Maker Monday - 3D Doodler Pen

It's the first day back to school, and I am getting ready for second semester and all the new projects students will be able to consider for their Spring Maker project.  A few months ago, I ordered a 3D Doodler Pen with funds from the Voya Unsung Heroes grant. 
(Note: Apply for the grant -  Deadline is April 30).  

Our students are already familiar with 3D design as they have been working with the 3D printer for several months.  The 3D Doodler pen looked like the perfect companion especially for those students who prefer to create with their hands.  I was further enticed by some of the amazing creations I saw online.  Look at this amazing bird!

First, the 3D Doodler is easy to get up and running.  You just plug it in, select your filament type, turn it on, and wait for it to heat up.  Then, simply load the filament like you would a lead pencil.

Making something is a little more challenging.  Maybe I shouldn't have looked at that beautiful bird creation first.  My goal was to create a dog house.  Umm... Here's what I managed before realizing this was not going to happen...

So, I did a little more reading and got some great tips.  First, use painter's tape to prepare your surface.  Why didn't I think of that?  It's just like the tape we use on the build tray for the 3D printer.  Second, don't expect the lines to be smooth at first, so start with projects that don't require them.  

My next project wasn't that great, but it's much better.  We were making Christmas cookie cutters with the 3D printer, so I tried making a Walnut Grove ornament with the Doodler.  It's not beautiful, but not horrible for less than 30 minutes working with the pen, including the time on the "doghouse".  Motivated, interested students should be able to do better with a little more practice and time.

Some other tips:  

Use a model to guide your big projects.  For example, if I had started by folding an origami dog house and then used it as a scaffold for the 3D drawing, it would have been much easier to keep my lines straight. I'm thinking of it as high tech paper mâché.

Use the 3D Doodler to add finishing touches to another project created with other materials.  This would be especially useful for adding a little extra color or flourishes to our 3D printed projects.

Change the speed of the filament flow to match the level of detail your design requires.  It worked better for me to start at the high setting and then slow down for corners and other more precise work.

Stay tuned for some future posts with student projects.


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