Handheld 3D Printing With Hot Glue Gun

About: Maker | Open source ❤ | Engineer

Intro: Handheld 3D Printing With Hot Glue Gun

When I started to learn 3D printing Classes on Instructable, I had no 3D printer with me,I immediately thought of making imitate 3D printing with something else.I love making things from scratch (like probably everyone does).

In this Instructable ,I am creating a key chain with hot glue gun similar to 3D printing.

Hot glue guns are basically a 3D printing pen .And it is low temperature enough that you can manually reshape it afterwards .

Step 1: A Few Words!

I was browsing around on instructable to get started.I had completed EASY 3D PRINTING CLASS recently.And the instructable called " 3D Printing Guide" by JON-A-TRON gave the idea to get started.

In the following steps i will explain how i made this.

Step 2: The Idea

A Hot glue gun is like a handheld 3D printer.It is basically just a heating element surrounding a tube through which the glue stick is pushed through nozzle.But instead of being controlled with computer software and motors , you guide the printer head by hand.

What is hot glue?

Hot melt adhesive is a thermoplastic adhesive that can be melted in an electric hot glue gun.The gun uses a continuous heating element to melt the plastic glue that is they extruded through a tip or nozzle when user applies pressure to gun's trigger.


The glue gun draws a shape on the platform in 2d,then moves up one level(slice)and draw the next 2D shape,stacked on top of each other ,the slices form a complex 3D shape.

And ,3D printer still costs a few dollars and may be out of reach of hobbyist who do not have any budget.

So ,In this instructable I have made a key chain ,that I learnt in EASY 3D PRINTING CLASS

Additionally ,If you use hot glue ,dripping glue gun is probably the biggest reason for the waste.So you can turn this wastage into some kind of # objects.:)

Step 3: Gather Your Materials

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Hobby Knife/Razor Blade
  • Aluminium Foil Paper
  • Cardboard Sheet
  • Transparent Tape
  • Pencil
  • Flat Washer(To provide a smooth bearing surface.)
  • Scissors

Step 4: TinkerCAD Design

As a part of EASY 3D PRINTING CLASS ,I had made 3D design of Key Chain with my name using TinkerCAD .My user experience in TinkerCAD was awesome.

Step 5: Setting-up Build Platform

To Provide Metal closure look for the key chain I used aluminium foil as printer's bed(Aluminium foil sticks perfectly with Hot glue). First, you need to draw mirror image that you want to print on key chain.Use a pencil to do this.I drawn the mirror image of my name to the aluminium foil .You've probably noticed that aluminium foil has two sides ,one that is shiny and one that is dull. Draw the mirror image to the dull side.so on other end the name will be displayed.

To a cardboard sheet stick aluminium foil using transparent tape.

So our Build Platform is ready :)

Step 6: It's Printing Time

Switch on Hot glue gun and wait to get it heated.Start drawing through the aluminium foil design .Repeat drawing on layer by layer to get 3D shape.Wait for some time to get it cooled and solidified.

Step 7: Cut It

You really Won't get a perfect 3D print ,So you need to cut out excess print by using a hobby knife.

Step 8: What's Next?

Next step is to connect it with Key Chain Ring.To provide smooth bearing surface, heat a flat washer and fix it to the Key Ring Loop.

Step 9: All Done!

I am including an another print done by me too.

Step 10: A Flashback Story

I want to share a small problem happened during this project.I was ready with everything to start it.A link which connects both trigger and spring action mechanism got broken.And the problem raised was i can't push the glue stick into the nozzle.

I could fix the problem by using 2 screws and a plastic piece .Thanks God

Hope You Enjoy:)



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