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What is a PCL 3D Pen? The Ultimate Guide to PCL 3D Printing Pens

Oct 10,2023 | 3D4Create

The world of 3D pens is fascinating yet can be confusing for beginners. If you’re new to 3D pens, you’ve probably seen the terms “PCL” and “ABS” but may not know what they mean or how to choose between them.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about PCL 3D pens. You’ll learn what makes them unique, their key benefits, how they compare to ABS pens, tips for choosing the right one, and using them safely.

I. What is a PCL 3D Pen?

A PCL 3D pen is a handheld 3D printer that allows you to draw in three-dimensional space. PCL stands for "Polycaprolactone", which is a biodegradable polyester used as the printing filament.

PCL pens utilize FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology to melt PCL plastic filament and precisely extrude it through a nozzle tip. By moving the pen smoothly, you can create freestanding 3D objects in the air. Drawings can be done vertically or at an angle.

As the plastic cools, each layer solidifies to support the next, allowing complex shapes to be formed. PCL 3D pens provide an affordable, creative way to make 3D art without the bulk of traditional 3D printers.

Wireless Low Temperature 3D Pen for Education

II. Benefits of Using a PCL 3D Pen

There are many advantages that make PCL 3D pens a great introductory 3D printing tool:

1. Affordable Price

Compared to other additive manufacturing devices, PCL 3D pens are very budget-friendly. Quality pens can cost between $30-$60, which makes them accessible art tools for schools and families. Replacements filaments are also inexpensive.

2. Easy to Use

PCL 3D pens are designed to be user-friendly, even for children. Features like an ergonomic grip, simple buttons, and LED screens make most pens intuitive to operate. The process involves loading filament, heating up, and simply guiding the pen to draw shapes.

3. Promotes Creativity

Drawing in thin air sparks imaginative thinking. PCL pens allow artists to visualize designs visually and make them come to life in 3D. This creative play strengthens spatial reasoning and problem-solving abilities.

4. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination

The fluid hand movements required to maneuver a 3D pen well help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This makes them great tools for active learning.


III. Comparing PCL PLA and ABS 3D Pens

Besides PCL, two other popular 3D pen filament materials are PLA and ABS. Here's a comparison between PCL, PLA and ABS:

1. Temperature

  • PCL pens operate at lower temperatures, typically aroud 60°C. This prevents accidental burning.
  • PLA pens work at around 180°C to 220°C, while ABS pens require higher heat up to 220-250°C, both increasing risk of burns if not cautious. PCL and PLA 3D pens have more other differences.

2. Odor

  • PCL and PLA has no unpleasant smell during or after printing.
  • ABS emits a strong, chemical odor during use. The smell lingers on finished pieces.

3. Strength

  • PCL is flexible but not as sturdy.
  • PLA is moderately strong but brittle.
  • ABS is the strongest material when hardened.  

The low melting point, lack of fumes, and smooth prints make PCL pens the better choice for kids and beginners. PLA and ABS pens work for experienced users wanting to create more mechanically robust objects.


IV. Choosing the Right PCL 3D Pen

With different brands and models available, here are key factors to consider when selecting a PCL 3D pen:

1. Cordless vs Corded

Cordless 3D pens offer full range of motion for artistic freedom. Corded pens limit movement but don’t require charging. Consider your space and needs.

2. Temperature Settings

Adjustable temps allow finer control over melting and flow. Preset temps work but lack customization.

3. Shape and Weight

Look for an ergonomic shape and light weight, especially for younger users. An easy-grip body prevents fatigue.

Smiling Bear 3D Drawing Pen - Portable Cordless Doodler for Kids


V. Getting Started with Your PCL 3D Pen

Once you’ve chosen the perfect PCL 3D pen, here are some tips to begin using it:

1. Setting Up the Pen

Carefully read the manual for model-specific guidance. Most pens involve loading filament, plugging in the power cord if needed, and heating up to the minimum temperature.

2. Troubleshooting Tips

Don’t panic if the pen doesn’t work right away! Common issues are fixed by adjusting the temp, clearing a clogged nozzle, or changing the filament. Patience is key.

3. First Project Ideas

Start with 2D sketches to get a feel for controlling the pen. Drawing shapes like cubes and pyramids will help you master dimensions. Free-form sculptures encourage creativity as you gain skill. Remember to work slowly, allow layers to cool, and have fun! Artistic abilities will improve with practice.


VI. Conclusion

We hope this complete guide gives you a better understanding of PCL 3D printing pens and what makes them a great introductory 3D art tool. Their affordable price, ease of use, and versatile creative capabilities make PCL pens the top choice for kids and beginners.

With a quality PCL 3D pen that fits your needs, some practice, and creativity, you’ll be designing incredible 3D masterpieces in no time! The possibilities are truly endless when you can draw in the air.



1. What is a PCL 3D pen?

A PCL 3D pen is a handheld 3D printer that melts and extrudes biodegradable PCL plastic filament, allowing you to draw in three dimensions. The melted plastic cools and solidifies into a stable structure.

2. What is PCL material?

PCL stands for polycaprolactone, a type of biodegradable polyester that is commonly used for 3D pen filament. It has a low melting point of around 60°C.

3. How does a 3D printing pen work?

A 3D pen uses FDM (fused deposition modeling) technology to precisely melt and extrude thermoplastic filament through a nozzle tip. By controlling the flow, you can draw vertically or at angles to create 3D objects.


See Also: 

What Filament is Best for 3D Pens? PCL, PLA or ABS?

How Safe is 3D Pen Plastic?

How Do You Charge a 3D Pen? A Guide to Proper Care and Use