Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fuzzy Caterpillar Bracelet made with 3-D pen

How to make a fuzzy caterpillar bracelet with a 3-D pen

Note: This project requires adult supervision and is not intended as kids project as it involves the use of power tools and heat guns. Always be sure to use the appropriate safety equipment such as safety glasses and dust mask.

So first we start with a piece of 2 inch ABS or PVC pipe.

For presentation purposes, I'm showing how to make an adult size bracelet. 
You cut the pipe into the desired width , in this case 1 inch. I prefer to use a bandsaw with a miter gauge so that my cuts are even but a handsaw and a steady hand may work just as well. You then make a single cut in the pipe as shown above.
    And then heat the pipe section opposite the cut, making sure not to overheat as it usually only takes a few seconds. A heat gun works well for this part of the project, but an open flame torch may also work as long as you do not allow the flame to contact the plastic. Then use a 2 x 4 to hold it open while it cools and hardens into the shape you want. This would be adjusted for making smaller sizes by using a thinner board. In the case of children sizes you may not need to make the cut all and simply heat the pipe so that you can give it a more oval shape. You can use different size pipe or different thicknesses depending on your desired finish results and the sizes you're trying to create. Both ABS and PVC pipes can be obtained at your local hardware store. Keep in mind that as you are working with ABS plastic filament the ABS pipe may work better for adhesion than the PVC.
After the bracelet blank is the correct shape that you want you can then sand away any sharp edges. I prefer to use a Dremel tool with a sanding bit. It is at this point if you're using PVC you may also want to rough the surface of the PVC so the filament will stick better, this is of course optional.
    I found that when I was extruding filament I had to first use the tip of the pen (nib) to melt a little bit of the pipe before I began extruding filament. Then working in a small circular motion to make sure the base of the bristle was firmly affixed to the bracelet blank I extruded a small amount of filament. I then extruded about half the length of bristle, then take my finger off the feed button still pulling the pen away slowly so bristle will harden into the desired shape. The end of the bristle will be very thin and will give the bracelet a fuzzy feel. I repeat this until I have the desired number of bristles for the bracelet. The PVC bracelet on the right has the bristles trimmed so that the bristles are even length, but trimming I found made the bristles more prickly so I guess it depends on the look and feel that you're trying to make. Personally I like the soft feel of the bracelet that wasn't trimmed.
The one nice thing about owning a 3-D pen is that if any of the bristles should break they can be easily repaired or replaced. The finished product should look something similar to what we have here.
Whether you're a maker, burner, techno-geek, or just a kid at heart, I'm sure you can have a lot of fun with making and using these bracelets.

For other craft ideas and projects be sure and check out our website.
And our blogs at
Where you can find all kinds of FREE patterns, concepts and ideas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Napkin rings made with 3-D pen

Napkin Rings made with 3-D pen 

    The purpose of this blog is to simply demonstrate what you can do with a 3-D pen and that it is more than something you just doodle with. 3-D pens have many practical applications as well as artistic. Now it does not have the precision of a printer but I think it makes up for it by not being constrained by a printer platform as to how large an item you can create. You have to also keep in mind that once you have completed your project you can also sand and paint your project to your desired color. And if the project happens to break all you simply have to do is get out your 3-D pen and weld it back together.
    They actually turned out better than I thought they would. So this one was made with the black ABS only, because I have plans of painting it and adding plastic jewels.  The other thing I have found is that although ABS comes in different colors, the colors don't always come out of the pen the same as their original color. It can also be cheaper to simply buy the black in large quantity and then paint the color you want afterward.
       I use a print out pattern that I have wrapped around a cardboard core from a paper towel roll or toilet paper roll. I could've easily put the design directly on the cardboard form but I wanted greater precision and wanted to be able to replicate the design so that each piece that I created at least looks similar to one another. The cardboard core acts as a form to give me a consistent shape and size for the napkin rings. The ABS will adhere just enough to the paper or cardboard design to allow me to easily work with the ABS plastic. If the surface is to smooth and the ABS does not adhere to it at least a little, then your design can be very difficult to control. When removing the design from the form I use a small -tipped flat screwdriver or a small painter's palette knife to gingerly lift my creation off the form. If in the process you should happen to break part of your design always keep in mind that you can simply re-weld it back together with the pen.
    Now the shorter designs were intended for the napkin rings and the longer designs were intended for bracelets, but I found that the shorter designs were too small and too narrow and the 3-D pen was not capable of giving me that much detail . For this design I actually ended up taking the larger design and cutting it shorter to make it fit the cardboard roll. I then had to improvise part of the design to make it work . If you decide to use the designs below, please keep in mind that you may have to make adjustments in order to make them work for your intended purpose.

For other creative ideas and patterns be sure to check out the following links.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It's not just a creepy Gothic head !

It's not just a creepy Gothic head or a piece of artwork.

Check out this video below on how I created a really cool nightlight.

The following is a sample of the lattice patterns I use to create the Gothic head nightlight.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What kind of household repairs can you do with a 3-D pen?

Using a 3-D pen to make household repairs

Check out this video of some possible uses.

Be sure and subscribe to this blog for more ideas on how you can use a 3-D pen. 
Also check out our other blogs and our website

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How do you ruin a birds day with a 3-D pen?

 Creating bird spikes with 3D pen

    In my first attempts at creating bird spikes, I simply used a quarter round or half round piece of old molding. Using a 16th inch drill bit I drilled numerous holes and then used the 3-D pen to partly fill the hole with extrusion from the pen and then moving outward creating spikes. 

     Although the finished product did not give me the rigidity in the spikes that I wanted it still seemed to work. 

In my last attempt I ran a bead of plastic at the bottom. This created better adhesion and stability to the spikes. I also tried creating lattice to give it additional rigidity, although I'm not sure that it was needed.
    The spikes do not harm the bird as they are not sharp enough or stiff enough to do so. They end up being more like the bristles on a soft broom and more of an obstacle that the bird can't quite figure out how to get around.
    A piece of styrofoam could be used in place of the wood, making it light enough to be stuck to a wall with poster putty. This might work great with woodpeckers and flickers that tend to roost on the sidewalls or under eaves .

Note: The Styrofoam will melt some with the 3D pen, so use gloves and some caution when working with it. 

     I look forword to hearing any constructive ideas or suggestions. Be sure and check out our other posts, blogs and our website

Friday, October 9, 2015

3D pen Halloween or Mardi Gras mask

    As I have said before the only real disadvantage of the 3-D pen is its precision, but it makes up for that in its versatility and scalability. Take for instance creating costumes or costume accessories. The pen is not limited by a print table size. I can create a mask or wardrobe accessory of any size. To offset its accuracy I use a form such as a cardboard mask in the photograph below.

The mask can be found in just about any craft or costume store. It is designed as a blank mask to be decorated but I have found that it works much better as a form. It is not plastic but pressed paper or cardboard which makes it perfect because it is heat resistant. The extruded plastic will stick to the paper which helps your work from moving around uncontrollably. The plastic mask I have found are usually far too thin and would melt. 
Using various artisan hash designs like those that you would use in sketching or drawings work very well for the 3-D pen. Here I have used circles for the bottom half and ?'s for the upper half. You may want to practice or try out different designs on paper with a pencil first. Practice making the same shapes until you are consistent with the size and shape you want. Keep in mind that the 3D pens work very similar to a welder on a micro scale. Practice using the pen forward and backwards or a back-and-forth motion when you are extruding filament. Using the pen in different directions will give you different thicknesses in the plastic that is extruded. Also keep in mind that as you are working, you need to periodically lift the mask off of its form using a artisan palette knife, painting knife spatula or thin flat blade screwdriver. The plastic will have a tendency to stick to the mask which is a good thing as it will keep your work in place, but if you wait until you are completed, your project will be extremely difficult to remove from the mask without breaking it. And if you should break any part of the mask just remember that can weld it back together with the 3-D pen. Be sure and save your blank form for repairs or modifications should you need to make changes at a later date.
    Once you have completed your mask you can now sand and paint it a different color or add any embellishments, such as beads jewels etc. I use embroidery floss or ribbon to hold the mask on, as this gives it a Victorian style or feel. This looks more professional and will fetch a higher price if it doesn't look like a kids toy with an elastic band.

It should be noted that these masks can be modified and updated at a later time. Being able to change or modify what you create is one of the things that appeals me, not to mention being able to make repairs to anything that is damaged. What this amounts to is a costume design that will not only last a long time but a design that you will never get bored with.
Modified and updated mask with added eyelashes and flower.

Using a 3-D pen with a tennis ball used as a form

   One of the big disadvantages of a 3-D pen is the lack of precision. Unlike a 3-D printer the 3-D pen relies not on a computer but on how skilled you are with your hands. However you can compensate on some things by using a form rather than just creating freehand. Here I am using a tennis ball as a form to create a Christmas ornament, but realize that any ball that can withstand the heat from the pen can be used. And any size ball can be used to create even more than just ornaments, such as using a basketball to create a lampshade. You may wish to cover your ball with masking tape or some other material so the plastic does not melt into the ball. I'm using the tennis ball basically because that is what I have handy and the plastic adheres enough to the ball to make it easy to control. The disadvantage of using a tennis ball is all the small fibers that the plastic adheres to. This can make removing the finished ornament rather difficult. The trick I use to overcome this is the use of a old painter's palette knife. Using the knife as I work, I periodically carefully lift the plastic off of the tennis ball. A thin blade screwdriver could also be used in the same manner. Just be sure to lift the plastic as you work rather than trying to do it all at once at the end. If you try to wait until the end, it becomes extremely difficult to lift the plastic without breaking it.

    Once you have removed your ornament you then can began to remove the fine hairs with a lighter or hot knife. Be sure and move quickly so as not to melt the plastic ornament you're working on. Most of the ornaments that I create are shaped similar to a half finished death Star. If you wish to create a full sphere, you need to create two halves and then weld them together after you have removed them from the tennis ball form. One trick I use is to create the ornament using the lines on the tennis ball, rather than a straight half circle. This also helps hide any seem that is created when I weld the two halves together, as it is not a straight line.

     So here we have our finished ornament and all that is left to do is to add a bit of thread or ribbon to hang it by. We can also add lace, beads, crystals or other decorations to the ornament as well as sand and paint the ornament as needed. The type of artwork you use is up to you and I have personally created ornaments for all the seasons, not just Christmas. So have fun and enjoy creating a little bit of artwork with your 3-D pen.