Top 10 Questions About How to Create 3D Pen Art with 3Doodler Create+

Prolific 3Doodler Printing Pen Artist, Grace Du Prez, has been Doodling since 2014 and has worked on record breaking projects, such as a life sized car for Nissan. She is also the host of our Bluprint 3D Pen Art series, which you can watch here.

Grace has been running 3D Pen Creation workshops for two years, so she knows all the best tips and tricks for beginners. She has gathered the top 10 most common questions she’s received since the beginning of her Doodling career, and answered them here.

1. How do I use a 3D Pen? What can I make with a 3Doodler?

There are three main ways to use a 3D pen like 3Doodler.

Use a 3D pen design Template or Stencil

This technique is great for beginners to draw flat designs. You can also use this technique to construct simple 3D shapes like a cube. Make 6 flat squares then join together to create the 3D shape. There are lots of 3Doodler stencils available for free online.

Using a Stencil

Freestyle Doodling

This involves drawing up into the air or building an object up by layering. This is one of the most common ways we’ve seen 3Doodler art being made. This technique can require a bit of practice as you’re using your eye to judge if it looks right.

Using Molds

This involves drawing over a pre-existing object, such as a salad bowl. The plastic will set in that shape and can be removed when you’re done, or remain on the object. If it’s something like a bowl it can be done in one piece. If the shape is something like a ball, you can make the two halves and then join together afterwards. Something like a balloon can be drawn over and then deflated. This technique is used in my Lantern Lights video. There are some great canvas mold 3Doodler projects available, or you can use any household object as long as it’s covered in masking tape – even a smartphone!

For more 3Doodler tips and tricks, take a look at my Getting Started video.

2. Why is there a red light on my 3Doodler pen? What do the different light colors mean?

Don’t worry, the red light is totally normal and just means that the pen is heating up to the right temperature. When it’s ready to extrude plastic, the red light will change to either blue or green. It’s important to have it on the right heat setting as each plastic melts at a specific temperature. Blue for ABS and Flexy, and Green for PLA.

Many people are concerned about 3D pen safety. The 3Doodler pen has a great safety feature – if you’ve taken a short break, the pen will start to cool itself down. This means that the red light will come on again. Simply turn the pen off, and then on again, and it will automatically start warming up to the temperature you set it to.

3. Why is the plastic not coming out of my 3Doodler 3D pen?

If your 3Doodler is not feeding, try giving the plastic a gentle push into the pen (but make sure you have clicked either FAST or SLOW first). When your filament has run out, just insert the next strand to keep the plastic flowing.

It’s better to push the plastic from a point on the strand that is close to the pen, otherwise you risk bending and damaging your plastic filament.

If the 3Doodler plastic is jammed, there are a few questions you can ask yourself: Are you on the right heat setting? Each plastic melts at a specific temperature so if it’s not on the right one it won’t melt. Is there a flashing blue or green light? You may have gone into reverse by mistake, a function that is engaged by double clicking on either FAST or SLOW button. To be on the safe side if you’ve done this, fully reverse the plastic out, snip the frayed end of the filament off with a pair of scissors or pliers, and try reinserting it.

4. Should I use FAST or SLOW mode when using the 3Doodler 3D pen?

There is no right or wrong option here, it’s about finding what feels right for you and adapting to the situation.

Benefits of FAST mode
  • It gets the project done in less time, and is ideal for those large-scale projects.

  • It’s good for welding two pieces of plastic together. As the plastic is extruding more quickly it stays hotter for longer, which helps to re-melt the plastic you’re welding and give you a more stable connection.

Benefits of SLOW mode
  • It’s better for beginners as you have more time to think ahead and control your 3D pen.

  • It’s great for drawing up into the air. When in SLOW mode, the plastic is making more contact with the cool air around it and setting in that position. This will really help you perfect those spirals and staircases!

  • When using 3Doodler Flexy plastic, it’s better to be on SLOW mode.

5. How do I start my 3Doodler 3D pen?

Simply click either FAST or SLOW once to start. To stop, click either button once again. A common mistake is to press and hold the button, which you don’t need to do, as the plastic will continually extrude with one click.

Something else to watch out for is that there is a slight delay between pressing a button and the plastic extruding. Avoid clicking multiple times as you’ll just be starting and stopping your pen repeatedly.

6. How should I hold the 3Doodler 3D pen?

Hold it like you would a marker pen. You can hover your index finger over the buttons so that you can easily start and stop. Some find it easier to turn it upside down so that the clear plastic window is facing up and your thumb is hovering over the buttons. What’s important is that you find a way that suits you.

Hold at a 90-degree angle

You might naturally want to hold the pen at a 45-degree angle and move it at the speed you would with a regular pen or pencil. This can result in an inconsistent texture in the plastic. Instead, try holding your 3Doodler at a 90-degree angle so that it’s vertical to the page. This will make sure that the plastic extrudes evenly – imagine that you are mimicking a 3D printing machine!

Try experimenting with the speed that you move your hand. The slower you move, the thicker the Doodled line, and therefore the stronger your creation will be.

Test to see the difference between pressing down onto the page, versus hovering slightly above the page. Making contact with the page will give you a more precise line that will stick to the template, whereas having the pen tip hovering will result in a random squiggly effect. Have a look at my Getting Started video for the 7 top techniques on using a 3Doodler 3D pen.

7. How do I change the plastic color in my 3Doodler 3D Pen?

There are two ways to change the plastic color in your pen. If the filament is sticking out of the feed port, you can reverse the strand and gently pull it out, then load your desired color. If the strand is too short to pull out of the feed port, you can carefully remove the hot nozzle with the mini spanner (be sure to do this with the pen turned on and heated up), engage the reverse function, and insert the unblocking tool through the nozzle end of the pen. This will push the short strand out of the rear of the pen. Then you can replace the nozzle with the mini spanner, being careful not to overtighten it, and load the new strand of filament.

Double-click to reverse strand, then remove

The plastic doesn’t need to go to waste! There are a lot of fun things you can make with half a strand of filament. You could even try out these projects to transform leftover plastic into beautiful jewelry and decor items!

Don’t try to apply too much force to pull the filament out, as you could end up doing some damage to the pen. Simply double click either the FAST or SLOW button, and the pen will do the hard work for you. Once it’s finished reversing, gently pull out the plastic. Watch this video to see how it works.

Reversed filaments may have a wispy ends, which can get tangled up in the mechanism of the pen. It’s important for you to snip it off before re-inserting it into the pen.

8. How do I get rid of mistakes in my 3Doodler art?

Mistakes are bound to happen, even for the most professional Doodlers. The nozzle tip can help you melt away pieces you don’t want on your design. You could also use scissors to create a super accurate edge. They need to be sharp, but don’t use your best sewing scissors as it may blunt them.

9. Why are there wispy strands on my 3Doodler creation, and how do I get rid of them?

You might notice that there are some ‘hairy’ bits on your creation. They can easily be melted away using the nozzle tip, but it’s better if you don’t make them in the first place (unless it’s intended)!

These might be caused by lifting the pen away from your work too quickly. A bit like mozzarella on a pizza! Once you’ve pressed stop, count to three and then pull away. You’ll get a much cleaner finish.

10. Is 3Doodler plastic environmentally friendly?

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) is a biodegradable type of plastic that is made from the starch of plants such as corn, sugar cane or sugar beet. This means that it is environmentally friendly and sustainable. With the right conditions it can take approximately 6-12 months to break down compared to other plastics, which can take hundreds of years.

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) can be recycled, but it is not widely accepted by local authorities. Don’t let that stop you, as you can do it yourself at home with a few easy steps!

Read more about 3Doodler’s Plastics Promise here.

For more tips on using the 3Doodler, take a look at our Hot Tips collection and you may just find the answers you need! Still can’t find what you need? Reach out to us and we will be more than happy to help you out.

A Creative Wedding with a Personal Touch

When it came time for Geert de Coninck and Michelle Mortelmans to choose their wedding rings, they ran into a major problem.

None of the rings they saw were right for them. “We visited some jewelry designers but every visit ended the same,” Geert says. “They all only had standard rings that didn’t reflect our personality.”

As a creative designer, Geert and Michelle wanted their rings to be unique, and to symbolize their passion for creativity. “As creative people, we wanted to have a less conventional ring,” he says. And that’s when inspiration struck.

“I’d started to use the 3Doodler Create pen after getting it as a new year’s gift,” Geert says. “It’s a nice way to play around with shapes. Clients love to see the creations standing on my desk and play with them.”

"As creative people, we wanted to have a less conventional ring." Share

Looking at the creations he had made, Geert had an idea. “Michelle was following a course in jewelry design. I asked her if her course master could help us to translate a 3D-sketched ring into a gold version,” he explains.

The concept was to create their own rings in plastic using the 3Doodler pen, which could then be cast in gold using the lost-wax technique.

“We did not have any guarantee that this would work,” Geert admits, “but we all got excited about this and took the risk of not having the rings finished before the wedding.”

The couple used a cylindrical ring holder to create tests of their rings in the correct size. “We made a lot of prototypes because the idea was to avoid sharp edges and not have double layers to keep the size from getting too thick,” Geert says.

The result was perfectly cast rings that matched the couple’s personality, and were—quite literally—made with love.

“My ring is a little more chaotic and has more ripples,” says Geert. “My wife’s has multiple smaller rings and a more simple and clean look.”

The rings were ready on schedule, and provided the perfect symbol for a union built on creativity.

A Model for Modernism

At a dinner party in 1945, famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was approached with an offer.

Prominent Chicago nephrologist Dr. Edith Farnsworth wanted Mies to create a weekend getaway along the Fox River in Plano, Illinois. The offer was for Mies to design the house as if it were for himself.

The result was the culmination of the unique take on modernist architecture for which Mies became an icon. With the launch of a new 3Doodler Create themed kit for the Farnsworth House, we take a look at the inspiration and architectural movement behind this stunning example of modernism.

A Higher Unity

While many modernist architects believed architecture should be used to socially engineer human behavior and guide occupants to higher ideals, Mies used his buildings differently.

Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

His architecture still represented his ideals and aspirations, but instead of constructing in a way to carefully engineer a result, Mies instead focused on freedom of movement and use. With a minimal framework and expressed structural columns, his buildings offered and open space in which inhabitants could express their own spirit—something he saw as crucial to elevating the harmony between architecture and humanity.

"In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art."-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Share

Mies often reflects the industrial culture he saw as growing in the United States within his own architectural aesthetic, and uses this to offer occupants a flexible and unobstructed space.

His ultimate purpose was to join together natural elements with culture and construction. “We should attempt to bring nature, houses, and the human being to a higher unity,” Mies once said, and he reflected this ideal through designs featuring glass walls and few solid exterior walls.

Part of a Larger Whole

Constructed in a pastoral setting, the Farnsworth House is a clear culmination of the modernist ideals Mies sought to bring together in his designs.

"If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole."-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Share

The singular geometric form of the house is simple in the extreme, constructed of steel and glass with a minimal form. The one-room rectangular structure sits parallel to the Fox River, with a perpendicular cross axis directly facing the river and nature.

Elevated 5 feet and 3 inches above the ground, and with floor-to-ceiling glass as the outer walls, the Farnsworth House appears to be floating within the natural landscape around it.

The glass walls encircle an open floor plan with a core wooden block containing the toilet and kitchen—a wooden room nesting inside the larger glass rectangle. Each area of the living space—areas for sleeping, eating, sitting, and cooking—is suggested by the arrangement, but ultimately the inhabitant is free to decide the use of space as they desire.

An Icon of Modernism

To honor this National Historic Landmark and icon of modernist architecture, 3Doodler is pleased to present a unique Farnsworth House theme kit for 3Doodler Create.

The 3Doodler Farnsworth House Kit

In collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Farnsworth floor plans, so anyone can create this modernist masterpiece in miniature scale. The kit also includes a visual step-by-step guide and four packs of ABS plastic to replicate the original structure. Learn more about the the making of this kit here.

The Farnsworth House Kit will be available alongside Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Kit. Sign up for notifications on the release of these new kits:

Falling for Frank Lloyd Wright

The father of organic architecture turns 150 years old in June. The impact of interior designer, architect, writer, and educator, Frank Lloyd Wright can still be seen today.

Having designed over 1,000 structures in his lifetime, the work of Frank Lloyd Wright has made a lasting impact on architecture and design. In celebration of his 150th birthday, we are pleased to present a new 3Doodler Create Project Kit for Wright’s signature example of organic architecture, Fallingwater.

Celebrating 150 Years

With 532 completed structures over the span of a 70-year career, Frank Lloyd Wright has become an icon of American architecture. Twelve of his buildings are listed amongst Architectural Record’s hundred most important buildings of the century.

"We are all here to develop a life more beautiful, more concordant, more fully expressive of our own sense of pride and joy than ever before in the world."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Wright firmly believed that architecture was “the mother of all the arts,” and approached each design with this intensity of conviction. His aim to was to reflect the landscape, people, culture, and feel of America within his own designs and architecture.

With dramatic new shapes and designs, Wright developed what he called “organic architecture”, representing what he saw as the harmonious connection of the citizens of the United States with both each other, and to the land they call home. As such, his homes center around shared spaces such as the dining table, music rooms, and terraces to encourage a sense of community and closeness to both family and nature.

Fallingwater

None of Wright’s structures reflects the harmony between architecture and nature better than Fallingwater.

"The making of a good building, the harmonious building, one adapted to its purposes and to life, [is] a blessing to life and a gracious element added to life, is a great moral performance."-Frank Lloyd Wright Share

Constructed between 1936 and 1939, the residence was designed for the Kaufmann family in southwest Pennsylvania. Stretching over a 30-foot waterfall, the house is a shining example of Wright’s commitment to a unique architectural design that integrates family life with natural surroundings.

While the Kaufmanns had requested a house with a view of the waterfall, Wright wanted them to instead live with the water itself, and to make the falls an integral part of their everyday life. His organic design was detailed down to the colors, with only two distinct colors used in the final building, both tied closely to the materials used—the light ochre of the concrete, and Wright’s own signature Cherokee red on the steel.

Since Fallingwater first opened its doors to the public in 1964, over 4.5 million visitors have come to see Wright’s architectural masterpiece first-hand.

Recreating a Piece of History

To honor this National Historic Landmark and icon of organic architecture, 3Doodler is pleased to present a unique Fallingwater theme kit for 3Doodler Create.

In collaboration with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Licensed Project Kit includes detailed stencils created from the original Fallingwater floor plans, so anyone can create Wright’s masterpiece in miniature scale. The kit also includes a visual step-by-step guide and four packs of ABS plastic to replicate the exact colors of the original structure. Learn more about the the making of this kit here.

Celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th Birthday by recreating one of the most powerful pieces of American architecture. Sign up for notifications on the release of this new kit at the3Doodler.com.

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