3D printing technology has revolutionized how we create objects, 3d pens are based on this technology and are becoming very popular as the time is passing by. Mostly known as the miniature versions of 3d printers, they are catching on very fast as every household wants one. Not only is it fun to work with but it is also fulfilling the small daily requirements by giving the ability to create objects on demand such as bowls and picture frames etc. They are also catching up fast with kids too, as 3d pens not only provide a fun creative activity for them but it is also serving educational purpose for them and enhancing their capabilities as an artist.
So are 3d pens safe for kids? What kind of features do you have to look out for in a 3d pen when buying one for your kids? All of this we will discuss in this publication. So let’s get into it.
How Should 3D Pen Work For Kids?
A 3d pen works by heating up plastic filament and extruding it through a nozzle, sounds simple right? But when you get to use the 3d pen there is more to it. You see in videos people holding 3d pens in their hands and drawing 3d objects like it is the easiest thing in the world but it is not. If you are a beginner you will not get the hang of it because of the concentration level that is required to create an object. You have to have a steady hand as well, so if you are looking for a 3d pen for kids be sure to start off with minimal functionality 3d pen and must have automatic adjustments on it so the kids won’t have to deal with temperature adjustments and flow speed adjustments when they start off otherwise they won’t find 3d pen interesting.
There is a heating element on board ABS and PLA based 3d pens which we all know heats up these filaments for you to start creating 3d objects. The heating element is located near the nozzle and that in return heats up the nozzle to temperatures which can cause burns if made direct contact with the nozzle. There are some 3d pens which offer safety measures such as automatic drop in temperature when idle. To counter this issue when buying a 3d pen for your kids you have to make sure to buy PLA based 3d pen because it operates on lower temperatures as compared to ABS based 3d pen or you can go for newer UV based 3d pens which doesn’t heat up at all.
The most common of the filaments used in 3d pens today are ABS and PLA plastic filaments but there are few things you should know before selecting either one for your kids. ABS filament is made up of different chemicals which need a higher temperature to melt it and after extrusion ABS hardens and cools down almost instantly. PLA material is a little different from ABS, even though it is a plastic filament as well. PLA filament is made up of different crops like corn and is biodegradable, PLA has a lower melting point and it doesn’t require 3d pen to heat up at very high temperatures to be melted and extruded. After extrusion PLA takes a little longer to cool down and harden and is not as durable as ABS. ABS also release a chemical fume which is not a very good smelling fume so you need a ventilated space to operate ABS based 3d pens while PLA has sweet corn smell coming out of it when being heated up.
If you are going to buy a 3d pen for your kids be sure to go for PLA based 3d pen or UV based 3d pen. For information on UV based 3d pen please refer to the lower half of this publication.
Wired 3d pens like any other electric appliance use 110 to 220 volt power outlet system to power it up. The internal mechanism tone down that power to around 12 volts, which is required to operate 3d pen smoothly. You have to make sure to check the power cord of the 3d pen if it is of high quality and don’t have cheap substandard plastic covering it up because the wire will be twisted and moved around a lot so there is chance of wire damage and exposure of live wires. This can be very dangerous for the kids. The alternate option can be a wireless 3d pen, the wireless technology is not that refined yet in terms of performance but it will do the job for kids.
UV Based 3D Pen
UV based 3d pen is the latest of the 3d printing technology and has a completely different mechanism to operate. The conventional 3d pen uses plastic filaments made up of different materials which are heated up and extruded through the nozzle. The UV based 3d pen use resin gel or cool ink to 3d print objects. There is a UV light on board which hardens the resin or cool ink when it makes contact with it. So there are no heating parts on UV based 3d pens and you can say it is very safe for the kids to use.
At the end of the day you have to make every possible arrangement at your end to make 3d pen use for your kids safe. We can list all the points for you to consider when buying a 3d pen but it is up to you how you supervise the use. You have to keep an eye on your kids to make sure that they play it safe with the 3d pen so they don’t harm themselves by using the 3d pen improperly. These are things we have to look for to make sure our kids use 3d pens to enhance their creative capabilities.
Be sure to check out reviewed 3d pens for kids.
Read More: Know More About 3D Printing