Learning to Use a 3D pen

I recently got my first 3D pen. Rather than using ink or graphite the 3D pen heats up a plastic filament so I can draw and layer up to create 3D art. Essentially it's a "poor man's" 3D printer. Very manual and no G-code.

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Image Source: Personal Photo

The beginning experience to be honest was rough. I should take responsibility for that though. I got the cheapest 3D pen I could because I am on a budget. There's no LCD or OLED screen on my 3D pen to display the temperature. To adjust the temperature there is a screw I have to adjust with a tiny screwdriver. The speed control is done with an analog sliding switch. A color LED indicates when the 3D pen is heated enough to begin using the filament.

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Image Source: Personal Photo

The 3D pen kit came with three small spools of ABS filament. Most of the first spool I used up just trying to get the calibration right. My adjustments to the temperature screw were either too cold or too hot for the filament. It took a lot of trial and error to get the temperature set just right and no three bears showed up after that.

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Image Source: Personal Photo

I've been watching some tutorial videos on the internet and practicing some of the techniques. Once I have used up the ABS filament that came with the kit I will definitely try switching over to PLA filament. I suspect that I'll have better luck with a lower heat setting and I really don't like the smell of heated ABS filament no matter how well ventilated the room is. That doesn't mean that I won't ever use ABS when I get a 3D printer. If a project requires the durability of ABS thermoplastic than I'll use it but I won't be literally within arm's reach of the 3D printer at all times. I can't say the same for drawing with ABS filament.

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