a durable filament. 3D pens offer the same benefits as a 3D printer, except you can use the pen to draw out your designs in 3D.
So, let’s talk more about 3D printing pens and how durable the prints they make are. I’ll also tell you more about the possibilities of using these prints and give you some ideas you can try on your own.
What Are 3D Pen Prints?
3D pen prints are filament prints made with a 3D printing pen. This device uses a plastic filament to create 3D objects. Think of them as a 3D printer that you can hold in your hand. You can both develop things in mid-air and fuse them to other items to add to or repair them.
We are seeing more and more creative and practical projects using these devices. In the art world, they are being used to make elaborate statues. Others are using the filament to make repairs or additions that generally would take much more money, effort, and materials to complete.
If you want to see one of these pens in action, check out this YouTube video from 3D Pen Lab, which will show you how they made The Great Deku Tree from the beloved classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game, The Legend Of Zelda:
The result was a gorgeous sculpture that perfectly captures the original’s details.
On the more practical side, you can use these pens to repair items or replace broken parts. For example, 3D Sanago found a significant gap chipped out of a wall in his neighborhood. He made a 3D pen print that covered the hole while onlookers came by and saw him work.
Check out his progress in the video below:
How Strong Are 3D Pen Prints?
3D pen prints are strong as long as you use a durable filament. 3D pens usually take the same filaments as extrusion printers, and the resulting objects are generally just as durable as any other 3D print made with the same materials.
It may seem like 3D pens produce inferior models. After all, they are plastic, and material refills are surprisingly cheap. However, they can work wonders!
The strength of your print will depend on the chosen filament, which for 3D printers, in general, can range from polycarbonate to nylon to thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
Most printing pens use Thermoplastic Polymer (PLA), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), or Polycaprolactone (PCL). Their strength ratings are:
|Material||Tensile Strength Rating (MPa)|
As you can see, PCL is the weakest of the three. However, it is also more flexible and manageable for beginners. That makes it ideal for at-home craft or art projects, where tensile strength isn’t as important.
ABS is the most popular for any item that needs to withstand the elements or higher weights.
Common Reasons That 3D Pen Prints Break
When people talk about layer breaking during printing, they usually refer to 3D printing machines. However, the causes of fragile prints when 3D printing on a print bed are similar to those that come from using a 3D printing pen. We can learn the same lessons and avoid a weaker product.
So, let’s discuss the most common reasons why 3D pen prints break and look at some solutions.
The Top Layers Are Too Heavy
You will inevitably crack the finished product when the top is heavier than the foundation. You will have a more durable completed print and a smoother finish by laying heavier layers on the bottom.
The Print’s Foundation Is Uneven
An uneven foundation can impact the overall strength of your 3D pen prints. If you watch someone create a project, you may notice that they build an extensive core layer and add more to it.
Once they have a general shape, often made using a spiral pattern that radiates from the center, they can add to the top for the finished product. Making a weak center or base will end in disaster.
You Are Printing at the Wrong Temperature
When using a 3D printing pen, you must use the right temperature for your chosen material. For instance, PLA requires a temperature of 347 °F (175 °C). On the other hand, ABS should be around 446 °F (230 °C). Make sure you check the melting point of your preferred filament and add 30 – 50° to that.
You Are Using Poor-Quality Filament
In general, the tensile strength of filament is consistent. But like anything else, brands matter. Finding a reliable provider of your plastics is crucial to ensure you get the highest strength rating a material can, particularly in light of how it sometimes has a range. Check reviews before buying your pen refills.
You Need To Practice More
It might seem a bit obvious, but a lack of practice is the number one reason people see cracks and breaks in their 3D pen prints.
Even if you are a gifted artist, this complicated art form won’t come naturally to most. Try to be patient with yourself as you come to understand how it works, how to make the strongest product, and what materials and styles you are most comfortable with.
More Resources For Learning To Use a 3D Printing Pen
One of the best parts about living in the Internet Era is access to everything from visual boasts to complete tutorials. If you are interested in buying your own 3D printing pen, make sure you check YouTube for reviews, tutorials, and more.
Coming up with a list of the best is difficult, but if you’re interested in learning more, try these to start with:
- Mr. Useful: How To Draw In 3D Using a 3D Pen
- 5 Minute Repair – 25 Breathtaking 3D Pen Creations You Must See
- Potent Printables – Mistakes 3D Pen Users Always Make
- Build-a-Skill – I Spent 51 Hours Learning To Use a 3D Pen. Progress From Beginner to 3D Robot
- 3D Sanago – Making Sonic With a 3D Pen
- Dutch Exp – 3D Pen Creation – Spongebob
- Eunny – How To Use Basic 3D Pen
The latest 3D pens are incredible, and it’s the perfect time to buy one. They show what you can accomplish with some creative energy and time working on the medium. The available filaments are robust, durable, and malleable, so the sky’s the limit.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.