Sometimes 3D printing is all fun and games, and that’s a great way to get the next generation interested — and just to have fun.
Summer is starting in the northern hemisphere, and Polaroid points to the season as a great time to introduce its new Play 3D Pen. Normally this is when we’d say kids will be at home more now that school’s out, or about to let out for the summer — but thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, in most places the kids have already been home with distance learning. So whether it’s for projects for bored kiddos on summer break or bored kiddos sick of jigsaw puzzles during lockdown — or kiddos not bored at all (or not kids at all) who just want to have some three-dimensional drawing fun — there’s a new 3D printing pen in town.
The Play 3D Pen has been available already in the UK and EU, Polaroid notes, and this week it’s come to the US as well.
It looks like…like a 3D printing pen. I apologize if I’m missing some finesse in these, but they’re all relatively similar: a handheld extruding device that can be loaded up with colorful plastic filament to create designs in three dimensions, by hand.
I’ve used them, I have two of them, and they’re fun toys. Of course they can also be useful for serious 3D printers who need to occasionally fill in some gaps in desktop 3D printed projects, or to patch up or connect parts. I don’t want to short sell these devices by any stretch — they have many uses, both recreational and functional.
They’re just all pretty similar. A 3D printing pen review a few years ago was the hardest review I’ve ever written… it worked, I’m not a very good artist. So none of my creations were particularly elegant, but the thing did what it was supposed to do.
Anyway, the new 3D printing pen from Polaroid is intended for ages 14 years and up, and for “all skill levels.”
What is neat about the Play 3D Pen is the app it comes with: The Polaroid Trace App.
The product listing explains:
“The App comes with a range of model templates that you can trace, using the Polaroid screen protector included in the box, and then assemble using the pen turning your 2D picture into a 3D model. Alternatively, it also provides the ability to stencil your own photographs and bring them to life in 3D.”
As noted, these pens are easy to use, but it’s very helpful to have some help in actually creating the designs. The press kit for the Play 3D Pen includes some truly ambitious works of art to inspire you:
Thankfully it also shows some more realistic projects:
I think even I could make the earrings.
The $39.99 Pen is available exclusively through crafting purveyor JOANN — which apparently also is the exclusive distributor of the $499.99 Polaroid PlaySmart 3D Printer.
It comes with a small starter pack of four reels of filament — a 20-pack of refill filament is available for $24.99 (currently on special for $17.49, per the JOANN site as of the time of writing, as there seems to be a 30% off sale on 3D printer filament). The additional material includes 20 colors (“packs”) and notes that “Each pack is approximately 16 feet in length, lasting around half an hour of continuous drawing.”
Further specs include:
- Select manual or automatic extrusion
- Features a choice of four print speed settings
- Includes auto-retraction when not in use to prevent filament blockages
- Features auto-turn off for added safety