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The best 3D pen in 2021: model and design in 3D

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Best 3D pens
(Image credit: Westend61 on Getty Images)

The best 3D pen offers an easy way to create 3D art without any special training or skills. You simply 'draw' your model with melted filament; it's like using a normal pencil, only in three dimensions. With certain 3D pens, even kids as young as six can do so!

3D pens work by pushing out liquid plastic, which quickly cools and solidifies. That means that unlike 3D printers, you can craft your models with hand movements alone: no software or other equipment is required.

The best 3D pens are a great way to get creative, whether you're a hobbyist or professional creative. They're fun for kids too, and with Christmas fast approaching, they can even use them to make personalised gifts for family and loved ones (under supervision of course).  

Below you'll find the best 3D pen for children, the best 3D pen for adults, the best 3D pen for beginners, and more. You'll also see the latest prices for each model, updated in real-time. We'll start with direct links to a selection of the best 3D pen Black Friday deals in the US or the UK. Scroll down further for the full round-up, and make sure you also see our guides to the best Black Friday drawing tablet deals and our general guide to Black Friday 2021 for more offers.

Once you've chosen your 3D pen, you can find inspiration for your projects with our guide to 3D art. And to go further with 3D modelling, check our guide to the best 3D modelling software too. 

Best 3D pen Black Friday deals: US

3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen: $79.99

3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen: $79.99 $59.99 at Amazon
Save $20: suitable for both kids and adults, the 3Doodler Create + pen is number three in our list below, and one of the best 3D pens all round. You'll need to be quick to grab this 25 per cent off deal from Amazon, because it's set to expire on 19 November.

MYNT3D Super 3D Pen: $39.99

MYNT3D Super 3D Pen: $39.99 $33.99 at Amazon
Save $6: Number four in our list below, this super affordable 3D pen for children and adults just got even cheaper with 15 per cent off at Amazon. The speed slider lets you regulate flow for optimal control and the durable ultrasonic sealed nozzle is virtually clog-proof.

Best 3D pen Black Friday deals: UK

Nikand 3D Pen: $49.95

Nikand 3D Pen: $49.95 £29.95 at Amazon
Save £20: While it doesn't make it into our list of the best 3D pens below, this Nikand option gets fairly good reviews and just became one of the cheapest recommendable 3D pens around with 40 per cent off.

The best 3D pens available now

Best 3D pen: MYNT3D Procb badge

(Image credit: MYNT3D )

01. MYNT3D 3D Pen Pro

The best 3D pen overall

Specifications
Filaments: ABS, PLA, others
Display: OLED
Controls: Temperature, speed
Reasons to buy
+Works with wide variety of filaments+Stepless speed adjustment+USB powered
Reasons to avoid
-Overkill for beginners

Overall the MYNT3D Pro is the best 3D pen on sale today. Lightweight and ergonomic, it's a good choice for beginners. But there are also plenty of features to elevate this pen above the norm for more experienced hands. 

An adjustable feed lets you regulate the speed and flow of the material to help you stay in complete control and tackle differing levels of detail effectively. Temperature can be adjusted in one-degree increments; monitored via a clear OLED display. 

Unlike many other 3D pens, it supports a variety of filament types: not just ABS and PLA, but according to the makers, any thermoplastic. "If it is 1.75mm and melts between 140-230° C, then it will work in the MYNT3D Pen", they say. That could mean, for example, filaments infused with wood or bronze. 

It's USB powered, so you can do some 3D drawing on the go by hooking it up to a plug adapter, laptop or one of the best power banks, as long as they have at least 2A output. And the modular nozzle design is easy to replace, so mistakes won't put your 3D pen out of action.

Best 3D pen: 3Doodler Start

(Image credit: 3Doodler)

02. 3Doodler Start

The best 3D pen for kids

Specifications
Filaments: PLA, ABS, FLEXY
Display: N/A
Controls: Stop/start/reverse
Reasons to buy
+Designed for kids+Great for STEM learning and art projects
Reasons to avoid
-No screen-3Doodler filaments only

The 3Doodler Start is a wireless pen that's designed for kids from six and up. That means the controls are kept to the minimum, and everything's been subjected to the strictest safety testing. As with other 3Doodler pens, you're restricted to the manufacturer's own range of filaments, but the basic pack comes with 48 strands to get you going, in eight different colours. Each strand offers 60 inches' worth, so you'll be able to make a lot of models before you need to buy more.

best 3D pen: 3Doodler Create+

(Image credit: 3Doodler)

03. 3Doodler Create+

The best 3D pen for beginners

Specifications
Filaments: PLA, ABS, FLEXY
Display: N/A
Controls: Speed/temperature
Reasons to buy
+Simple to use+FLEXY filament compatible
Reasons to avoid
-No screen-3Doodler filaments only

The 3Doodler Create+ has a beautifully ergonomic design, and it's easy to use, making it a great choice for beginners. This pen supports FLEXY plastics as well as PLA and ABS, although note they need to be 3Doodler ones. There are 70 colours to pick from and you get 75 filaments included with this package, as well as a compehensive guidebook. 

Dual speed and temperature controls mean it's not just for newbies, either: more experienced hands will enjoy using this for detail work too. Overall, this is a 3D pen that does what it promises, reliably and efficiently.

Best 3D pen: MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

(Image credit: MYNT3D )

04. MYNT3D Super 3D Pen

The best 3D pen for value

Specifications
Filaments: ABS, PLA
Display: N/A
Controls: Speed, temperature
Reasons to buy
+Anti-clog, replaceable nozzle+Stepless speed slider+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-No display

Short on cash? The MYNT3D Super 3D Pen is similar to the Pro model (number one on our list), with the same gearbox and replaceable nozzle design. And yet, it's available for a more affordable price. 

So where's the catch? What you lose here is the OLED display, and discrete temperature adjustment. A temperature adjustment screw lets you switch between the correct temperatures for ABS and PLA, but you're limited to those two materials. 

On the plus side, the kit comes with a lightweight, ergonomic stylus, three colours of ABS plastic and a 100-240V AC 50/60Hz adapter. And overall, this pen is easy to use in practice, and represents excellent value.

Best 3D pen: XYZprinting da Vinci 3D Pen

(Image credit: XYZprinting)

05. XYZprinting da Vinci 3D Pen

The best cheap 3D pen

Specifications
Filaments: PLA
Display: N/A
Controls: Stop/start/reverse
Reasons to buy
+Simple to use+Good all-rounder+Nice freebies
Reasons to avoid
-PLA filament only

Looking for the cheapest 3D pen that still does a good job? Then you'll find it in this orange-coloured 3D pen from XYZprinting. 

Powered via a USB cable and weighing only 70g, this nicely designed device handles very much like a pen, extruding a choice of 11 different coloured filaments through its 0.8mm nozzle. Be aware, though, that it's designed to exclusively use PLA filament. 

The package includes 1.75 mm non-toxic PLA filament refill, and cleaning and maintenance tools too. If you get stuck, there's support via an online ticketing system, Skype or telephone.

Best 3D pen: XYZ Printing da Vinci 3D Pen Cool

(Image credit: XYZ Printing)

06. XYZprinting da Vinci 3D Pen Cool

A safe choice for younger children

Specifications
Filaments: PCL
Display: N/A
Controls: Stop/start/reverse
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Safe for kids+Less mess 
Reasons to avoid
-Too limited for grown-ups

Here's another great pen from XYZprinting, one that's aimed at children of six and above. Its lightweight design and micro USB charging cable let your children move it around and draw easily, like a normal pencil. Most importantly, it uses PCL filament, which is non-toxic, leaves less mess, and melts at a low heat. It's also free of DEHP and heavy metal, and biocompostible, so it's good for the planet too.

What 3D pen should I buy?

The best 3D pen available today is the MYNT3D 3D Pen Pro. It's light and ergonomically designed, making it easy to hold and use, whether you're a newbie or an experienced hand. An adjustable feed helps you stay in control, and you can increase the temperature in increments. It's USB powered and you can use a wide range of filaments.

What's the best 3D pen for children?

The best 3D pen for children is the 3Doodler Start, which is suitable for kids from six and up. The controls are simple, and everything's been subjected to the strictest safety testing. There are no hot parts on the pen and its Eco-Plastic filament is non-toxic, BPA-free, and completely biodegradable in household compost. It typically takes about 45 days for the plastic to break down.

Do 3D pens really work?

Yes, 3D pens really work, if what you want to do is create a 3D model by hand. If you want to create a 3D model based on a pre-existing design, though, you need a 3D printer

A 3D pen uses the same type of heating element to melt filament that you get in a 3D printer. But while the latter is controlled by software, a 3D pen you control entirely yourself, much like using a glue gun, so you can get truly expressive. Once the filament leaves the filter, it cools rapidly, and hardens into whatever shape you have formed it into.

What is a 3D pen used for?

You can use a 3D pen to draw on any flat surface. But, as the name suggests, the real beauty of a 3D pen is that it allows you to draw in mid-air, using plastic filament, and create three-dimensional structures that then solidify. Alternatively, you can draw over an existing object to enhance it. 

Who uses 3D pens?

Anyone can use a 3D pen, but they're commonly used by hobbyists, artists, makers, fashion designers and home furnishing designers in creative projects. They're also used by engineers and DIYers to solve practical problems, by teachers in education, and by kids for fun projects.

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