This week in CEP811, we were tasked with finding objects to re-purpose and utilize with our maker kit. For my “kit,” I opted to by a 3D Doodle pen.


For an idea of what you can do with the pen click here.

My idea thus far is to have the students learn about different regions of Italy and then to create a symbol for their region with the 3D pen.  For instance, Rome is located in the region of Lazio, and a student might want to use the pen to make a 3D representation of the coliseum. I went around to a thrift store and found some read/write CD’s that I got as well as some tea light holders that I thought might be good “templates” for circles to make the coliseum.


You can just see the tea light holder in front of the pen (It’s purple).  The pink and green circles wrapped in plastic next to the CD are the plastic filaments that the pen (in blue in the foreground) uses.  The other materials were just some other items I thought might come in handy.

I first tried to make the coliseum by making circles with the pen around the tealights.  Then, I attached the circles by making columns of plastic.  I didn’t try just layering circle after circle on top of each other, as the pen did not come with as much of the plastic as I thought.  Therefore, I decided to use the plastic filaments sparingly until I could purchase more.  In any case, this is my first coliseum.


OK, so it looks much more like the start to some messed up drum, but it was my first attempt!   Then I tried to make the leaning tower of Pisa.  Also, not beautiful.  After watching a few more videos though, I noticed that most people seem to first make something flat, and then put it together with something else or just pull it off the paper and put it upright.  I got the idea that I could maybe use the pen to make some trees and the CD’s as a shiny surface representing a lake for the alpine areas of Italy.  The trees came out much better and actually didn’t look too terrible.  I also wrote “Italia” with the pen just  to see how it worked with letters, and that also came out well.  Interestingly, the pen will etch the CD’s a bit, so even if the plastic writing comes off, what was written remains!



How to make a tree!

So, since the monuments didn’t turn out so well.  I thought I’d show you how I did the trees if you wanted to experiment with a 3D pen yourself.

  • First, don’t be afraid of it.  I was a bit nervous, but you have to just dive in and not worry about making mistakes.
  • To get the pen ready, you simply plug the pen in and load the filament in the back.
  • The pen will begin to warm up, and once it reaches temperature, you can use it.  The pen has a little window that shows the temperature, and it has buttons for you to raise or lower the temp.img_4635
  • Next, you push the button on the side, and the pen starts to extrude the plastic.  If you’ve ever used a glue gun, this works almost exactly the same way.  It just has plastic filaments instead of glue!
  • BE CAREFUL!  The tip does get hot just like a glue gun does.  The plastic won’t burn you like the glue, however.
  • Then, you just get busy creating.  You’ll probably want to have some scissors handy.  Every time you stop and pull the pen away, there will be little whispy bits of plastic (or at least there are for me).  They’re very simple and easy to clip off.

You can watch this video of me making my trees and attaching them to the “lake.”  If you can’t get it to load, click here!


I have a lot to learn, but I’m excited by the possibilities!

These pictures and video were included to show the materials that I used as well as my first attempts at making famous Italian landmarks.  While the coliseum did not look how I was hoping, the trees came out much better, and I could see the students utilizing the pen to make interesting representations for their various regions.  Therefore, I included the video so that someone else could follow my process for how I made the trees.


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