The 3Doodler Start STEM Series allows kids to design and experiment with different robotic structures. 3Doodler recently sent us the NEW HEXBUG® Creature 3D Printing Pen Set to try out. We were excited because kids love HEXBUGS! If you haven’t seen them yet, they are micro robotic creatures that uses the physics of vibration to propel forward and explore its environment. With this set, kids create bugs of their own using the 3D Printing Pen and DoodleMolds® to create legs and body that attach to the HEXBUG® micro robotic motors. It sounds more complicated than it is. The printing pen has a button you push to extrude plastic into molds. There are 4 bug themed molds that create the legs and other bug body parts. The printing pen is used to attach these molded pieces to a motor, which act as the main body of the bugs. Once assembled, the customized HEXBUG® crawl around behaving like real bugs. These movements can be influenced by the design and construction of the legs, body and decorations.
There is some trial and error involved, but the instructions come with some tips that take most of the guess work out. My creature creators were very adventurous with their designs and took some creative liberties which did not always work out well. Each one of these situations was a great opportunity to talk about the science (physics, engineering, biology, etc.) that was at play. There was a lot of laughing though, because there is no denying these HEXBUGS are adorable! For any questions or concerns not addressed in the included Activity Guide or Instruction Manual, we found the Getting Started and FAQ on the 3Doodler website very helpful.
The 3Doodler Start has been available since 2016 and when we first saw it in action all I could see was the possibilities. It is a great STEAM toy because the art is an integrated part of the activity. 3Doodler Start is very equally balanced in all areas of STEAM and allows for very organic discoveries in all aspects. My number one concern about this product was the plastic! I love the innovation and engineering, but I always hesitate to introduce more plastic into our world that will inevitably end up in our oceans. According to 3Doodler, all 3Doodler Start Eco-Plastic are eco-friendly, biodegradable and nontoxic. They can be composted in your backyard!
- Recommended for kids 6 and up.
- Great STEAM value (engineering, physics, art, biology, measurements, technology)
- Start 3D Printing Pen can be used with additional plastic to create other projects and with other kits and accessories.
- Fair price: currently $59.99 on 3Doodler.com for the HEXBUG kit that includes the 3D Printing Pen and $24.99 for HEXBUG kit without 3D Printing Pen.
- Great online resources for inspiration and assistance.
- Easy to use out of box