3Doodler Pen Sets – Build & Play, Start and Create+
In a world where 3D printing has become a popular and widespread manufacturing tool, it is inevitable that products will be churned out for use by the public too. By producing a set of 3D printing pens designed for various ages, 3Doodler is certainly one company to make you sit up and take notice.
For ages 4+, 3Doodler’s 3D Build & Play is a colourful, entertaining and clever way to engage your children. The easy-to-use crank is designed for little hands to hold and the concept of injecting warm plastic into moulds to create animal characters is relatively straightforward. Whilst helping them with hand-eye coordination, a 4-year old would more likely miss the small injection hole most of the time and you may wind up with warm plastic blobs setting elsewhere, especially as it only takes 20 seconds to harden.
A storybook is provided that works in conjunction with the plastic animals being created, meaning that kids can use these new characters to act out the story at the same time it is being read, plus they get pop-up backgrounds to use too. It is more likely that these animals will end up down the back of the sofa of course or lying on the floor after being played with, but at least it is engaging them and the possibility of creating their own new little playmates does offer them an excited expectation.
It comes with a number of plastic strands that are simple to feed into the Build & Play and it never gets too hot, telling you when it is ready to use thanks to a light on the top. With the amount of slips and wasted plastic you are bound to get, it would have been nice to start with more strands and that purchasing more online was not such a necessity. Also, the 3 batteries required are not included in the box and, whilst not a big deal, the writing telling you this is small and white against a yellow background, making it very easy to miss.
Despite the flaws, there is no doubt that this will entertain young children but it may not be something they will want to come back to that often.
The 3Doodler Start is designed for the next age bracket of 6-13 and is a more streamlined pen that does not require batteries, instead being charged via the USB port. Again, this is very easy to use with a button instead of a crank and it is lightweight, plus it comes with a reasonable starter kit including stencils and strands.
Again though, it would have been nice to have more of these to start with so you did not have to buy more so quickly. Plus, there were some fiddly moments with the Start where the warm plastic did not stick well. The option to ‘weld’ any created items together though was a nice touch and did overcome the initial disappointment.
The Start however will certainly offer a great chance for the kids to be creative and the limits are simply their imaginations, as well as the number of strands of course. It is a nice way to introduce them to the world of 3D printing.
The third and final product – the 3Doodler Create+ - is the smart, sleek member of the product family. It is lightweight, straightforward to use and does offer a clever way to create any design you can dream of. It also comes with dual temperature settings as well as a speed option, the former allowing for more intricate design work. The selection of colour strands included in the box is greater than their other products and should keep you going longer before needing to make a purchase. It even comes with a selection of maintenance tools should you need them and some projects to help you get started.
It is slightly disappointing that the Create+ comes with a power adaptor instead of being able to be charged and used wirelessly. Also, despite the more impressive kit that comes with this, the price is significantly higher than other 3D printing pens which came as a surprise.
For those looking to introduce their family to the joys of 3D printing, 3Doodler’s products are a good place to start. They have clearly ensured that the individual designs suit the age range they are aimed at and, for the Start and Create+ in particular, the possibilities are almost endless.
- Build & Play is engaging and fun
- Start is easy-to-use, wireless and offers great potential
- Create+ is well designed and comes with a good starter kit
- Build & Play and Start do not come with many strands
- Create+ is not wireless and price is high
- Build & Play $29.99
- Start £44.99
- Create+ £127.99
Build & Play – 3.5/5
Start – 3.5/5
Create+ - 3.5/5