3D printing technology has reached new heights since it penetrated the mainstream market. Take 3D pens, for example, the handheld version of the technology. They’ve been generating a lot of buzz lately, with a number of independent companies and manufacturers competing to set themselves apart from each other and coming up with their own niches in the market.

It’s about more than just giving you the ability to “doodle” in air; 3D pens give people the opportunity to create prototypes or unique works of art. With a little bit of creativity, the possibilities are endless.

Here are three of the up-and-coming 3D pens in the market today:


Lix “The smallest 3D printing pen in the world”

The Lix 3D pen can be described as the more stylish and compact version of the 3Doodler. It was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that successfully reached its funding goal last May. As with other 3D pens, Lix works by using heat to melt the plastic filament at the nib, enabling the molding of plastic into shapes.

It comes in a beautifully sleek anodized unibody aluminum frame that looks and feels just like a regular pen, giving you a more comfortable grip. The pen comes in black and grey and can be plugged in a USB port for power.

Lix is priced at $139.


Creopop “The world’s first 3D pen with cool ink”

Most 3D pens in the market today heat plastic at the nib to mold plastic to create three-dimensional structures. Creopop takes on a whole different approach to 3D printing with the use of cool ink. It uses a special “ink” that is made of light sensitive resin that solidifies when exposed to UV light. This eliminates the need for heat, making it even safer to use for kids. This 3D pen is completely wireless, which removes the hassle of dealing with chords.

Creopop 3D pens also offer a variety of special inks:

  • Aromatic
  • Body paint
  • Conductive
  • Elastic
  • Glow in the dark
  • Glittering
  • Magnetic
  • Standard (different colors)
  • Temperature sensitive

Creopop was launched via Indiegogo and reached over $185,000 for its first fundraising campaign, which closed in August. Creopop is now available for pre-ordering and will start worldwide shipment for the first batch of pens by March 2015.


3Doodler “The world’s first 3D printing pen”

This 3D pen was funded extremely successfully in Kickstarter on May last year raising over 2.3 million dollars. It melts resin sticks inserted in the back and you can decide if it ejects it quickly or slowly. You can “draw” either laying down three-dimensional structures or vertically. This ABS plastic it melts is the same as used by many 3D printers.

3Doodler is priced at $99 and includes 50 strands.

43 Comments
  1. This looks awesome actually. I might have to get me some of these. They will be great for kids and all of their little imaginations.

  2. Whoa! Just when I thought I got a hold of wacom tablets, these come along. How awesome. I’m a designer and illustrator myself. I cannot wait to get ahold of this technology. They can allow an artist of any skill level to bring their creations into new dimensions. Very exciting.

    • I’m in a similar situation. Just got my first graphics tablet, and I think it’s absolutely amazing – but this completely overshadows it. I honestly never thought technology like this would be possible so quickly, it’s absolutely amazing. Can’t wait to see what they get used for.

  3. Just when I was getting excited about 3D printers, they are already out with 3D pens. 3D pens give you a lot of freedom, and removes the need for a computer. The use of a 3Doodler to create each sides of the Eiffel tower to a scale on paper, until the full model was built is truly amazing. But what I love the best is Creopop, because it seems to have a lot more possibilities, besides not having hot melting plastic and the smell. I could definitely see myself using it to create some glow in the dark objects, aromatic objects for my car (cool) and a coffee mug with color changing art. Truly an amazing product.

  4. Sure, the technology is cool. But while I was watching the videos, I kept asking myself: Does this solve any problem? Would I have any real practical use for this?
    The answer, for me, is no.

    • I’d say while no, it doesn’t solve any problems, it could have uses with teaching things such as engineering and design. Imagine being able to see something that you’re designing, as you design it – it’s a much easier way to learn. The relatively low price makes them ideal for a educational environment, too. They also have huge potential for prototyping, in my opinion.

      • Danroth, in my opinion, if you remove the novelty factor, they seem too cumbersome for any practical use such as teaching or prototyping. But hey, people are always finding new ways to use new (and old) technology. So, there are probably yet to be discovered ways to use such devices practically.

    • I have to agree with you, it is hard to find a very practical purpose for this technology. However, this could be used to create 3D schematics of things in order to visualize them easier. Though it looks very hard to create things this way, and it might be easier and more efficient just to use CAD or 2D modeling.

      • Yep, it’s just an extension of what’s already available. The idea have always been present, but this will be a small step forward with portability. I’d love to see having multiple people drawing at once, chiming in the idea and seeing it unveils before their eyes. Is it extremely innovative? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it is impractical, as long as options are present we should take them.

  5. Creopop was pretty cool. But personally, I don’t see any use for these kinds of things I mean sure they can be used as toys or art tools but other than that, I find it hard to think that this might come in handy. Maybe in the future.

    • Well you can use them to repair something. I mean think about it, you can use them to maybe create a little box for some of your thins, maybe a rack for your pens and all that stuff. But I agree, there’s really not much use for this not unless they produce something really sturdy.

  6. Wow! they’re all amazing. I’ve heard of 3D drawing pens before, but I had no idea they would be like these. If I had to choose one though, I think Creopop would be the best one because of it’s variety of inks and no wires!

  7. This is fascinating. I was not aware of the development of these devices, and there is a lot of potential in them! Particularly for education, design and art. The other day I was reading an article on how the way we write wires our brain in particular ways, so that for example Chinese writing has enabled different neural pathways for Chinese writers. These pens will surely enable new neural pathways and new modes of thinking. I look forward to seeing how they develop.

  8. The usual 3D pens works as much like the Glue gun if you ask me, while the CreoPen works like the stuff that dentist use in tooth fillings and then expose it to UV light.

    Anyway, this would be really great as it is a good alternative for those who would want to try “3D” drawing without having to buy 3D printers. Much cheaper also.

  9. Wow, it’s almost surreal!

  10. Huh,well look at that. I’m still not over the circuit board drawing pens, and then this comes along. So many artists create the most amazing things with ordinary objects, I can’t wait to see where 3D pens could take us.
    Technically if you lose a button on a shirt you could just draw yourself one now haha.

    • Hahaha but i guess that depends on the strength of these things, won’t you agree?

    • So it’s like a portable 3D printer. But yes you have to take into consideration the strength of the material. But I still don’t see that much use for this pen other than making quick artworks.

  11. Technology like this will never cease to amaze me. Even 3D printing on it’s own is something legendary that our older generations couldn’t even imagine would happen. 3D pens like this are another step forward in technology. While a little pricey at first, this is only to be expected and as more technology like this is made and more of it is produced, prices will be reduced letting even more of the general population have access to it.

  12. frankly speaking this new innovation doesn’t quite amuse me, it’s not something that’s y’know, rigid, this is something that’s quite messy, and look at the size of the pens, who on earth would wanna lift such huge things up? This ink is no match for the smooth, sleek, writing of an ink pen on a paper. I’m pretty sure that getting a smooth 3D structure, like a simple cube with perfectly straight lines, is gonna be next to impossible with these gadgets. Though i love the idea and the concept, but more effort needs to be put in for perfection. Not only on the design of the pen, but also on it’s functioning. But then again, this is my opinion, criticism is accepted. 🙂

  13. This product is awesome as I’ve actually experienced a 3doodler in my own hands! My old school Ormiston Forge Academy purchased the 3doodler. During our STEM sessions we was allowed to experiment with the pen. The students made all types of intricate structures, such as the: Eiffel tower; leaning tower of pisa and a very mediocre coliseum!

  14. Wow these are some absolutely insane ideas. I could totally see some prospect with engineering/design students and this too. To be honest, they’re not very expensive either. Maybe I’ll get myself one although I figure I’ll just end up making a mess haha.

  15. Saw something very similar to this on Kickstarter some time last year. It’s really innovative and I’d love to pick one up depending on their price.

  16. It looks more like a toy to me, but it looks awesome. I have no idea what I would be doing if this were in my hands – I would create a mess. If this were to be used by the right person with a goal in mind, then it would prove to be quite useful. I would rather doodle on pen an paper before experimenting with 3D doodling.

  17. This is amazing. I already have heard about 3Doodler months ago, first I thought it was weird and maybe a little dangerous. But now I regret I didn’t pre-order it, it looks awesome ! Especially Creopop wich doesn’t need heat, because I wondered if it didn’t smell bad, like all burning plastic…
    I’m also wondering how resistive are the objects and “art pieces” created with it, and if we can really do anything with those 3D pens… Maybe I’ll set my mind this time and buy one to see by myself !

  18. Technology really evolved and it will evolve in the years to come. I imagine we will use those 3d-drawing pens instead of normals pens for sketches and illustrations.
    Those will be great for kids too! I can’t wait to get one!

  19. This is just simply amazing. It’s fun to use one of these and be able to paint something in 3d without using a piece of paper. But imagine it’s potential in the educational system. It would be a lot easier to showcase shapes and rules in 3d more than ever. I think that this is a great step forward in the 3d printing/writing technology.

  20. This is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen today. I personally would have no use for it other than “hey, check out my awesome new 3d pen!” and then watching my friends minds explode. Or letting my kid just go to town with it drawing what ever she could think of 🙂

  21. The concept of doodling must have been absent from my childhood because I can’t seem to find any room for it in my present life. As far as I know, Google doodles are entertaining, but they don’t differ significantly from sketches. So I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to do with a 3Doodler, unless the manual comes with instructions.

  22. This is really cool. I did not know this exists.I will definitely buy this when I have the money. Technology is really improving even in the field of art and animation.

  23. I sure hope the inks for these don’t match the outrageous prices of printer ink. Those are more expensive than gold or caviar!

  24. I could imagine being able to have rough 3D prints using these. You’d have a projector projecting downward onto a flat surface, and using that to print at some precision. The only problem would be scaling it for the projector and the surface.

  25. Those 3D pens look awesome, but they are really expensive, too expensive for a simple pen in my opinion. I’d not invest in something like that even if I could afford to spend cash on something like that! But it definitely is a nice little gadget for those who like to draw and can afford it. Not useful for an average john or Jane.

  26. This looks like a lot of fun. I can’t see wanting one now, but if I were a kid, I would want one!

  27. I watched all the videos on the 3-d ink pens and the one that caught my attention the most was the Creopop version. It stuck out because it took the obvious flaws that the other pens had and fix them with ergonomic ideas that also made the 3-d pen more safe. These pens are very unique and something that I did not know existed until this post. This looks like a very good christmas idea!

  28. I’m not too sure how practical these 3D pens would be. Unless you have an incredibly steady hand, and excellent perception, it would be difficult to make precise designs, such as engineering models.
    You also can’t make accurate measurements that would normally be possible with 3D modelling software. Overall, modelling in software, then printing it out a 3D printer would allow for more sophisticated, detailed and accurate designs to be made.

  29. Out of all of them the LIX and the 3Doodler are the most appealing to me. I could certainly see myself buying one of those. The awesome thing about it is the limit of a 2D surface. This would be great to incorporate into not only the Arts, but the business world as well. One thing that I did like about the CreoPop was that it also has ink that can glow in the dark.

  30. Art just entered a new era of creativity. People can now make their drawings leap off the page. I think Creopop is the best so far. No wires, smell, and you can make it change color. Way more affordable than 3d printers. I would like to see them have an art contest every year for 3d pens. It would push the boundaries of what these pens can really do.

  31. When I saw this I thought it opens up endless possibilities, what and ingenious idea. I think the price range is quite accessible for what it offers, I feel it’s a must for any creative which masters the use of pens for drawing

  32. I think this could be cool toy to help children put their creative minds to use!

    I know one of the comments said that it doesn’t solve a problem. Well, it can sort-of solve a problem indirectly. For example, if you are trying to teach your kids their new spelling words, and you bribe them to get to use the 3d pen to write the words, then YES it solves the problem of getting your kid to practice his/her spelling words!

  33. This is really an awesome invention. And I am happy to hear of another successfully completed Kickstarter campaign. It gives me hope for this new way of funding projects. As for the pens, I WANT ONE!!! 🙂 I can just imagine the different ways it can help me with my art.

  34. This is amazing! I had never heard of these before, if you had shown this to me on TV, even after the event of 3D printing, I would have still thought it’s fiction, some trick. But… for 99$ this is very cheap! I’m convinced it’d be a great gift. It looks like the three products are diverse enough that you’d want to buy ’em all!

  35. Amazing product. I treat this as a proof of concept that 3d printing is the next evolutionary step in Computer Aided Design (CAD). It always helps the design teams to have actual 3d models rather than just orthogonal projections on the screen.

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