I love everything that has to do with 3D printing, from the construction of the machines to the cool colors of the plastic. So I wasn’t surprised when I was asked to write about a fun little 3D device for kids called the 3Doodler Robosumo. 3Doodler has been around for a while and makes great 3D pens for adults and kids. The Robosumo set has a few little extras that make it even more fun than normal.
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$50 (opens in a new tab)Bottom line: The 3Doodler Robosumo is a great entry point to 3D art for young children. The plastic is cool to the touch, making it safe for youngsters, and there’s no denying the creativity it sparks.
- insurance for young people
- solid design
- no wires
- Comes with molds to help little ones make fun things
- It doesn’t come with much filament.
- The filament is proprietary.
What you will love about 3Doodler Robosumo
The premise behind the Robosumo playset is for you to use your special 3D pen and filament to build a body around the small vibrating base, then battle them in a Sumo ring to see who will emerge victorious. The 3D pen itself is based on the 3Doodler Start pen, but with an excellent transparent casing that allows you to see the inner workings of the machine.
The pen itself is simple. It has some lithium batteries, a heating element and a motor. The heater heats up the plastic that you put on the back of the pen and then the motor drives it through the nozzle at the end. The great thing about the 3Doodler Start is that the heat required to melt the plastic is incredibly low (less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celcius), so even if your child touches the spout or the plastic that comes out, they won’t get burned. Joshua, I was happy to test this out with the gif you see here. “It’s warm but not as hot as hot chocolate” was his response to the plastic on his finger.
Due to the low melting point, the plastic can also be manipulated by hand to make smoother models and to help push the plastic into the small molds that the kit comes with. These molds made it much easier to create robots. We could be creative if we wanted, designing pieces as we went, but if our inspiration failed, we had the molds to fall back on. It gave us a chance to make a Robosumo that had some hope of standing up!
While the pen itself is pretty chunky (Josh had some trouble holding it like a pen, but it was fine for my ham fists), the addition of the batteries makes a big difference. I don’t think 3Doodler would be as much fun without the freedom that wireless use gives you. There is a bit of a learning curve when using 3Doodler, but nothing too difficult. You’ll want to fill small areas of the mold and then push the plastic in to fill in the gaps. The plastic comes out as a fine stream and if we didn’t put it all the way in, it wouldn’t look good at all. Once we had the idea, we modeled different parts of the robot with ease.
Due to the low melting point of plastic, 3Doodler plastic can be easily scraped off, allowing you to easily reuse sumo motors without making a mess. This adds to the value and playability of the set. at $50 (opens in a new tab) the Robosumo set is the same price as the standard 3Doodler Start, but with the inclusion of additional motors and molds it adds a lot of value.
What you won’t like about 3Doodler Robosumo
Due to the low melting point of plastic, the 3Doodler can only use the special plastic that comes directly from 3Doodler. This bothers me as I am used to a more open ecosystem in 3D printing. Plastic is not very expensive, around $25 (opens in a new tab) for a six-pack, but it can only be purchased through them, with no third-party support, and there aren’t many color options at the moment. I would like to see more ranges of colors in the future. Maybe some shiny plastic would be nice?
The other problem is also related to the filament. There just isn’t enough when you first open the box. Josh and I used about half of the provided plastic on our first try with the pen, and then the rest the next day. If you’re looking to pick this up for a group of kids then I’d seriously consider picking up an extra plastic pack to go with it.
Should you buy the 3Doodler Robosumo?
I really enjoyed using the 3Doodler with Josh. We had a lot of fun learning how to make the most of the molds, and the fact that we could handle the warm plastic with our hands. If you have a young child between the ages of seven and eleven, the 3Doodler Robosumo is a great way to introduce them to 3D design and being creative in general.
If you have older kids or want to do more detailed art, maybe the 3Doodler Create+ (opens in a new tab) You could use it, it’s a bit more technical and allows more varied plastics. But for the little ones in the family, 3Doodler is a great starting point. Get one for your kids for only $50 (opens in a new tab)
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Perfectly safe for the little ones in the family.
My son and I had a lot of fun making little robots to fight with. It’s a great creative outlet for your kids and for you!