My little caboose threw me for a loop a while back, no I mean she REALLY threw me for a loop: I discovered she’s into STEM activities! Even after knowing her learning style…and thus developing her artistic side (through dance and drama, which she enjoys quite a bit), this revelation that she “loves Science” – and where that seems to be leading us in school – just caught me totally off guard!
If by some chance you’ve missed the memo, STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and math”. As our nation plummets in its world standing in these fields, it has become quite the rage in the educational community – for good reason.
So…when I got the opportunity to review the new AtmosFlare 3D Pen by Redwood Ventures, I jumped on it. I mean, just think about it: artsy meets tech! Perfect, right?
We were beyond excited when the package arrived – even my teenage boys were all over getting the box opened! I managed to get a photo of the box before they dove in, but the kids put the thing together before I even finished looking through the directions.
After a few initial attempts…this is what we ended up with:
We were, obviously, a little disappointed. But, get this. As I sat down to start taking some notes, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my little STEM-baby was bent over, giving it the old “college try” once again (middle-school style). All of a sudden, she comes over to me, all excited like, and says “Momma, look!”
Yeah, guess the learning curve is short for that one 😉
Well, I don’t know about coming up with the aMAzing results that are shown on their website…but I think the AtmosFlare 3D pen is a harbinger for great things to come! I LOVE that it marries technology with art, and based on what I know about 3D printers already available, this is the beginning of a beautiful future <3
Now I know some of you may be like me and want to get my hands on something before you buy it. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to know that the AtmosFlare 3D pen is also sold at Toys-R-Us. So maybe go out on a date night without the kiddos and check it out first – ’cause I promise you that if you bring the kids, you WILL come home with one 😉
Here’s the skinny on the AtmosFlare 3D pen:
- Upon opening the box, I was a little disappointed that there were no clear usage directions, aside from putting it together. I didn’t realize you had to squeeze it to get the ink flowing – the kids, however (of course!), figured it out. (Update: I mentioned this to the company (they’re very user-friendly) and they’re already dealing with this issue. Check out their website, where they now have short, interesting videos to help you set up and get started!) (Ya’ gotta love a company that is responsive to their customers <3)
- Note – don’t do this on paper, as your creation will melt onto it. After looking more closely at some of the YouTube videos, I realized there was a plastic sheet some folks were creating on, or else a bare hard surface. After experimenting with waxed paper and aluminum foil, I settled on using a plastic sheet protector, which worked perfectly!
- The size is a bit awkward for smaller hands…
- There is a definite learning curve. When you’re drawing with the light on, the ink tends to harden on the point very quickly, necessitating frequent stops in the creating process.
More 3D pen Usage Tips
Don’t rush it! The ink cures as you go, but if you try to draw too fast, your lines just sag..
Make sure you don’t store your ink cartridge in the pen. Remove it and replace the cap when not in use. Trust me on this 😉
Order more ink! The package (at least mine did) comes with 1 red and 1 blue cartridge. But you’ll have so much fun, you’ll definitely want more ink!
For best results, put a piece of dark paper under the plastic sheet you draw on. Bright base papers and bright lights help the ink cure a little too fast, and can gob up (that’s a technical term) your tip.
Make sure you have a bottle of hand sanitizer around for quick and easy clean-up. I got some on my hands and then the pen ended up getting sticky, so I even used the hand sanitizer on the pen…easy-peasey 🙂
DO visit their website and watch the videos under their “Quick Start” tab – lots of good info there…
Top 5 Reasons to Try the Atmosflare 3D Pen!
Not necessarily in this order 😉
- Frustrated with your kids’ over-involvement with screen time? This is something really unique – the “cool” factor alone will up the engagement factor and their attention span with an activity that does not involve a screen or monitor…
- Looking for a unique gift idea! Face it, folks, anything tech-related is the thing of the future – and what a cool idea to gift ~ or get ~ a 3d pen!
- This is a combination toy/craft activity that will interest both kids and adults! Looking for ways to engage your child or spend some quality time with him or her? Neither one of you will be bored with this activity, believe me!
- 3d pens are a fun activity that bridge entertainment and learning…Nothing wrong with sneaking in a litle educational element to play, is there? As I mentioned earlier, this marriage of “artsy” and “tech-y” sets the stage for some exciting STEM possibilities! 3d drawing is definitely a fun form of today’s technology 😉
- Reasonably priced – you’d pay a LOT more for typical toys and video games these days…with a lot less “bang for your buck!”