3D printing technology has fascinated both corporations and individual enthusiasts. But even as its popularity continues to increase, we can’t lock the young fans out of all the fun that these sophisticated machines have to offer.
When you want to introduce 3D printing to your child, you might be wondering what the best way is to go about. Should you buy him a simple 3D pen for his first 3D experience or opt for a 3D printer for kids?
This decision would best be made by considering the safety concerns, as well as the general learning curve. Let us look at how 3D pens stack up against 3D printers for kids as far as suitability for children use is concerned.
What is a 3D pen?
A 3D printing pen is basically a bigger version of an ordinary pen, only that instead of using ink, it employs a plastic filament. This allows you to draw physical items in thin air; it’s technically a handheld iteration of 3D printer.
3D printers neither use a computer nor require software to operate. They are simply guided by hand to produce a print with the help of your imagination. It is no different from traditional drawing, but you are able to create tangible 3-dimensional figures in this case. There is little to no learning curve.
Most 3D pens get their power from batteries, USB cable, or a cable running into a socket. These pens work in two ways, based on whether it’s a hot or cold pen. A hot pen utilizes the same plastic filament used on 3D printers, whereby it is heated to melting point and later on extruded.
The molten filament rapidly cools as it is extruded from the pen, enabling you to create desired objects in thin air or any surface. On the other hand, a cold pen uses a chemical process to turn liquid into solid, which is made possible by photosensitive resin used as ink. It solidifies, thanks to UV light.
Kids Safety when Using 3D pens
The right 3D pen for your kid is one that does not generate high levels of heat to eliminate the possibility of burns. In this regard, cold pens tend to be safer than hot ones. Nevertheless, hot pens may be a viable option as long as they are used under close supervision by adults.
Alternatively, you have the option of going for “warm” pens, which employ a special plastic. This melts at lower temperatures compared to that used in hot pens. Check out the following 3D pens for children:
3D Printers for Kids
The best 3D printers for kids have three aspects. They make use of filaments that extrude at much lower temperatures, they feature enclosed casings, and employ a special software that is generally easy to use for children.
Safety Precautions in Kid 3D Printers
While it may seem easy to use these 3D printers, you need to be wary of the risks they can pose to your young boy. Generally, be sure to watch out for these two causes for concern:
The most important thing to remember is to never leave your child alone with the 3D printer. Remember that 3D printers aren’t toys and need extreme care when being handled. It is no different from using a workshop tool; there’s always that element of danger. That’s why we recommend taking on an online course from a learning platform such as udemy to learn the basics before trying to teach your little one! If that’s not enough to convince you, check out the udemy reviews.
The physical danger mainly comes from the heated parts-extruder nozzle, extruding filament, build plate-, as well as the motors. Some extruders can heat up to 260 degrees and if touched, it can result in severe skin burns.
The heated build plates can also get to 100 degrees, which is still too hot for the skin. The fast-moving parts on the stepper motor can also be dangerous for your child’s tiny and fragile fingers.
Just to be safe, always ensure your child is aware of these potential risks and be sure to supervise them when they are having fun with the 3D printer. . Here are some recommended 3D printers for kids:
When the plastic filament is heated, it tends to emit particles into the air. This is not the kind of stuff you want your child breathing in. ABS filaments consists of oils and the resultant fumes are toxic, so this is something you want to take note of.
There is also the risk of a curious child putting the filament in their mouth. You also want to avoid this as not every filament is edible. Make sure you select the right material to avoid intoxication when they accidentally ingest them.
3D Pens vs 3D Printers for Kids
From the above, we can conclude that kid 3D printers leave a lot to be desired in comparison to a 3D pen as far using them is concerned. They have a longer learning curve, considering that they need software to run (however simple) and the printer requires settings to start printing.
Furthermore, the hot parts get to higher temperatures and the easy-to-use designing software is also limited for kids.
Overall, a 3D printing pen seems like a better alternative for little children. Your kid will enjoy the magic of 3D printing with little supervision and no learning curve required. It is a great way to introduce him to the technology as he prepares to take on the more demanding 3D printers.