A while back I wrote about my 12-year-old daughter’s discovery of her love for STEM activities. What began with the exploration of a 3D pen has since moved into more colorful and fun activities, such as learning chemistry through swimming pool care, and a recent Girls Coding Camp I hosted for her AHG friends …
We’ve been watching the development of the Atmosflare pens since first trying them out, and my daughter was totally intrigued to discover what their new vertical 3D pen was all about. So, of course, loving mama that I am, how could I say “no!”?
When we tried the first version of this pen, I have to admit some of the others in our family were pretty discouraged with our efforts. This time around, however, I suggested a different approach. Spending some time on the IDO3D blog helped me to understand that there is a large aspect of this that is “art-sy,” too. With that in mind, I really appreciate the free online tutorials and short classes they offer to make the most out of this tool, so we took a few minutes and watched them. Of course, that also means that, much like painting or drawing or any other art form, patience and practice are paramount.
The term “pen” is actually a misnomer. If you’re not familiar with them, 3d pens work more like a small-scale building tool. Whatever you can think of drawing using pen and paper…you can create with an added dimension of depth using a 3d pen. Cool, huh?
Squeezing the soft barrel that holds the sculpting gel forces it out through the tip; holding the UV light over the design hardens the gel, enabling you to draw “up” as well as on the surface: this is what enables you to create a 3d effect.
A couple of things to bear in mind when you’re using this for the first time:
- If you have trouble opening the caps on the ink, use a small grip pad (like you might use to open a jar in the kitchen) or small pliers. Once you’ve opened them initially, however, you’ll be good to go.
- To get the blue light holder to stay on the pen you may have to twist the pen and push the blue light until it clicks in the ridge located right above where the cap screws on. (This makes sense when you have the pen in hand.) You may need to press firmly, but here, too, once you’ve done it once, you’ll get a feel for it in future use.
- The directions suggest that you build on a dark surface to improve the curing process. I may or may not have personal experience that proves they’re right!
- Buy extra ink (available at ido3dart.com)! This kit comes with more ink than the first pen we bought. But even so, it’s so easy for your imagination to get carried away, and how sad would it be to end up with a half-finished project?!
- Watch the videos, but go slow. While the constructions you’ll see are certainly a level to aspire to, don’t compare your own work to them! (As I mentioned earlier, this stuff takes practice!)
This is the kit we used:
Fun Stuff to Do in the Summer!
We’re always looking for some educational summer fun (well, at least mom is!), and this craft fits the bill.
One of the best things about this product is that your child can use it for a short or extended craft time. As long as they put the cover back on the barrel to prevent the ink from drying out, they can spend a few minutes doing one part of their plan, head outside for a swim or time with friends, and then get back to “work.” As a matter of fact, my daughter and I accomplished the project below in under an hour from start to finish. She wrapped up her tools and went to visit grandma, and then returned home and spent the rest of the afternoon on yet another solo project (it was a rainy afternoon).
Later this week she’s having some friends over and I’m hoping to introduce them to the IDO3D. We can do that because this kit comes with 4 pens. Only thing I have to figure out is how to share the blue light among them all…
The Benefits of Arts and Crafts for Kids
I’ve written before about how we can teach important life skills through arts and crafts classes. With a product like this, of course, the obvious skill development is for the STEM-lover and tech-minded student. 3D construction provides real-life applications of principles presented in both geometry and trig (so says my hubby!), and building any type of structure uses basic engineering and design skills.
But even kids who are not so tech-minded can benefit from using the IDO3D! Working out how to create beautiful designs, whether they’re flowers, or animals or actual objects helps develop creativity while building problem-solving skills, the ability to predict and visualize results, and project planning skills, among others.
Where to get your own IDO3D Pen
Well, it looks like 3D art is the next cool crossover toy (both fun and educational)! Grab one this summer for fun learning – you’ll find it at big-box stores such as Walmart, Toys-R-Us, Target, and Costco, and crafters’ favorites such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby!
There’s still a bunch of long, lazy, summer days left – go out and get one today…and let us know what YOU think in the comments!
And soon to come…
Our family is totally gonna try this one – one step beyond making your own 3D creations is bringing them to “life”! Watch the short video/commercial and see the next development.
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Subscribe to their YouTube channel to watch fun 3D “builds”