Think of 3Doodler as a printer for those with more drawing skills than technical knowledge. Artistic? We’re not, but we still had fun with Juku Create+, which is best described, like the others in the line, as a 3D printer contained in a mechanical pen that draws fibers.
The Juku Create+ pen works with plastic that hardens quickly, so you can draw in the air.GearBrain
What is in the box
Inside, you get a metallic blue pen, a charger, two 3Doodler plastic packs, and a few tools. For those familiar with 3Doodler pens, like the one that comes with the 3Doodler Start Essential Pen Set, this is a smaller model. Other kits are designed for younger children, with thicker pens that are easier to hold and shorter plastic stems, and even templates that give you guidance on where to start.
The 3Doodler Juku Create+ Kit ($74.99) is for more advanced users, the plastic is harder and as such you can actually write on air: as you squeeze, the plastic slowly comes out and hardens as it goes. The project ideas here are truly endless. We were surprised by the delicacy of the threads and how easy it was to break them.
Plastic thread packs that can be used with the 3Doodler Juku Create+ penGearBrain
Materials you can choose
The Juku Create+ can accept different types of plastic strands, including PLA, which adheres to surfaces and shines when dry, ABS, which hardens quickly making it ideal for delicate work, Flexy, which remains flexible even when dry and even strands it is made from wood fibers including hickory, white birch and cherry, and means a finished project can be sanded.
One of the best things about 3Doodler devices is that they are really easy to use right out of the box. They won’t build you a 3D model with the precision of a 3D printer, but you don’t need computer code to get it up and running either. You are only bound by your imagination, as the plastic that comes out is like a line of ink, if the ink could be physically collected and hardened in the air.
The company started as a Kickstarter in February 2013, and 3Doodler has become one of the rare success stories in that it not only fulfilled the original orders, but still exists.
The 3Doodler Start Essentials Pen Kit, which is designed for smaller handsGearBrain
The work that people have accomplished with 3Doodlers is quite remarkable – there are thousands of YouTube videos where people show off what they’ve created. Some make creatures like dragons, one person made a dress and another even made a Bonsai tree. We’re hesitant to show them off given what we did during our tests, but there you have it.
There’s even an app for 3Doodler – the 3Doodler app and people can draw directly on a tablet or phone screen with the plastic pen on 24 templates and peel off the pieces to build and build their own 3D creation.
how to make it work
Getting the 3Doodler Juku Create+ to work is simple: push the plastic strand on the back of the pen and squeeze. As the plastic begins to go into the pen, it heats up and comes out in a malleable form, not liquid, but soft enough to bend and twist.
Again, the project ideas here are truly endless, and we were amazed at the delicacy of the threads and how easy it was to break them when we were done drawing.
The company also has an app, the 3Doodler app, which works on iOS and Android devices. The app means that users can draw directly on a mobile device, tablet or smartphone and peel their 3D drawing off the screen without sticking. The application has ideas, designs and templates that can generate creations.
The 3Doodler Start pen draws with thicker strands, but can still create 3D objectsGearBrain
Juku Create+ vs Start Essential Pen Set
At $74.99, the 3Doodler Juku Create+ is more expensive than the $49.99 3Doodler Start Kit, but the plastic is harder and the pen is really designed for older kids, ages 14 and up, rather than younger kids, like elementary school kids.
To be fair, we honestly had a bit more fun with the Start Essential Pen Set, although the controls are less responsive. For example, when we stopped drawing with the starter pen, there was a bit of recoil from the plastic, it kept coming off for a while. That makes it more difficult to do delicate work, although I managed to write my name.
Depending on the job, Juku Create+ may be a better option for producing thinner, more delicate parts. We could easily draw in the air, making three-dimensional objects like pyramids. The Start Essential Pen was better for thicker objects, where the plastic could fold back on itself instead of having to stand up on its own.
We think both are great for homemaker spaces, crafters, or just those who just want to be able to create drawings that can stand the test of time. For anyone who remembers working with polymer clay or Fimo dough, the 3Doodler will probably spark some fun memories and creations.
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