How Does a 3D Pen Work?

by Mike Brooks | Last Updated: May 7, 2021

Are you wondering how to begin making 3D art with your 3D pen? This device allows you to make models of different shapes using plastic filaments. What you need to consider is the type of 3D pen you have. Is it a hot or cold 3D pen?

Red Dragon Printed With 3D Pen

A 3D pen employs the same techniques used in most 3D printing devices. It heats the plastic filament you insert in it and extrudes it through its nozzle. The trick is to create your desired shape using the filament as it cools off. There is no fear of losing the shape once you achieve it since it dries almost instantly. 

Once the pen’s filament has been heated to its melting point, it flows through the nozzle. Air surrounding the melted filament will cool it so that it holds the shape you make. The 3D pen operates the way a glue gun works. Go through this detailed guide to find out how a 3D pen works.[

How Does a 3D Pen Works?

Before learning how a 3D pen works, you need to understand the pen itself. First, learn the type of filaments it can use in the creation of various 3D figures. Can you be able to adjust the speed settings in the 3D pen?

Have a look at the temperature settings to know if you can adjust the temperature according to the plastic filaments you use. Are there any accessories available for your 3D pens?

The next step is beginning the 3D figures making. Begin by powering your pen on. Here, it would be best if you connected it to a power supply then turn it on.

Next, choose filaments that will satisfy your drawing preferences. You must ensure the plastic filament is compatible with your 3D pens. Now set the temperature then wait for your 3D pen to heat up. If you are using an ultra-modern 3D pen, look at the LED indicator to signal you when your pen’s temperature is right.

On the filament input port in your 3D pens, insert a filament of your choice. Whenever you use filaments that had been used before, it would be best if you flatten it by trimming the end. Use a pair of scissors for precision. After all, you don’t want your pen jamming on you, right?

Only press your pen’s extruder button after all the filaments are well set in your 3D pens. An interior motor will begin pulling the plastic filament.

Here is where things get a little complicated, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Speed determines the thickness of the model you will be making. You must therefore be in control of how fast your pen’s motor runs. Set to a fast speed setting then long-press the extruder button.

Be sure to release it when melted filament begin flowing from the 3D pen’s tip. From there on you can adjust the speed in any way depending on the kinds of 3D structure you are creating.

Now that your pen is all set start working on a 3D sketch. Place the drawing material on a flat surface. Next, carefully extrude a small amount of plastic filament through the tip of the pen onto the paper to create an anchor point. Move the 3D pen’s tip across your drawing paper to make a line by extruding melted plastic filaments.

Make more lines as you make anchor points at the ends of the lines for support. The anchor points will make sure the model you make doesn’t lose its shape. Allow the model to cool off after you have completed making it before touching or moving it.

Is a 3D Printing Pen a Toy or a Serious Tool?

3D pens are not new to people in the market today. Nonetheless, some people still wonder whether the device is a toy or a serious device. Is a 3D pen useful, or is it just something to mess around with? Are these pens manufactured to solve problems and satisfy needs, or are they meant for children to play with?

Professional 3D Pen

The unbiased answer to this question is that 3D pens serve both purposes. There are many things you can do with it, including playing. If you develop your skills well enough, 3D pens will enable you to draw 3D objects in thin air. For this reason, people consider 3D pens as serious tools.

Inventors of 3Doodler had the idea of simplifying 3D printing. Therefore, Peter Dilworth, Maxwell Bogue, and Daniel Cowen put in a lot of work to invent the doodler.

Since 3D pens are trouble-free in use, people use them to make various things. For instance, scientists use them to visualize concepts before creating the final prototype. The ideas a scientist has in mind become unchallenging to express. This is because the scientist only needs to visualize it in a 3D model for people to understand.


Whenever you have some designs in mind, you will share them by drawing them freestyle with your hand on any surface. The same designs in your head are easy to realize and share without the need for deposition modeling.

You can also teach your kids various concepts using 3D objects that are easier to comprehend. Similarly, 3D pens help you teach children anything to do with the basics of three-dimensional printing without a 3D printer. Later ask them any kind of questions to see if they will answer correctly.

With this information in mind, it’s up to you to decide whether 3D pens are toys or essential tools for you. It all depends on how you want to use these devices.

Material Used for 3D Pens

3D pens use plastic filaments as the material for making 3D objects. The plastic has to be manufactured using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), thermal polyurethane,( TPU), or polylactic acid (PLA).

Colored PLA filaments

In most cases, people prefer using PLA filaments or ABS plastic filaments to create 3D models. ABS and PLA filaments are heated to their melting points to ease the model-making process.

Who Would Use a 3D Pen?

Professionals come first on our list. 3D pens used by professionals are designed to meet clients’ needs by reaching even the trickiest spots. For this reason, the pens are complex and require more skills to operate.

The pens have more settings that professionals can adjust for the precision of the project they are currently working on. A 3Doodler pro is an effective doodler for most professional works. Alternatively, you can invest in a 3Dsimo multi-pro doodler instead of buying 3D printers.

Kids also use 3D pens. The important thing is picking a 3D pen that doesn’t produce too much heat. This will keep your kids safe as they draw various things without the worry of getting burnt.

It would be best to buy a cold 3D pen for your children or supervise them as they use a hot 3D pen.

For people who make 3D art as a hobby, go for a 3D pen that is pocket-friendly. It should also have high functionality to help you explore drawing a wide range of models. You should be able to use either ABS filament or PLA filament in the 3D pen you choose.


A 3D pen is undemanding to use. Be sure to set it accordingly depending on the shape you want to create and the material you are using. If you are a professional, go for a complex 3D pen.

Hobbyists need 3D pens that are easy to use, and children need 3D pens that don’t heat up too much.

Michael Brooks is the founder of He sees a very bright future for 3D printing that's why his mission is to try and make this easy for everyone. Discover your hidden talent and creativity. You can follow here: Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.