Cute gadget, and probably useful for welding together, repairing, or editing 3D printed parts or other ABS/PLA, but for freehand I find low temp polymorph plastic is more useful and easier to work with.
My brother had one of these at a family gathering this past holiday weekend. It was fun for the kids to play with, but produced crappy plastic junk that will just be in the way until you get around to throwing them out. But if you view it as a toy for the kids on a rainy day, kind of like Shrinky-Dinks, and you have that kind of disposable income, go for it.
These are not a point of entry into 3d printing any more than a pencil is entry level to architecture. They’re extremely limited in usefulness, and even if you could move your hand around like a 3d printer’s toolpath, you’d lose all sensation in your arm from the repetition.
I can’t think of a single practical application for these other than wasting small pieces of scrap plastic filament.
One-time disposable customized sample holders, little adapters that don’t have to carry much strength, tchotchkes like that. Useful but not $120-useful.
This is a device that’s still in search of a practical use.
I can see it used for making ad-hoc rigid enclosures for small thingies, e.g. connectors. Or smaller spacers or gaskets or washers. Kind of like a glue gun, but with molten plastic.
that would be me. results have been disappointing but my younger kid does use it from time to time. the whole drawing in the air thing is… not that easy.
How easier/more difficult is the operation at a hot vs cold day? What about taking it outside when it’s freezing? What about a cooling fan mounted on the pen? Would the faster cooling of the extruded material improve its handling?
hm well here in california it’s never cold, so can’t test that. cooling the material faster probably would help, but have not tried that. generally it gets used to make flat-ish things.
You can try the fan cooling method. A fast airflow can do wonders with rapid surface solidification.
(Thought, but that may break the thing. Drawing under cold water. Would require insulating the nozzle.)
(Subsequent thought. What about using this trick for 3d printing? Using water as a support for overhangs, printing on its surface or just below? Probably woudln’t work for a billion of reasons, but could spawn some similar idea…)
I have a Bondic pen, which ejects a clear gel that hardens into solid plastic when you shine a UV light on it for 4 seconds. That’s something I’ve found useful. If you accidentally get it where it wasn’t supposed to be, you can just wipe it off.
It reportedly also cures well with the 404nm lasers. Try it with a blue laser pointer, could go hard faster than a teen male.
I have used glue guns for years to make crappy stress reliefs or pot electronics, half assed but if you use the right glue sticks can last for years, I think I even used a glue gun a few times to make crappy shaped parts.
I think a hot glue gun would be more useful than these except as above welding or adding a detail which would otherwise have to much overhang to print without hugely wasteful support structure.
For most people this pen is the turns out not really useful alternative for high school or college kids who really want a 3d printer but cant afford one.
This thing is like the huge crappy flakey expensive Brother word processor my future wife got for college in the early 90s when she asked for a computer, and she only used a few times, preferring to borrow a computer(mine!!) which could actually save and edit beyond a few words at a time.
I am doing the same. Except instead of a glue gun that takes its sweet time to heat up I melt the glue stick with a torch, smear it where it is needed, and then optionally flame-polish it.
I’m wondering it could be used as a sort of 3d scanner. Draw a mesh on an objects surface, remove the object, measure the mesh? Obvoiusly a half baked idea on my part, but has anyone tried it??
Or are 3d scanners competitively priced these days?
For survivalist paranoia cycle touring I keep a tea candle in it’s little aluminum cup and a hot glue stick, and on my work bench. The candle lasts longer than a match and like your solution is very quick to use for most solutions. It is how I can even re-attach soles of kid’s shoes in a few minutes without having part of the job go cold.
I like those butane lighters that make that kind of hissing blue flame. Better sources of hot air than quite some politicians, and that means something.
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