For educators not quite ready to dive in to 3D printing, there are several 3D pens on the market, which are hand held devices that mimic the extrusion process of a 3D printer, but allow for more free form control over what is created. Two of the more popular manufacturers of pens include the 3Doodler and Scribbler.
3Doodler (opens in new tab) is the maker of the first ever 3D printing pen, with 2 versions: Start (safe for ages 6+) and Create+ (ages 14+). 3Doodler Start uses low-temperature melt, non-toxic, biodegradable filament, and has no external heated parts. 3Doodler Start basic pens cost $49.99, with various packages and activities available. 3Doodler Create+ is compatible with multiple filaments, including ABS, PLA, flex, and wood filaments available on their website. Prices start at $79.99, with multiple kits and activities available. Educational bundles of both versions are also available.
Scribbler (opens in new tab) offers three 3D pens. The Scribbler V3 ($89) offers an ergonomically friendly grip, and durable, long-lasting motor. The Scribbler Duo ($110) is the first ever dual extruder hand-held pen, allowing users to combine colors without the hassle of switching filaments during the build. The Scribbler Nano ($99) is the smallest 3D pen on the market. All three pens offered by Scribbler allow users to adjust the speed of extrusion and the temperature of the nozzles, and are compatible with ABS, PLA, flex, wood, copper, and bronze filaments offered on their website.
If you're looking for a more involved experience, the 3d Simo Kit (opens in new tab) ($35) is the world’s first build-your-own 3D pen kit. Powered by a microcomputer based on Arduino Nano, this kit is open source, which means advanced makers can customize parts, firmware and the circuit board to fit their needs. Appropriate for middle school and older students, this kit is a great way to introduce students to fabrication by asking them to build their own tools. 3DSimo also offers the Kit 2 ($69), which is a 4-in-1 tool - 3D pen, soldering iron, burner, and foam cutter.
To learn about the top 3D printers for the preK-12 classroom, visit Tech&Learning's updated 3D Printer Guide (opens in new tab).