AIM TOOLBOX: Samto 3D Printing Pen Review

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I saw a “3D Printing Pen” for the first time a couple of weeks ago on an old Kickstarter. Which made the one that arrived on my doorstep yesterday that much more interesting. (Happy Birthday to Me!)

How is it that there’s a bizarre doodling device that I hadn’t heard of? What else am I missing?

The set I got (Samto® 3D Printing Pen) came with three spools of ABS plastic filament (my dear sister-in-law made sure I had lots of extra color choices though), a charger, the “pen”, and a manual that’s little or no help at all. Fortunately, there’s a labeled diagram, and after pushing all the buttons I think I figured it out. (The kickstarter videos for LIX and 3Doodler are also helpful.) If you watch the videos, or look at the ads, you’ll see beautiful samples of the Eiffel Tower, birds, naked ladies and lettering. I managed to make this masterpiece…

It’s modern art. You don’t get it because you. aren’t. meant. to.

The pen itself is a lot like a glue gun with a motorized feeding system that feeds plastic. You push the little trigger button, and a stream of hot plastic comes out (you adjust the speed) then cools (as you hold it) in 3-D. It was lots of fun to play with, but almost impossible to direct into any recognizable shape unless you drew something out on paper.

If you use the higher speed to draw on paper, it’s a lot like icing a cake. The plastic spreads on, cools, and pops off of the paper easily. (I figured out that it worked best to use lots of pauses while drawing. Draw a bit, then let off the button, then continue. Any hot material will bond to cooled material.)

To make 3D letters I drew the letter twice, then pulled the pieces off the paper, held one above the other, and connected them at the corners.

A tad messy for my taste, but still somewhat legible.

Notice the heart thrown in there? You’ve got one more day to enter your own heart into out Monthly DIY challenge, for a chance to win a card with little patch embroidered by yours truly. I might even 3D doodle you something special.

It was very difficult to get a consistent flow of plastic, since the little motor went “cachug cachug”. Messy messy messy stringy mess.

Am I a cat? I just don’t know.

So. The Samto® 3D Printing Pen is messy, tricky, unpredictable, and had a tendency to smoke a little (Safety Husband says “… It really shouldn’t.”)

What’s the point?

Here’s the point: I spent the majority of the afternoon making abstract messes, and I had a blast.

I got that tickling feeling that I do when I am using a different part of my brain. Managing the goopy material in three dimensions is absolutely fulfilling. I wanted to try every color, and loved the feeling of crushing my little messes in my fingers. I was a kid again for an afternoon.

Now I’m going to make Safety Husband try it out himself.

It’s Cooper approved.

Get yours here – Samto® 3D Printing Pen

(We didn’t receive anything from this company or any other for writing this review. We just like playing with new toys. If this looks fun to you, and you’d like to try it out, support Adventures-in-Making by purchasing with the link above. We get a tiny cut, and you pay what you normally would.)

AIM DIY: Heart Stamps from Stuff your already have.

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

Creativity isn’t always about going to the craft store and stocking up on the newest trendy supply- sometimes it’s about getting clever with what I already have. I save money (by using the things I have and might otherwise throw away), save time (by avoiding a shopping run), and tickle that part of my brain that adores a challenge.

Fortunately, I have a LOT of random supplies, so I get to experiment.

Since the DIY Craft Challenge theme this month is hearts, I decided to sit down and make an assortment of heart stamps using different techniques and supplies. I hope they will inspire you to put your heart making skills to work!


Supplies to Gather Up

• Scissors
• Carving tools like these from Speedball
• Craft Knife
• Permanent Marker
• Pencils, with new erasers
• Stamp Pads
• Washable Markers
• Glue/Gluestick
• Wine Corks
• Sheets of Craft Foam
• Large Flat Eraser (or Speedy-Carve Carving Block)

Stamp 1: Scissors, Glue, Craft Foam, Stamp Pad

This was simply the easiest, quickest, and most surprisingly amazing stamp I made. If you’ve got some craft foam and a pair of scissors you should make a million. First I cut out a square of foam the same size as the flat top of the stamp pad. I then free-hand cut a heart out of that square, and glued it onto the top of the pad with a glue stick. Now all I have to do is take the lid off the stamp pad, tap it on the ink, and print. I love the way it stamps!
(Inspired by the gift wrap experiment.)

Stamp 2 : Flat Eraser, Scissors, Marker, Stamp Pad

IMG_6108IMG_5977It takes a little effort to make this one work with scissors (a craft knife would be easier) but it prints beautifully. I drew a heart shape on the eraser with a marker, then cut around the stamp until I had just the heart shape. Then dabbled it in a stamp pad.

Stamp 3: Pencil (with fresh eraser), Marker, Carving Tools, Stamp Pad

This one get the award for the most adorable. I drew a tiny heart on the eraser of the pencil, then carved around it to leave just the heart shape standing out, then stamped that in a stamp pad.
(Similar tutorial here.)

Stamp 4: Flat Eraser, Carving Tools, and Washable Markers

This is definitely the most compact and kid friendly, since you can use the marker instead of a stamp pad. First I cut a small piece circle of eraser and shoved it into the end of the marker. Then I drew a heart shape on it and carved out the material around the heart. Once the shape is all cut out, I used the marker itself instead of a stamp pad, by coloring on the heart and stamping away.
(These stamps used the same technique at my tiny bug marker stamps, and you can find an extended tutorial here.)

Stamp 5: Craft Knife, Cork, Marker, Stamp Pad

Although this little stamp get pretty rustic, I think that it is the prettiest. First I drew a heart on the wine end of the cork (the other side had a hole from the corkscrew) then I traced the heart with my knife, before cutting about 1/8 of an inch all the way around the cork. It took some back and forth between those two steps, but eventually I had a raised heart, all ready to stamp.
(Check out this even simpler version.)

See! Five heart stamps without even pulling out a potato or a sponge.

So what now? Check back tomorrow for a Valentine template that will put those stamps to good use!


AIM DIY: Love Letter Books for Your Valentine

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, probably because I’m a big mush at heart. I like to think of it as the Thanksgiving for love– a chance to tell the people you love how special they are, and how much they mean to you.

This year I thought I’d turn all those ideas into a keepsake– a Love Letter Book that two people can pass back and forth until it is filled with compliments, thanks, and well wishes. It’s a perfect activity for kids or adults, and needs only a couple of basic supplies (and the free templates included below.)



• A few sheets of colored card stock or scrapbook paper for your covers.
• A printer, and some basic text weight paper for your inside pages
• A pair of scissors
• A ruler
• A pencil (preferably a mechanical one, you’ll see why.)
• The template pages below

There are a couple of ways to transfer the template onto your card stock. You can print directly on the card stock (if your printer is up to that), cut out the template form and trace it onto the card stock, or (as I have done here) use transfer paper to transfer the lines to the paper you will use for your cover.

First I lined up the transfer paper under my template and over my card stock…

Then traced the outside lines with my pencil.IMG_5768
You can see that I also made a mark where the dotted line was on my template.

Using that mark, I used a the end of a mechanical pencil (lead retracted) to put a score line into my card stock. That will make for a better fold.

If you aren’t familiar with scoring- it’s a basic process that pushes down the fibers of the paper, and encourages the paper to fold on that mark. Since I am folding diagonally across a sheet of card stock, the score line makes a big difference.

After I have scored both sides of the cover, I use the smooth end of the pencil to burnish (flatten) the fold.

I then used the Page Template to cut out a total of 12 hearts, folded them in half, and made two stacks of 6. These will be the inside pages of our two halves of my heart book.

I took one stack and lined it up with the fold on one side of my cover.

I made a tiny snip in the bottom fold of the cover and pages to secure my string.

I cut two pieces of string/ribbon, 12″ each, and wrapped one around the cover and pages on each side, following the fold.

Then I tied the string firmly in a knot at the top of each heart, binding the heart books together, and leaving me enough extra sting to tie the book closed.

Once you close the pages and tie the book up you have a lovely two-part book to decorate and fill with love.


You can write all the things you admire about your best friend, your sister, your daughter…

and if you’re lucky you’ll read something just as special in the other half of the book.

Because Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romantic love- it’s time to show your appreciation of all the people around you.

But hey, if your Valentine is more of the romantic variety,  that’s okay too.