When 3D pens first became available, many assumed they were nifty or part of a general fad that would eventually die out. However, like most revolutionary technologies, they have found a firm foothold, especially in the art community, where the ability to 3D print freehand is incredibly valuable. However, there are still some shortcomings with the technology, but [tterev3] I recently broke out a 3doodler pen to do some necessary updates.
First, this pen has some design options that are curious, to say the least. The cooling fan works independent of temperature and has buttons to start and stop instead of a momentary button that controls extrusion. To address these issues, in addition to changing the filament size, improving cooling, and providing greater control over extrusion speed, [tterev3] completely rewrote the firmware, changed the microcontroller on the PCB, and made various hardware upgrades to accommodate these changes. It also went ahead and installed a USB-C port for charging, which should already be standard practice in all low-voltage consumer electronics.
The detailed work on this project is impressive, given the small size of the pen and the amount of precision hardware required to make the changes. Especially when it comes to replacing the microcontroller on the board itself, which is an impressive feat even without the incredibly small dimensions. The firmware update is also available on their GitHub page if you have your own 3doodler that needs mods, and if you’re still having a hard time finding uses for these handy devices, we’ve seen them used to interesting effect for building drones.