3D Pen Comparison: UV Light Based 3D Pen vs. ABS Plastic Based 3D Pen – Which Is Better?
(Last Updated On: January 1, 2018)

If you are reading this publication you are probably familiar with 3d printing technology and how it is impacting our lives if not check out this publication. 3d printing technology was originally introduced in the form of 3d printers way back in 1986 and now in the last 5 to 6 years we have seen a new form of 3d printing technology that is the 3d pen. As soon as the firs 3d printing pen was launched few years back there was a race on to make a better 3d pen than the current models available in the market and that led to development of more refined Plastic filament based 3d printing pens but that was not enough and a new technology of 3d pens was introduced which was nothing like 3d pens using plastic based filaments. Those 3d pens were UV light based 3d pens. In this publication we are going to discuss both of these 3d pen technologies and find out which one is better of the two.

3D Pen

A little insight into the traditional 3d pens to start off, traditional 3d pens using ABS plastic based filaments work by using heat element and motor. A plastic filament is loaded into the back of the 3d pen and that filament gets heated up to the melting point. The plastic filament is converted into liquid form and extruded via the nozzle at the tip.

As soon as the ABS filament is extruded it starts to cool down and hardens almost instantly giving you a small window to mould it into your desired shape. This is how the whole process of 3d pen work to 3d print any object.

UV Light Based 3D Pen & ABS Plastic Based 3D Pen Comparison

Let’s get into the comparison of these two 3d pens starting with Ultraviolet Light based 3D pen.

UV Light 3D Pen

UV Light based 3d pens are nothing like conventional 3d pens, UV Light 3d pens use liquid resin as the fuel to 3d print objects. The liquid resin comes in a encapsulated form to be used in the 3d pen and is not heated up in any way thought the whole process thus eliminating the need of a heating element in the 3d pen. UV Light 3d pen just has a UV Light at the tip of the 3d pen which reacts with the liquid resin when exiting through the nozzle, that reaction causes the liquid resin to harden and form the shape which the user is designing. The liquid resin is advertised as cool ink and the UV Light based 3d pens are known as Cool Ink 3D Pens.


Main advantage of using the Cool Ink 3d pen is the absence of heating process when 3d printing using 3d pens. It has proved to be very safe to use and kids friendly 3d pen. The nozzle doesn’t get hot as it does in conventional 3d pens, decreasing the risk of burns.

Cool ink 3d pens are not messy to use, and plastic filament based cause a lot of mess during 3d printing and also ABS plastic release a chemical fume which require a ventilated space to operate it in. This is not the case with Cool Ink 3D pen.


Cool Ink 3D pens use a special liquid based resin ink which is relatively new in the market and not widely available as well causing it to be very expensive. This is the only issue which has to be dealt with and has to be endured when buying a 3d pen.

ABS Plastic 3D Pen

ABS Plastic Based 3D Pens use filaments manufactured using ABS plastic, ABS plastic as we all know that it is used in manufacturing almost everything that is plastic. LEGO bricks are one of the examples. ABS plastic filaments are loaded into the 3d pen and with the help of a heating element on board the 3d pen is melted, extruded through the nozzle to create the desired shaped object. The ABS plastic filament instantly cools down and hardens as it is extruded.


ABS plastic is more durable comparing it to Cool Ink and is very cheap as well. The filaments are readily available and a foot of ABS plastic filament creates 11 feet of melted filament that will be extruded out of the nozzle of 3d pen.

The ABS filament can be easily used to mend any deformed or broken 3d objects and free form designing is easier in the ABS plastic filament based 3d pens.


The first Con of the plastic filament based 3d pens is the heating up of the nozzle during the whole process, that leads to being unsafe for use by kids. The nozzle gets extremely hot and increases the risk of skin burns while use.

The ABS plastic when heated up during the process release fumes which not only have a bad odour to start with but also they are a little difficult to operate indoors and require a proper ventilated space to operate ABS based 3d pens.

There is a clogging issue with the ABS plastic based 3d pens as well, which causes a little discomfort while use as you constantly need to unclog it or clean the nozzle while using the 3d pen

Which 3D Pen is Better?

3D Pen technology itself is in it’s infancy and there is a lot more room for it to grow. Both of the 3d pen types are very good in their regards.

Cool ink 3d pen’s cool ink is expensive comparatively to ABS plastic filament but if you are willing to pay the price and going for a new safe technology you are better off with cool ink 3d pen but you will be sacrificing accuracy when selecting cool ink 3d pen. But as we have said there is more room to grow for cool ink 3d pens in the future and more developments will refine these 3d pens.

ABS plastic based 3d pens are the old gurus of 3d printing pens and provide accurate drawing capabilities for the user at the cost of bad odours and you have to be very cautious to use it because of heated nozzles. There are some inconveniences you would have to endure operating these 3d pens but you will get budget friendly ABS plastic filaments for your 3d pens and a good 3d printed object.

Both 3d pens are excellent technologies in their regards in the end it all comes down to what do you want from a 3d pen.

Check out our collection of Reviewed Cool Ink & ABS Plastic Based 3D Pens.

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