Tuesday

My 3Doodler 2.0 review

8-11-15

I am the proud owner of two 1st generation 3Doodler pens, backed on Kickstarter.  And I also backed version 2.0.  I won’t give all the details as to why the 2nd pen is more awesome than the first, the nice people at WobbleWorks make that pretty clear, and I wholeheartedly agree.  Smaller, doodles longer and more consistently, less noisy, etc, still really awesome.

What it is not, is magic.  Awesome is good enough.  But it doesn’t do magic, you do need some practice to make stuff.  But you don’t have to be an amazing artist, tracing will get you really far very quickly with this pen!  I prefer to trace my own stuff, so here is the new thing I’ve made.



3Doodled ocarinas!  These bad boys sound great, they are in tune with themselves, and they have endless color potential.

A sample of how it sounds:



I made them pretty much the same way as my copper ocarinas but with a plastic twist.  Honestly, it is easier to make them out of metal clay than it is to draw them with a 3D printing pen, but that wasn’t going to stop me!  Metal clay very much limits me in size, only so much will fit inside my kiln, and also in cost of materials.  I intend to make ocarinas in larger sizes to see if I can.  And the bigger they are, the more complex designs I can add!  I’m thinking of a large bass ocarina with Mario and his buddies rampaging across it.  Adding stones to the plastic ocarinas was much easier than adding them to metal however, because I’m not very good at bezel setting yet.  The only concern was the stones heat up fast, so you have to be careful to not burn your fingers.  These have ocean jasper and cubic zirconia accents.  But I digress!


You can use one of three different kinds of plastic with the 3Doodler currently, all sold from WobbleWorks’ website.  I highly recommend buying plastic from them, as the plastic is perfectly straight and of a quality that is guaranteed to work with the pen.  Plastic on spools increases the risk of jamming, which is not fun, so you should use separate plastic from your 3D printer if you are lucky enough to have one.  (Someday we will buy one!  The small ones for home use keep getting more affordable.)

Flexy and ABS plastic work fantastic in the 2.0, the closest thing I have to a complaint is that I would like more colors to buy!

Flexy is rubbery, and it flexes after drawn.  Pretty nifty!  I made this creepy moon spider mini for Pathfinder (D&D) with it!  


ABS is standard plastic.  It is pretty tough, and you can carve it easily with an x-acto knife, which  I did to form the voicing and get the sound holes the right size to make my ocarina in tune with itself.  

And PLA is my favorite, it is made from corn and 100% compostable, so I don’t have to feel bad about plastic scraps!  It is NOT easy to carve, and while tough, it is more brittle than ABS.  It also doesn’t seem to want to work as well as the other plastics for extruding.  Lots of people have complained about PLA with the 2.0.  It doesn’t melt the same as ABS, and that just has to be accepted from the beginning.  This plastic is for tracing or adding on to layers of other plastic, not doodling in the air like you see in the videos online, you want ABS for that.  I had additional problems with my pen jamming with PLA, it was actually becoming jammed with every single strand, which seemed excessive.  Customer Service was super fast to respond and help me with my problem.  I’ve opted not to send my pen in for repairs (software problem causing the pen to not get hot enough on he PLA setting?) because turning up the temperature seems to have made it work much better.  The pen still becomes blocked occasionally, but I expect that is something which will occur infrequently no matter what.  The PLA is more likely to create a blockage if you extrude slowly or pause while doodling.  

The great news, is that the 3Doodler 2.0 has a maintenance hatch!  That sucker did NOT want to come off on my pen.  I resisted opening it for a very long time because it ideally shouldn’t have to be opened.  And then it was hard to get off, and this made me afraid that I was going to break my pen trying to follow the instructions.  But eventually I managed to jog it loose, or use enough force, and I popped the little metal bit out.  Some plastic flashing came off when I replaced the cover and put the metal piece back in.  After that, it has been very easy (just like in the video) to get the maintenance hatch on and off to clear up plastic that has wrapped around the gears, and I don’t hesitate to do so.

The metallic colors of PLA seem more likely to cause a blockage than any other color, so I’m going to use them sparingly in the future.  The clear colors are lovely!  

A variety of accessories are available for the pen.  I have the NozzleSet.  I haven’t had a chance to try all the different nozzles yet, but the smoothing tool alone is worth the cost.  Previously I had just used the side of the nozzle on the pen to smooth.  But it wasn’t very accurate, and it was messy.  The tool provides a superior shape for getting into detailed areas or just smoothing a large area effectively. 

A few quick tips!  Lots of people have had problems with the included cleaning tool getting stuck inside the pen, or the tip of it breaking off inside necessitating removing the maintenance hatch to get it out.  I have found no use for the tool personally, so I’m just ignoring it.  A small pair of pliers to remove the hatch and an x-acto blade to clean plastic from the tip of the nozzle are treating me well.  Also, you can potentially use another piece of plastic to gently push a blockage through more effectively than the cleaning tool can.  When plastic gets stuck inside the pen, sometimes it can be unblocked by removing the nozzle, ALWAYS REMOVE THE NOZZLE WHILE HOT OR YOU WILL BREAK YOUR PEN, and carefully fishing inside with a straightened paperclip or similar wire.  

Overall, this pen is amazing, and I highly recommend it.  4.5 stars out of 5, I’d increase that to 5 if the maintenance hatch was easier to deal with and sturdier from the beginning, which I very much expect will be addressed with the next model.  2.0 is so very much better than the first version, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with for the next one, I will certainly back that on Kickstarter too!  In the meantime, I’ve collected almost every color of plastic offered, and I have doodling to do.  Hope everyone enjoys their 3Doodler!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this! I actually got to this blog post by reading all negative comments on Amazon, getting a link to the comments on Kickstarter and finding your comment where you stated you had issues with the PLA, even though ABS was working beautifully (same as me). I used the fine tuning on the pen by turning it 90 degrees once or twice and now PLA works beautifully. I cannot express how grateful I am!

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  2. Hooray! I'm so glad my experience helped get you doodling again! Thank you for sharing and have fun. :)

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