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.

5 Careers That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

Technology is changing the world, sometimes faster than education can keep up! With new career options developing, students now have a wider selection than ever before.

We believe in the importance of getting kids used to new tech and educational advancements early on. After all, this is what will shape the landscape for future career and job possibilities later on.

This week, we take a look at five new in-demand career options for STEM and tech-savvy students to consider.

Genetic Counselor

One field that has seen great benefits from new advancements in technology is medicine. New understandings of genetics and the data now available has opened up specialized opportunities for jobs that would have sounded like science fiction not too long ago.

Genetic Counselling can cover everything from cancer treatments to prenatal care and family planning. Some Genetic Counselors even specialize in specific fields like cardiology, neurology, or fertility.

Counselors look at each individual patient’s genetics, and examine the data to try and predict and prevent medical disorders. But the main part of the job, of course, is the patient. Genetic Counselors need to know how to connect and support each patient, and help explain the complicated medical side of things in ways that are easy to understand.

To be a Genetic Counselor, you’d need a Master’s degree in genetics, and likely would also need some certification in counselling as well. For students who love science and data, but are also very people-focused, this would be a perfect field to explore.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

The job title alone seems daunting, but the actual job is less scary than it sounds. This is another new field that has sprung up alongside technological advancements in medicine—specifically all the new machinery that modern medicine relies on.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists operate all specialized medical equipment, like CT and PET scanners, gamma cameras, and other imaging tools used to help diagnose medical issues. The technologists need to know how to care for and operate the machines, a vital task considering how closely technology and medicine are tied.

And as medical technology continues to grow and improve, so will this career field. Continual developments and innovation means a need for technologists who understand and can work alongside doctors and patients to help reach a diagnosis.

The job doesn’t require a medical degree, but does take good interpersonal skills and attention to detail, as the machines are often delicate and complicated. An interest in robots and engineering is important, and there are accreditation programs available for students looking to enter this field.

Sustainability Manager

When it comes to business, everyone knows it’s all about the green. No, we’re not talking about money! The new trend for businesses is environmentalism and sustainability, and more and more companies are realizing that going green is the way forward.

That’s where Sustainability Managers come in. This role means making sure a company is doing all it can to enforce the most environmentally-friendly practices possible, but at the best price for the company. This takes a lot of creativity, and excellent communication skills to get everyone on board and make your ideas a reality.

And it’s not just companies that are looking to fill this new role. Everything from corporations to universities, and even large cities need Sustainability Managers to create long-term plans to help them go—and stay—green.

A degree in Environmental Science and a passion for saving the planet is the way to go for students interested in pursuing a career in this field.

Drone Operator

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles sounds more like a code name for flying saucers rather than a new career field. But UAVs and drones are flying us into the future, with major companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook looking to expand their drone teams.

Drone Operators are in high demand, and for a large variety of purposes. While Amazon is looking to expand drone use for package delivery, news and media companies are looking for operators with more artistic talent to capture aerial footage in photos and videos.

For this new job field, the sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities. Some experts expect drones to be used in everything from agriculture to public safety, oil and gas exploration, and even in the film industry.

Some universities are already beginning to offer specialized courses in drone operation and manufacturing, but as it’s still a new field there are a lot of different backgrounds that students can explore. Drone Operators should have an interest in robotics and engineering, but can supplement this with skills in photography and videography, or other personal passions and interests.

Data Miner

What’s more precious that rubies and diamonds? Data—for companies, at least. In our new digital age, customer information and behavioral patterns are crucial for businesses to stay on top of the game, and they need experts to make sense of all the data they collect.

Data Miners help companies deal with “Big Data”. They predict future trends based on current and past consumer behavior, all extracted from the world of data that businesses collect. Everything from transactions to complaints and even social media reviews gets picked through by Data Miners to find patterns and make sense of it all.

And there’s plenty of related jobs within this data-driven career field. Digital Marketing and Social Media Management are new roles that are also becoming increasingly necessary as consumers take to online platforms for everything from shopping to costumer service. Businesses are finding that having an online presence is vital, and they need people familiar with how social media works in order to get the job done.

As a brand new field, there are lots of educational paths students can take if they’re interested in a Data Mining or other digital careers. A degree in Library Sciences is great for Data Miners, while a background in marketing or writing is useful for other jobs within the social sphere.

For students looking for new career opportunities, imagination is really the only limit. We are constantly seeing new fields open up, often in places we never even thought of.

And of course, students always have the option to invent something completely new! After all, the 3Doodler didn’t even exist five years ago.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

Critic’s Choice: New Dimensions

In Critic’s Choice,speaks to members of the art world who explore what the 3Doodler means in a broader artistic context. Last week we spoke to New Media Art Professor Zhenzhen Qi.

This weekspoke to Kerri Gaudelli, an installation artist and educator at the prestigious Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. At the Aldrich, Gaudelli works to foster an understanding and appreciation of art in every visitor, through historical perspective and interpretation. She also organizes opportunities for visitors to explore their own creative impulses as inspired by the works they’ve seen at the Aldrich.

Kerri Gaudelli doesn’t believe she has ever seen anything quite like the 3Doodler.

That makes the tool particularly unique. In her time at the Aldrich Museum she has seen a wide range of modern and contemporary work created using an expansive array of mediums. The diversity of artists and work on display at the museum is extensive, and often includes work that crosses the boundary between two and three dimensions.

Gaudelli’s own art often involves converting a charcoal drawing into installation pieces, featuring pins and thread that interact with the space around them. As a result, she’s excited by the prospect of using the 3Doodler in her own work.

“The 3Doodler is a new way for artists to think about space,” she says. “It can let them expand and bring their work to life. Letting them bring it out of 2D and into 3D allows them to work on the canvas as well as the wall, or anywhere, really, and often with the same amount of skill.”

While Gaudelli has yet to see a museum display that evokes the exact same look or feel as the 3Doodled work she’s seen, she believes the pen’s ability to work across dimensions and mediums would fit naturally into museum spaces both as a medium and as a learning tool. Gaudelli was impressed by the painterly sculpture of Rachel Goldsmith, which clearly showcased the 3Doodler’s ability to enable a new exploration of space.

“I think it would be a great experiment. My own work has a lot to do with structure, building, and translating from 2D to 3D and back, which is exactly what this pen does.” Gaudelli also said she feels the 3Doodler would be an excellent tool to have on hand at the Aldrich, particularly for the educational programs she runs for children.

“I’m the Education Program Assistant at The Aldrich. Which means I help run and write content for our school programs,” Guadelli said. “I also foster the relationship between schools and the Aldrich, and do outreach to help get students into the Museum.” To be effective at her job, Gaudelli often has to interpret how students as young as 3rd grade might see the museum, and help design an engaging experience for that particular point of view.

The Aldrich is multi-discipline as well as multi-media, and routinely hosts STEAM education events. STEAM education—which combines Art with the Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics of STEM programs—combines the strengths of all five modes of thinking. The Aldrich’s “Full STEAM Ahead” events feature symposiums and presentations about STEAM principals in education and society, as well as practical opportunities for students to investigate the topics and materials directly.

“Our STEAM tours would be a great fit for the 3Doodler,” Gaudelli said of the 3Doodler as a potential educational tool at the Museum.

“These are programs that let kids explore the galleries and artists on display at the museum and try to figure out what the artists are inspired by and interested in based on the works themselves and STEAM thinking. We recently had an exhibit with a piece that consisted of a deconstructed 1976 John Deere combine harvester. The artist used it as a metaphor to show the interconnectedness of different parts of the environment. It’s a real chance for the kids to come to understand space, and the use of something comparatively high-tech would fit really well. I think students would take to it right away.”

Gaudelli believes that the 3Doodler could be a way to open not just new directions for drawing, but also for thinking about art. “It really is the ultimate STEAM tool because it combines so many different ways of thinking, different dimensions, as well as science and technology behind it, and it uses all of that to create artwork.”

Critic’s Choice: Drawing New Insights with Zhenzhen Qi

Artists and creators the world over recognize the 3Doodler as a powerful and revolutionary tool. But what impact do the critics, professors, and curators of the art world think the 3Doodler will have? In Critic’s Choice,speaks to members of the art world who examine and speculate about what this new technology means in a broader artistic context.

Our first perspective comes from Zhenzhen Qi, an adjunct professor who teaches new media art and interaction design. Originally trained as an applied mathematician at UC Berkeley, she earned a Masters in New Media Arts after feeling there was something missing from her undergraduate studies. Qi’s work is often interactive and fuses her analytical background with representations of emotion. As a professor, she is continuously searching for truth, and helping her pupils find it as well.

Scientist, mathematician, engineer, and artist, Zhenzhen Qi has taken a circuitous path to where she is today. Bringing it all together is an essential part of her quest for truth.

“I had a very typical science and engineering educational experience,” Qi said of her training as an applied mathematician, “but I felt it was lacking something very important to the kind of person I am. The way scientists and engineers are trained and educated made me feel like there needs to be something more.”

“I’m still not sure if art alone is the answer,” Qi admitted, “but I think there are a lot of interesting things happening in the space between art and science technology.”

The search for “something more” led Qi to the Interactive Art program at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. After graduation, she became an educator and currently teaches both graduate and undergraduate New Media Art programs across New York City.

“The numerical parts of science combined with the openness of art is what makes both what I teach and what I make more interesting than either on their own.” Qi’s exploration of the spaces where art and science overlap has naturally taken her to the world of 3D printing. And that’s part of the reason why she is excited about the 3Doodler.

Qi’s statement is based on mathematician and computer scientist Seymour Papert’s design principal of “low floors, high ceilings.” When properly executed, this means you can create something with a tool as soon as it is picked up, but that the potential for more complex and involved creations from the tool is limitless. Although Papert was talking about his Logo programing language, Qi was referring to the relative ease of use of a printing pen, even though a practiced user can create truly incredible things.

But Papert’s thinking isn’t the only thing exciting Qi about the 3Doodler.

“I’m very familiar with 3D printing commercial technology. I’ve designed and printed a number of things with different hardware and materials,” Qi said of the emerging medium. But while she has been pleased with the results overall, she finds the process lacking something vital.

For Qi, 3D printing has meant that the act of creation ends when she saves the final version of the design file. The automated 3D printer removes the tactile element of creation and detaches her from the creative process. So, just as applied mathematics turned out to be only part of the equation, standard 3D printing techniques haven’t offered everything she is looking for.

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Qi believes the 3Doodler can provide a sense of creative ownership that automated printers simply can’t match. Executing the design by hand may provide artists with a new appreciation for the medium of molded plastic. Shaping the work directly makes it possible to discover new aspects of the piece, and understand the medium directly. And while it does make mistakes or minor imperfections more likely, this introduces the possibility to learn and find serendipitous new ways to develop artwork.

The increased potential for discovery and creation, Qi feels, is at the core of the appeal of the 3Doodler.

“The reason I thought a printing pen would be a great idea is because it reminds me so much of just regular drawing on a piece of paper. And drawing as a technology is probably one of our oldest forms of expression, one of the oldest technologies we have, and that’s because there’s so much creative potential with that tool.”

Qi envisions a future where the 3Doodler enables creators and students to easily create work that deftly blends dozens of disciplines. “This is a tool which can integrate fields that people are not used to seeing combined—for example, art, physics, material sciences and engineering. I think it’s more about integrating different fields rather than completely redefining any one field.”

And with that integration, perhaps she will find her greater truth.

Check out more of Qi’s work at zhenzhenqi.com.

Going PRO

With the release of the new 3Doodler PRO, we’ve taken the 3Doodler to the next level. More control, new advancements, and a wider range of materials make the PRO ideal for professional use in prototyping, art, and design.

Here are three creative professionals already exploring how the PRO can help them take their concepts further.

DYLAN BLAU

Co-Founder of #AllNaturalVines, freelance filmmaker and animator

DYLAN BLAU

Dylan was studying Economics when first discovered Vine – and used it to clear his mind during finals. Three years later, and this past-time has become part of Dylan’s career as an animator with extraordinary stop-motion Vines. Dylan now works full-time on stop-motion animation, motion graphics, 2D cel animation, and 3D animation to create unique & stunning visual results.

“I’ve always been fascinated by platonic solids. In a lot of my videos, low poly paper craft shapes are used as part of the sets. What intrigued me with this project in particular was the ability to be able to see every edge and connecting point of the shape, since all that’s needed to hold it together is the wireframe.”

“With this project I wanted to show the very foundation of the PRO pen.”

“It is just as you expect, drawing in 3D space. By transitioning from a flat square to a cube, the goal was to illustrate that with the PRO pen, you literally ‘lift your imagination off the page’. And by implementing more and more complex shapes as the video goes on, the viewer realizes that the things you can create go beyond just the basics.”

"You can never get the same organic and crafty feel with computer generated imagery, that’s where I grab the PRO pen and turn my design into a piece of art." Share

“I like to draw on stencils first, which allows me to get the most accurate representation of the designs. Thanks to the ability to mold and weld the material with the tip of the PRO pen, edges and corners can easily be achieved, turning flat Doodles into 3D objects.”

“Usually it helps if I create a mockup in 3D software. You can never get the same organic and crafty feel with computer generated imagery though, and that’s where I like to grab the PRO pen and turn my design into a piece of art that you can actually grasp.”

“With speed and temperature adjustments right at your fingertips, the PRO pen is highly customizable, making it the most advanced 3D drawing experience yet.”

JONATHON HARRIS

Live artist, installation artist

Jonathon Harris

Jon Harris has been performing his own work for twenty years across 4 continents. Taking inspiration from the cultures around him, his own experience and the views and actions of others, he weaves together stories and images that are as unforgiving as they are emotive. The human form is always centre to Jon’s work, even when physical people are not present.

Jonathon is currently showing his exhibition “The Original Memory/The Final Act” from 25 August – 2 October 2016 at The Art Gallery of Ballarat.

“This exhibition is about revisiting fragmented memories and walking the fine line between fact and fiction. It really does depend how you remember it.”

“With voices recorded twenty years apart and on different continents, this is the original memory and a memorial – and at its center is a life-sized, hand drawn 3D drawing of the human form attached to a string of written and spoken thoughts.”

"I wanted to create a 3D drawing using my own 2D drawing style. The 3Doodler enabled me to do this directly onto a cast of the human body and not miss any detail." Share

“I wanted to create a drawing and shell of a human being that is both solid and fragile at the same time, using unexpected and emerging technologies. I wanted to create a 3D drawing using my own 2D drawing style. The 3Doodler enabled me to do this directly onto a cast of the human body and not miss any required detail. Once the cast was secured, different versions were made/drawn with the pen – enabling me to plan how different parts of the drawing could be joined and made whole.”

“Drawing the figure was a slow progress with 56 hour of drawing and 949 strands of black plastic, but with careful planning, the drawing began to come together and inform the piece as a whole including its environmental and performative elements.”

“The 3Doodler’s creativity and its innate pushing of boundaries allows me to blur the line between drawing and sculpture.”

WENDY FOK

Creative director and founder of WE-DESIGNS LLC and Resilient Modular Systems, PBC.

Wendy Fok

Wendy’s designs draw on inspiration from mathematics, tying in principles from architecture, digital media, and design. Her design installations have been displayed around the world in Singapore, Paris, London, Dubai, Toronto, Shanghai, Athens and more. Wendy’s work aims to incorporate art and interactive spaces into city planning and architectural design.

“My work focuses on an exploration of geometric structures and how they can be applied spatially in sculptural installations or other various projects. This particular design takes pyramids and prisms and gathers them at a focal point, so that the angular prisms eventually form a circular structure.”

"The PRO is most useful when integrating finer details into a sketch model, and visualizing how the design could fit into a landscape or architectural setting." Share

“My design process relies on continual feedback. There must be a back and forth between mediums: paper, digital, glue, 3D printers, or whatever else. There is constant interaction between the objects at hand and the digital form, and I feel that the relationship between mediums, tools, and techniques are integral to the process of design and creation.”

“The PRO pen is especially useful in this communication between the digital and material. Most of my designs are first made in my sketchbook. Ideas are then transferred between the sketchbook and the computer and sometimes re-iterated through other forms of model making materials.”

“The PRO pen is most useful when integrating finer details into a sketch model, and visualizing how the design could fit into a landscape or general architectural setting.”

“Simply, the PRO allows the ability to build in 3D space that a traditional fountain pen or digital plan does not.”

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