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MakerSpace: 3D Pens, Reviews and Tips and Tricks

Many on our staff at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County were clamoring for a 3D Printer when we were discussing creating our MakerSpace, but we were worried about cost and space. And I personally was worried about the learning curve: I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about 3D Printers. So I was hesitant to set myself up for failure right out of the gate and worried about losing momentum and staff support when others saw my failure. So we opted instead for a 3D printing pen, which turned out to be a really excellent place to start in 3D printing.

3D Printing Pens work kind of like a glue gun, except that they use filament – the same stuff used in 3D Printers – to create 3D works of art. They are less expensive, pack up easily, and they are a great place to start when considering the world of 3D printing. Here’s our first attempt at using a 3D Printing Pen.

We have 2 different types of 3D Pens: the 3D Doodler and a 7Tech 3D Pen which can be found on Amazon by several different names.


The 3Doodler and Filament


The 7Tech 3D Pen

After working with both of the pens I prefer the second 7Tech 3D Pen over the 3D Doodler because:

  • The 3D Doodler takes longer to heat up and advance the filament
  • It is harder to load and navigate the filament
  • You can only use 3D Doodler brand filament, which comes in short sticks so you have to reload it more frequently
  • It is less intuitive for first time users

In comparison, with the 7Tech 3D Pen you can buy spools of 1.75 Filament (often at rock bottom prices) on Amazon. These are more continuous strands so you can focus more on building your creation and less on reloading your filament.

A Note about the 7Tech 3D Pen:

If you do a search on Amazon for a 3D Pen you will find a variety of pens by different names that look basically the same, though they may vary in color. The most common name you have probably heard of is the Scribbler. These pens are a different make and model than the 3D Doodler, the most popular brand name 3D printing pen. These pens are all a version of Model #: RP100A and they take a 1.75 mm filament. You can read some about the Samto version here.

Tips and Tricks for Using Your 3D Pen:

Overall, we really enjoyed using our 3D printing pen. For our first project, we simply tried to make a cube.


We then freehanded something that we called a T-Rex skeleton, mostly just because I like dinosaurs and it kind of looks like one. I went back in and added itty bitty arms to keep it on theme.


We then discovered the magic of templates.

Tip #1: Use Templates Whenever You Can

3dpen6 3dpen7 3pen8

You can freehand draw your own template, which is what my coworker did here. But you can also do a Google search for 3D Pen Templates and find a ton as well. We started a Pinterest board to pin some of our favorites which we keep stocked in our MakerSpace. 3Doodler also has a book which is a great inspiration and starting point, even if you don’t use the 3Doodler.

Tip #2: Buy Some Type of Mat

The 3Doodler actually sells a mat, and even if you don’t use the pen you can use the mat. You can also use a regular cutting mat that you purchase at your local craft store. The mat makes it easy to lift your project off when you are done.

Tip #3: Know Your Filament

There are 2 different types of filaments, ABS and PLA. They have a few differences that are important depending on what you intend to try and make. 3Doodler has a good comparison chart to help you understand the differences.

Tip #4: The Tip of Your 3D Pen is Like a Soldering Iron

You can make little pieces and then solder them together using the tip of your 3D pen.

Tip #5: Be Patient! And Start Small!

Your first time creating with a 3D pen will not be a masterpiece. It takes a while to learn how to keep a steady hand, how best to manipulate the pen and filament, etc. Start with a smaller project and work your way up. It can take a really long time to make a complete project, patience is key.

In the end, we were able to create a very cool catapult using our 3D Pen. (In the interest of full disclosure: my coworker did this, not me) and it can fling um, spit balls (but without the spit, because gross).


And here’s a picture of me sitting in the Teen MakerSpace wearing the 3D glasses that my coworker made . . .


I highly recommend getting a 3D printing pen for your classroom or Maker Space if you can.

Additional Resources:

Testing the 3D Pen, and Conclusion – PC Magazine

3D Printing Pen Tutorial – Instructables

3D Printing Pen Tutorial | Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos

Stencils on Pinterest | 3doodler


  1. I think for the starters or newcomers using these 3D pens, it is better to start off with easy Do-It-Yourself stuff, or else things might get tough if trying to make something hard or unusual. The best 3D pens for this year are just marvelous! Some of them are easy to use to, Check this guide.

  2. Ben Sprague says


    We’re considering adding a 3D pen to our MakerSpace collection. How does your library handle the cost of consumables filament)?


    • Karen Jensen, TLT Karen Jensen, TLT says

      Hi Ben,
      We just buy the filament in bundles off of Amazon, you can find some pretty good deals. We don’t charge the teens and so far it has gone pretty well for us. We rotate our stations in and out so the 3D pen isn’t always out and in use now so we use less filament. When we first got the pen it was being used daily and a lot more filament was used, but we found the pens do better if you give them a rest occasionally. I hope you enjoy your 3d pens!
      Thank you,

      • Ben Sprague says

        Thanks, Karen. As our MakerSpace items are circulating (and not used in the library), we’d probably have to ration out a number of filaments with each checkout. Also, the collection is funded with grants & donations, so the ongoing materials cost might make this a tricky item to add and maintain.

  3. I found recently this new 3D pens and got one for my self and i have to say that they are a lot of fun, mainly if you know tricks like this or watch some cool projects on youtube!

  4. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Great job, keep it up.

  5. I am an elementary school librarian and had a few questions:
    1. Does the pen get hot?
    2. How many pens did you buy?
    3. How many different rotations did you have in the centers?
    4. Which filament type do you use with your pen?


    • Karen Jensen, TLT Karen Jensen, TLT says

      We initially started with 2 but we had to replace them a bunch of times. Over time we replaced them something like 8 times. They are currently down to 1. It’s important that you let the 3D pens rest every 30 minutes and that you follow the instructions. The tip of the pens do get hot. I would be hesitant to use them in an elementary school.


  1. […] MakerSpace: 3D Pens, Reviews and Tips and Tricks by Karen Jensen at Teen Librarian Toolbox […]

  2. […] a good pen for example the 3doodler so they will likely not conclude that Three dimensional projects are not for […]

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