When 3D pens first became available, many assumed they were playful or part of a general fad that would eventually die out. Like most revolutionary technologies, however, they have found a permanent place, especially in the art scene, where the ability to 3D print freehand is incredibly valuable. There are still some shortcomings in the technology, however [tterev3] Recently ripped into a 3Doodler pen for some necessary upgrades.
First, this pen has a few design options that are curious to say the least. The fan runs regardless of temperature and has push buttons to start and stop instead of a momentary button that controls the extrusion. To fix these issues, as well as changing the filament size, improving cooling and better controlling the extrusion speed, [tterev3] The firmware was completely rewritten, the microcontroller on the board was changed and several hardware upgrades were made to accommodate these changes. He also went ahead and installed a USB-C port for charging, which should be standard in all low-voltage entertainment electronics by now.
The detail work on this project is impressive given the small size of the pen itself and the amount of precision hardware required to make the changes. Especially in terms of replacing the microcontroller on the board itself, which is an impressive feat even without the incredibly small dimensions. The firmware upgrade is also available on its GitHub page if you have your own 3Doodler that needs to be changed and if you are still struggling to find uses for these handy devices, we’ve seen them having an interesting effect used to build drones.