Monday, November 23, 2015

IDO3D product review

On a cold day, when the power is out, you may have to try really hard to find things to be thankful for. This weekend, I was thankful for IDO3D, who hired me to try out their Draw in 3D kit and tell you about it.

printed with a 3D printer at the
science museum
For a little bit of history on why this product is a good fit for us—on my son's birthday last year, we went to our local science museum, where they were using their newly-installed 3D printer. He was smitten.

He had a very in-depth conversation with the young man running the printer and my son was over the moon excited because this man was making a Pokemon figure. Which he gave to my son since it was his birthday and he was so terribly enthralled with the process.

This in turn kicked of six months of bargaining, whining, wishing and discussing how we need a 3D printer. I admit, it is pretty cool. But 3D printers? Yeah, we'll wait for the price to drop on that one.

I've heard of 3D drawing and have to admit I was intrigued, so when IDO3D offered to send a kit for me to try out with my kids, I immediately said yes. And when I told my kids about it, they started planning what they were going to draw.

The kit includes:
  • 4 pens in 3 colors (we got 2 red, one green & one yellow, which I believe is standard)
  • A spotlight for curing the ink
  • Instructions
  • Templates
  • A plastic sheet for drawing on
The things you will want to have handy:
  • 3 AAA batteries for the flashlight
  • Phillips head screwdriver to install the batteries
  • Scissors
  • Toothpicks & coloring books (more on that below)
  • Wet paper towels for cleaning sticky fingers
Our templates included two beginner and one advanced projects (flower pot, rainbow and T-Rex, respectively). We got started on the flower pot and I supervised to make sure they could figure out what they were doing before I unleashed them (always wise with my kids) to create on their own.

I drew the flower using the red since we had the most of that. It took just a few seconds for me to get used to the flow of the ink from the pens—they squeeze so it's easy to get the ink moving onto the sheet. The tip of the pen adjusts to make thinner or thicker lines, depending on what you need.

We started with something small and then cured it a bit. The plastic sheet has a dull and a shiny side—we drew on the shiny side, but I don't think it matters. Working with the ink is very similar to working with the gel frosting that people who can write on cakes use to write on cakes. I'm not so adept, but even for me, it was pretty easy to get the hang of using the ink.

The ink cured pretty quickly—the instructions call for a minute per area—and the pieces sort of popped up off the plastic as they dried. The surface area of the light is small, so it's best to work on pieces a little at a time to make sure that you get the ink cured before it spreads out a bit.

This was a great project for my kids on a day when our power was out due to high winds. They couldn't watch TV or play on their electronics as we had no wifi and I broke this out as they were starting to grumble. They were busy for 4 hours working on projects.

They experimented mixing the colors, using a toothpick to swirl the ink before it was cured. This made for some pretty cool effects! They also experimented with other patterns, freehand drawing and using a coloring book as a template.

Tips for using:
  • As I've mentioned, it's easiest to cure a small section as you go. You don't have to do it completely, just mostly, to prevent the ink from spreading. Also, shine the light from the top and from the bottom of the plastic, to get both sides.
  • Hold the light really close to the project when you're curing it.
  • Control ink flow with the tip of the marker. Don't stress it if you miss a spot—just go back and fill it in.
  • Don't use the pens in direct sunlight as sunlight cures the ink, but do use the sun to help dry your projects completely so you don't have to hold the light on them the whole time!
We love the IDO3D kit and would recommend it if you're looking for a unique craft project that will hold the interest of older kids, which in my personal experience, can be hard to find. My kids are 11 and 13, which is a pretty good age range for this kit. We were all excited to find more project templates on, where you can also find answers to frequently asked questions and a list of the local retailers where you can find IDO3D kits. The kit we worked with retails for under $30, and I would highly recommend this for a holiday gift or a way to spend a rainy or snowy day.

When asked, my kids both said they liked that it's interactive and you can be creative with it. Their dislikes were that you had to be patient. Learning to use the pens takes a bit of practice, and it takes time to cure the projects once they're drawn. Patience is not a strong skill for my internet-inclined, all-the-things-all-at-once, Generation Z kids, but this is a good way for them to learn.

I prefer the drawing kit to a 3D printer not just because of the lower price tag but also for the hands-on aspect. I mean, with the 3D printer it's just a matter of standing there waiting for the project to get done, while with 3D drawing, they get to create it as they go.

What's better than that?

Disclaimer: though I was hired by IDO3D to provide a review of this product, I only endorse products I have used and recommend. All opinions and words within this post are my own, and my opinion is never for sale. Thanks to my kids, who shall henceforth be known online as Chthlulu and Björn, for being my ever-willing guinea pigs.

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