Sure, 3-D printers sound super cool, but they also sound incredibly expensive and complicated to use – until 3Doodler’s 3-D printing pen sets came along.
The newest product from 3Doodler, the Make Your Own HEXBUG Pen Set, lets kids build motorized 3D creatures that actually move, and all of it is drawn from a pen. The set is designed for ages 6 and up and for how high-tech it sounds, it’s incredibly easy to use, even for beginners.
The set comes with a 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen to doodle with, two packs of 3Doodler Start Plastic (6-inch plastic sticks in an assortment of colors), three robotic Hexbug motors that will act as the engine for your creations, two DoodleMolds to guide you in building designs, an activity guide, and a USB pen charger.
The 3Doodler Start pen essentially acts as a wireless, portable, compact 3-D printer. Once the pen is charged, turn it on and insert one of the colored plastic sticks through the hole in the back. Press the button on the pen to instantly start or stop the plastic from coming out of the tip. The pen will “melt” the plastic stick, and a softer, more pliable version will come out of the tip of the pen so users can “draw” 3-D designs with it, which will then harden into solid pieces.
If you need some guidance with your drawings, you can fill the insect-themed DoodleMolds with the melted plastic to create claws, wings, feelers, and other creepy crawly bug anatomy. The DoodleMolds make it super easy for beginners, young kids, and for those of us who are less artistically inclined.
Feel free to use your fingers to pat down on the plastic while it’s still soft to smooth it out if you don’t want it to look bumpy or textured. While the plastic gets warm to the touch, you don’t have to worry about it getting hot enough to burn anything – always a plus.
Once the plastic hardens, it will turn into a solid shape and you can pop it right out of the mold. The soft plastic solidifies in about 30 seconds so make sure you create the right shape you’re looking for before it gets too firm to make adjustments. But no worries, if you don’t create a piece exactly the way you want it, just start over – there’s plenty of the colored plastic sticks to go around.
To connect the completed wings and various bug particles onto the Hexbug motor, use the plastic like a glue to attach the parts wherever you want them. Or ditch the molds and draw freestyle directly onto the Hexbugs. The Hexbugs are tiny—just over an inch long—so the completed projects will be tiny robotic critters that will scurry around when the Hexbug is switched on, just like real bugs. You can build multiple bugs to race them, or build mazes for them to scoot through.
The best thing about this kit is that you aren’t limited to what you build. Although the DoodleMolds are insect themed, you can really create whatever you want. Use the Hexbug motor to make a driving car, a running lion, a floating cloud, or anything you can think of.
The included activity guide has ten different projects that you can make without the Hexbug attached to give you additional ideas with step-by-step instructions for non-motorized objects, like the Eiffel Tower, a Triceratops skeleton, or a pair of glasses. It’s a great way to introduce kids to physics, engineering, and design principles without them even knowing it.
Who knew drawing 3-D robotic bugs and other 3-D motorized dreams into existence could be so easy?