3D printing may sound like high-end technology that you’d only find in a lab or maker space, but that’s not the case! 3Doodler has been offering kid-friendly 3D printing pens for more than five years, and its latest pen set is a great introduction for kids ages 6 and up.
The Start+ Essentials Pen Set is an upgraded version of 3Doodler’s Start Essentials set, and it comes with a pen and materials designed for kids ages 6-13. The colorful, wireless printing pen is easy to use: Turn it on, let it heat up, insert a strand of plastic in the desired color, then press the round button on the pen. This will bring a flow of melted plastic out of the pen’s tip, which kids can use to draw and create. To stop the flow of plastic, they simply press that same button again.
The possibilities with this pen are truly endless: Kids can draw on shoes, trace an outline on paper, or even draw in the air! Kids can create 3D structures as well by drawing multiple flat shapes and welding them together with additional plastic. Because the pen is designed for kids, there are no external heating elements on the pen, and the melted plastic is cool enough for kids to immediately touch and mold without any accidental burns.
To earn its name, this essentials kit comes not only with that pen, but also with 72 colorful, BPA-free, plastic strands and an activity book with 10 project ideas. The upgraded elements in this new kit include a 50% faster charge time for the pen, a slimmer design that makes the pen easier for kids to hold, more included strands, and a new selection of activities for kids to try out. The activities booklet includes projects with varying degrees of difficulty, such as a pair of glasses (that kids can really wear), a robot, and even the Eiffel Tower. These guided projects can help introduce kids to the concepts of 3D printing and provide a great starting point for kids to learn the mechanics of the pen before branching out and creating their own designs. If kids complete the activity book and are looking for additional ideas, the 3Doodler YouTube channel has a variety of project tutorials, as does the free 3Doodler app.
While the pen is designed for kids, an adult will want to help a bit as kids first learn how to use the pen. The process is fairly straightforward, but kids will need to read the instructions to learn how to feed in the plastic filaments, how to remove them when they want to switch colors, and how to properly care for the pen. Fortunately, 3Doodler offers an easy-to-follow guide on its website (in addition to the included instructions) to make the process simple! Overall, kids will need to have a bit of patience as they start doodling: It can take 10-15 seconds for a new plastic strand to start extruding from the pen, but then kids will be all set to draw and create.
The Start+ Essentials Set comes with a lot of plastic, but creative kids may find themselves running low. If so, don’t stress! The 3Doodler website offers a variety of plastic packs, along with accessories such as challenge cards, a storage pouch, and a drawing pad to really upgrade kids’ 3D printing potential.
With the Start+ Essentials Pen Set, kids truly have everything they need to combine creativity and STEM for some 3Doodled masterpieces!