Compare the 3D Pen UV Light or ABS Plastic

ABS Plastic Or UV Light: Which Is Better?

It is just the other day that 3D computer printerís invention took the world by storm. Barely had we gotten accustomed to them, and the idea of 3D printing, than the ingenuity in humans shocked the world again. 3D pens were inventedÖmore like; it became possible to print 3D objects by free hand.

The major debut for 3D pens was in 2013, but since then inventors have not rested. Improvements continue to be made on the pens and new technologies make newer models more efficient. In this article, we look at the 2 most controversial mediums used by 3D pens; the ABS plastic and the UV light.

First things FirstÖ

A 3Doodling pen is a gadget that allows you to draw in three dimensions. Literally speaking, itís like when you use plasticine and roll it into thin strands to build life-like objects. Except that in this case, the pen uses a material in form of filament, which is heated by a mechanism in the pen and then quickly hardens when extruded to form a compact piece.

History of 3D Pens

The 3D pen was developed in 2013. The inventors used crowd funding to enable them to bring the pens into the market. However, after the first pens were introduced, they got massive following and many manufacturers and investors set to work to produce this futuristic device. The reports as of February 2014 showed that more than 20,500 pens and 1.8 million strands of plastic had been shipped by the original 3D company.

Introduction of UV 3D Pens

Hardly a decade after the 3D pens were introduced, competition began to rise for a better 3D pen. Since the original 3D pens uses ABS plastic filaments and a heating mechanism to melt it, new invention has seen the introduction of a 3D pen that uses a liquid resin that comes in a propriety cartridge and a UV light that hardens that liquid.

The liquid resin is extruded as you continue using the pen then passed through the UV light on the pens nozzle which instantly hardens it.

Advantages of 3D Pens That Use UV Light

3D pens that use UV light donít require heat in melting the plastic strands. These pens donít use a solid plastic filament but instead use a liquid resin. The nozzles of these pens therefore donít get heated up and as a result they donít pose as a burning hazard for children.

3D pens that use UV light are also seen to produce clean plastic strands. No incidence of plastic spillage is likely to occur from these pens as compared to those that use plastics filaments.

Disadvantages of 3D Pens with UV Light.

  • Since UV light 3D pens use a liquid resin that comes in a propriety cartridge, it makes the buyer hooked to purchasing the ink cartridge as they are dependent on these; just like in some computer printers that use the same method.
  • The price of the ink cartridge used by 3D UV light pens is comparatively more expensive than that of 3D pens that use plastic strands.
  • UV light that emanates from the tip of the pen is dangerous to the eyes and can therefore damage the eyes of kids in the event that they look directly into it.


3D Pens That Use ABS Plastic

The original 3D pen uses ABS plastic. It actually works in a similar way as a glue gun with a hard plastic tube melted by heat, extruded, then hardened on contact to air. The only difference with these 3D pens is that they use a finer plastic filament.


Advantages of ABS 3D pens

  • Since ABS is less brittle, it does not adhere to paper. It is therefore ideal for 3D drawing of components of a plan, for instance by architects.
  • ABS is easily cooled by air and therefore model pieces made by this material become stable relatively fast.
  • ABS plastic is more flexible and will therefore easily bend.
  • The ABS plastic strands, since they are not packed in a cartridge, are considerably less expensive than the liquid ink used in UV 3D pens.



3D pens that use ABS filament also require heat to melt this material. This means that their nozzles become extremely heated and may cause as a burning hazard to children. These pens also have a tendency of releasing an unpleasant smelling plastic odor.


It can be challenging to obtain a continuous filament for drawing with pens that use ABS filament since the plastic may feed unevenly.


My Verdict

The verdict of the better pen between the one that uses UV light and the one that uses ABS plastic is not yet concluded. The main disadvantage for pens that use UV light is the replacement cartridge. Although a serious artist may not find the price to be a big issue, a simple 3D enthusiast will struggle with this.


However, the big plus for the UV 3D pens is that they produce cleaner line and the designs take a shorter time to get rigid (though they tend to be too hard)


On the other hand ABS plastics are more ideal for drawing free form and the filaments are also more affordable.



I have just laid out the basic components of the two pens for you, as for which one is better, the choice is yours. However, technologies improve every single day. The once sluggish, bulky, and yet very expensive printers have in the years been replaced by very portable and efficient 3-in-1 printers. The same thing is definitely bound to happen with 3D pens, newer technologies will be replacing the current ones and more efficient pens will be availed. With improvements will come competition, but one thing is for certain, 3D pens are definitely here to stay.

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