UNBOXED: Reviewing the 3Doodler Create+ Pen
It’s too easy to like everything about 3Doodler, but that’s only because everything the company is doing, they’re doing so freaking well. They’ve got a new line of product out this summer, headlined by their upgraded Create+ pen.
But before diving into the pen itself, it’s worth nothing everything that 3Doodler is doing to make even the tiniest of impacts on the education space. The company recently saw every single one of its projects get funded on the classroom-based crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org thanks to a massive donation from cryptocurrency Ripple. They’ve been heavily involved with Donors Choose for a number of years, setting schools up with their product throughout every grade level. And they even went so far as to create a special line of educational products and packages that make it easy and inexpensive for teachers and entire schools to get a 3D printing program up and running in no time.
So, yeah. It’s easy to like 3Doodler.
But, of course, none of that would really matter if the products they created were complete duds—which they’re not.
And that brings us to the Create+ pen.
For those familiar with the 3Doodler line of 3D printing pens, the Create+ pen is practically identical to the Create pen, with a few notable upgrades. First, the Create+ pen introduces what 3Doodler calls the “world’s first” dual drive system in a 3D printing pen. That means loading and changing out printing materials is “effortless” and should result in dramatically fewer jams. We have the original Create pen in-house and the difference is certainly noticeable.
The redesigned system allows 3Doodler to give the user a more precise and refined experience. The pen’s fast and slow speed settings are more distinct from one another this time around; the heating algorithm was improved to prevent oozing; and the pen is optimized for PLA, ABS, and FLEXY plastic types. In all, it’s just a smoother process of creating things with the upgraded model.
Printing with the pen proved to be a pretty fun experience. I’m no master 3D printing expert by any stretch of the imagination, but the idea that I could trace some stencils and create things at the press of a button was pretty cool. It takes plenty of getting used to, and I’m a long way from creating anything meaningful or worthwhile, but it’s still a fun concept. And that makes it easy to understand how and why kids of all ages could enjoy this type of product.
The only difficulties I had with the Create+ pen were the fact that it had to be plugged in in order to operate and the cord could sometimes get in the way. And then there’s the test of patience with using the product. It takes a lot of time and a decent amount of effort to learn how to make things with the 3Doodler pen, which makes it an ideal gadget for interested kids—not necessarily a grown man looking for instant gratification out of his tech toys. I’d relate my experience with the Create+ pen to a round of golf. It was a lot of fun to get out there and test my skills, but it surfaced a fair amount of frustration as well, almost entirely due to my lack of willing to be patient with it.
For the retailer, the selling point is clear as well. It’s all about the add-ons with the 3Doodler, and there are plenty to go around—from interchangeable pen tips, to endless supplies of plastic filament, to various stencil packs, to creative guides and books, to carrying cases… The list goes on. Those products could be sold in one shot as part of a larger 3Doodler purchase, or it could be the start of an ongoing client relationship where they come back to you looking to re-up their plastic supply ahead of their next project.
And, of course, the big selling point for the customer is an incredibly low introductory price tag of $80. For that, they get a quick start guide with some stencils, more plastic than they'll no what to do with out of the box, and all of the tools you need to get started printing right away. 3Doodler, at the end of the day, is making 3D printing an accessible and affordable activity, which is a major win in my book.