(Universal) 3D Pen Trips & Tricks

      1. If you can't or are incapable of taking things apart to fix them, do not get a 3D pen.  Do not get a 3D printer, that's more mechanically complicated.  These things will jam with plastic or filament will break inside.  You have to take the cover off.  You have to take the nozzle off, and you need strong hands to put the nozzle cover back on. 
      2. I repeat, if you can't take things apart and put it back together again, DO NOT get a 3D pen.
      3. Do not get a 3D pen for a grandkid under 12, even if you're supervising, even if it's a smart kid.  You will have to take it apart and fix it.
      4. 3D printers are not plug and play.  You will have to do a lot of tweaking and you will have to learn to design stuff on the computer.

        Helpful tools - Except for scissors, everything is optional but very helpful.
      1. Scissors - You will have to cut filament.  You may have to cut paper or cardboard.  I've used scissors to trim my printed things.
      2. Tweezers
      3. Needle nose pliers
      4. Flush cutters - (also called wire trimmers or wire cutters or dikes) I use it for trimming my work because I was dulling Mom's cuticle trimmers (oops.)  It's stronger to clip and you can get closer to where you want to trim to than scissors.
      5. Exacto knife
      6. Pallette knife - for prying off your work from the surface
      7. Packing tape - I recommend it over blue painter's tape.  Blue painter's tape gets stuck to your 3D print, haven't had that problem with the clear packing tape.  It could get hard to start a line of plastic, I'll just use the smallest length of blue painter's tape that I can get away with to get started, then run on the packing tape as soon as I can.  Yes it melts, it just disappears, no biggie.  For smaller areas,  you can use clear cellophane tape, but not the Scotch Invisible tape (too thin).  You can also use Kapton tape, but it's way more expensive and doesn't melt.  It'll last longer than packing tape, but I went with packing tape because it's so available.
      8. Desiccant - those little packets of gelatin found in medicine bottles & other items that manufacturer's want to deliver in a dry state.  I am hoarding these things to put in with my Ziploc bags of PLA filament.  They want to stay as dry as possible.
      9. Box - Maybe it's just me, I'm keeping all my 3D pen stuff together in a wooden box.  I also use this box to work on.  I've taped non-stick parchment paper to the cover, and I've put packing tape on the other side, if that works better for me.
      10. Parchment paper - hard to work with because nothing sticks to it, not even tape.  However, there are times you want this attribute.  The best example I have is when I make the feathers for my gel pens.  I want the feather topper to be removable so that when I use up the pen, I can put the topper on the next pen.  I want a custom fit so that it doesn't fall off during use.  Parchment paper is perfect for isolating the pen from the plastic and is more easily removed than any tape.
      11. Glue stick -  Very cheap.  The 3D printer folk recommend purple glue sticks, but it doesn't matter.  Purple is just so you can see where you put down the glue.  I've also seen the 3D printer guys recommend hair spray.  I don't have any, haven't tried it.  I had 3 sticks of glue.  It works.  I use it on top of the parchment paper in order to get an outline started.  From then, it has plastic to stick to.  It just about disappears
      12. Heat gun - just discovered 3/27/16.  I don't know that a blow dryer would do as well.  My little heat gun was $22 at Lowe's and it only does 400C (750F) and 540C (1000F). 
        1. If your printed parts need a little tweak, this is the best.  One (out of four) of my trash bag hangers came out a little wonky.  Heated up the problem area until it started to move, then set it in the position it should have been in the first place. 
        2. Also used it to remove the plastic that encased tip #2 to investigate the root cause of failure. 
        3. It also cleans up the thin little strings (like spider web), whoa, I was using the flush cutters for that and occasionally the tweezers.  It disappears!
      13. Dremel tool - okay, maybe not as helpful as the heat gun + flush cutters and a bit dusty.  I was cleaning up bumps and plastic gone wrong with the dremel tool after the plastic had hardened.  I don't use it much anymore, maybe because I've got better control over the 3D pen than when I started (an now I have a heat gun).