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3Doodler – 3D printer pen

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Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Several months ago, a fellow teacher introduced me to the 3Doodler as a Kickstarter project. I was immediately intrigued with it. is the website. As an early supporter, I got my pens in February along with 50 sticks of starter ABS plastic. There are some knock off pens on Amazon that have not received great reviews. Now that I have seen the 3Doodler, I can see it has a smaller barrel, is easier to handle, and will utilize both ABS and PLA plastic. Initially they show using the 3mm filaments that come in stick form. What we discovered was you can purchase rolls of ABS, cut it into “sticks” and use it successfully in the pen. Of course they recommend you use the sticks which are kind of pricey and available only on their website. We got the idea to use the spooled ABS from looking in the background of one of the videos of an intricate project where we saw the spool of ABS sitting there. I would not recommend using cheap ABS/PLA. Make sure you get the made in USA filament. Apparently the cheaper filament has inconsistencies that cause the pen to clog or the project to have inconsistent diameter extrusions. I also would not recommend running the plastic from the spool, it would be too easy to get it tangled up and in the project. Yesterday, I brought the pen out for students to try out. You can tell I am old. I was trying to figure out what to do with the pen, searching through my brain trying to come up with some cool idea. The kids grabbed the pen, read just enough instructions to get the pen up and running and the ABS plastic flowing. Before you knew it, they were drawing their names, “sunglasses”, geometric shapes, springy coils, stick figure people, you name it. After playing for an hour, eight of them all had a chance to create and are now walking out of the room with their names created in plastic. Their next thought was, “So now that we know how to use the pen, how can we create something more 3D, like a lizard, or a shoe?” Tomorrow will be a new day and I am sure their heads will be full of wonderful creative new ideas. I can’t wait to learn from them.

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Just thought I would provide an update. My students have used this pen now for a little over a month. They are totally fascinated with it. Many students have chosen to come in during their lunch time and find ways to create whatever happens to come to mind. Several have created their names initially, then moved on to building upward. One of the real benefits of the pen have been the collaborative time students are spending talking together about a whole variety of ideas. While this was not my original intent, I found overall the boys were initially engrossed with it, but after making a few items, they wanted to move on to something else. The girls however are getting more and more creative as time passes. They seem to have more perseverance when it comes to sticking with it longer. Several have invited some of the girlfriends in at lunch to “give it a go.” What warms the heart is when the girls are successful with the pen and began inviting their friends in at lunch. Many have decided to make Design and Engineering their elective next year because they want to pursue the challenges they see unfolding in the classroom not necessarily related to the pen. I am hoping that once the girls see some of the other projects we are building, like the toothbrush robots, they will continue their pursuit of STEM and STEM careers.

Naomi Beverly Naomi Beverly 19130 Points

Sandy- What I like best about these forums involves the new information I learn. I had never even heard about this pen...and now I have to learn more after reading your post. Thank you. All the best, Naomi Beverly

Kathryn Fossaceca Kathryn Fossaceca 1095 Points

Thank you for sharing this pen! This is awesome! I have seen 3D printers in action, but was not aware that there was an actual pen! I was wondering if anyone has any lesson plans that they have used with their students for this pen? I can see some cool applications to anatomy, and even modeling the cell!

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Kathryn, I think your idea of using it for modeling a cell would be a perfect use for the pen. One of the things I really like about it is it is quick and students can easily handle making projects without having to use a CAD program first. I purchase spools of the filament from Amazon instead of purchasing the filament from 3Doodler. We got the idea from looking at several of their gallery photos and videos – we saw the spool lying on the work table beside the pen. They warn you against doing so, though I wonder if it is an economic thing or not. I use the JET filament, it seems to do just fine. When you are buying the filament, I always try to make sure it is a reputable, preferably, USA company. Some of the foreign filaments have air pockets and/or small pieces of metal in them. We just cut off lengths of the filament and use them the same way as the sticks that come with the pen. One thing that has been really useful is go to your kitchen staff at school, ask if they have parchment paper. This works really well because the filament sticks, but the students can put something underneath and see the lines. I don’t have any lesson plans, basically I use my imagination. When there is an opportunity to use the pen for a 3D creation instead of pencil drawing, such as your cell idea, students are welcome to use them. I have also used them in Math when I teach scale. It’s a quick, fun way for students to show me they understand converting an object to scale. It’s easy because I can hand out a shape, most likely a triangle, then tell them the scale they need to convert to. Fun, quick, easy.

Christina Torango Christina Torango 12445 Points

Thanks for the post! Great ideas ladies!

Kristin Zama Kristin Zama 3225 Points

Thank you for sharing your experience with the 3D pen in your classroom. I had no idea there was a 3D pen till I read this post. What a great tool to get the students excited and involved!

Amber Culpepper Amber Culpepper 4355 Points

Love all these ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Lolita Benitez Lolita Benitez 1580 Points

This seems like a very interesting tool to use!!!

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