Introduction: Simple Projects for a 3d Pen - Mushroom and Ladybug

About: Liked to draw and paint when I was growing up. Switched to carving and sculpture in my twenties. Work in wood, stone / marble, plaster, and ceramic clay.

I got a 3d pen for Christmas. I was thinking the grandchildren might like to do some things with it. But it turns out to be a little harder to make things with it than I thought it would be. So, I will put together a few instructables, showing a few simple things you can sculpt with it.

Little insects seem well suited to this medium. It is fun to play with the pen once you learn how to use it.

The project is meant to be one of exploration and learning by doing.

It is assumed that you are already familiar with how to load, use, and unload different colours of the PLA wire. You should also be familiar with how to control the feeding speed of your particular model.

Step 1: Make a Mushroom Top and Stem.

Get a couple of measuring spoons. A big one for the mushroom and a smaller one for the ladybug to come later. Use any spoons you have available. The shape doesn't need to be round.

My mushroom is going to be white with orange spots. Use whatever colours you like.

Using the inside of a spoon makes the top of the mushroom smooth.

I added the spots first into the measuring spoon. Getting these to stick in place might take a couple of tries. Slow the speed of the pen down to give yourself more time to work.

Once the spots are in place you can fill in the surrounding area with white. It will be easier to start in the center of the spoon and work outward to the edge. If you just fill it in it will show some gaps but they will not really detract from this piece. Everyone I have shown this thing to finds it cute and unique.

The Stem of the mushroom is made by using the tapered cap on a marker. The tapered end will make it easier to remove the stem from the marker after it cools in place. It is easiest to hold the pen in one hand and work around it in a series of horizontal circles to make a solid shape. The outside of the mushroom stem will be rough but it will look fine for this project.

Step 2: Join the Stem to the Top and Add It to a Base.

The stem can be placed in the top of the mushroom and joined using the 3dpen. The spaces can be filled in as you go.

The best way to join the little sculpture to a base is to use a hot glue gun. The PLA doesn't stick firmly to most things. Anything can be used for a base. A jar top, a bit of plastic or a piece of wood. I am using a small, wooden box cover from the dollar store.

The mushroom is glued to one edge to allow for more things to be added later. I put a little extra glue around the stem which will be hidden in future steps.

The mushroom is finished but it looks quite plain by itself.

Step 3: Make a Lady Bug

Use a smaller spoon to make the body of a ladybug. I am using orange and brown since I don't have black.

First, draw the head and then add a stripe down the back to show the division of the body. A few dots will finish the brown. Next, fill in the body with the orange (or whatever colour you chose).

I found it hard to pry the body loose from the spoon. A sharp point did the trick but this would be where a parent would need to help a younger person. I used my utility knife but a steak knife or any sharp point will work.

Once it was free from the spoon I made a couple of purple bumps for eyes.

Step 4: Glue the Bug to the Mushroom

I used hot glue but the pen would work here.

I wanted black pupils for the eyes so I painted them on. Ordinary craft paint seemed to adhere quite well.

Now to add a little activity to the base.

Step 5: Make Some Grass and Add a Second Bug,

Use the pen to make some grass around the base of the mushroom. I used dark green at first and then switched to light green for added interest. Don't worry if it comes out looking like tiny sprigs. Just play around and cover some of the space around the base in front of the mushroom. Slowly lifting the pen while it is on the slowest speed should give a decent effect.

Scraggly grass will go well with this theme. No need to fuss too much.

Next, make a small bug to go on the grass. I am using blue. A simple oval or oblong body will do. I added a few brown dots on the edge of the body to represent legs. White bulges represent the eyes with brown dots for pupils.

I attached the bug to the grass using the pen and green plastic.

Hope you enjoyed it.

I will follow up with another instructable, adding a few more insects to this little sculpt.