Why You Should Buy Your First 3D Printer
Bulky, Expensive, Complicated, and the Best Thing to Own
The technology for automating the manufacturing of products (in a method characterized by layering materials to produce a tridimensional object) is not by many definitions a novelty. Created in the early 1980s, not surprisingly, this process has been widely disseminated in industrial practices, and it became commercially viable for home use by the end of the first decade of the 2000s. 3D printers started as a daunting eccentricity, but have withstood the test of time and shown they’re here to stay. With the widespread use of this type of tool, many businessesand enthusiasts are increasingly having at least one 3D printer with a plethora of uses and objectives.
So, in this article, we’ll bring 9 reasons why immersing into the world of 3D printing is well worth the initial learning curve and cost.
#1. It’s a Great Creative Outlet Tool
Whether it’s your wish to make a well-defined, parametric item or something more organic, 3D printing is usually the most efficient and simple way to bring your designs to life. In the same way that a printer is a great tool for experimenting and producing designs on flat surfaces, a 3D printer can, in some cases, substitute years of learning and hours of active work when making objects. There are many great CAD softwares that can specialize in either design approach. Many of them offer tools that can be paired with 3D printers to create solid objects with the finesse that matches the most skilled sculptors.
#2. It Can Save Money
With many of our household and daily objects having increasingly more plastic components, sooner or later a material failure can be expected. In some cases, it’s serious enough to render, say, a vacuum cleaner, blender or fridge unusable. In any of those cases, a moderate knowledge of a CAD software and a couple of hours could save you well over the cost of plastic and an anxiously bunch of days/weeks of waiting time for replacement parts to arrive. Custom-made supports and knobs are way simpler to make than they look.
#3. It’s Environmentally Friendly
In the same vein as a cost(and time)-saving solution to problems, this process also proves to be more environmentally friendly when compared to its alternatives. While you can depend on a physical warehouse to store your items, many trips can be offset for a single delivery of the materials necessary to run a 3D printer. These materials can also be locally sourced and even made from recycled plastics (in the case of FDM printers). Plus, a kilo of resin or plastic usually goes a long way.
#4. Applicable to Other Hobbies
Some industries rely heavily on 3D printing to manufacture prototypes and specialized tools. But hobbies can also get quality-of-life improvements from your printer. 3D printing is said to be a “hobby for hobbies”. Be it related to vehicles, gaming, music, woodworking, painting, or playing and collecting meticulously made and awesome-looking miniatures (wink, wink). In any case, you can soon enough find yourself having too many things on your backlog to improve upon. And that alone justify the expenditure to get a printer.
#5. Incredible Learning Tool
As people get more used to the process of design and 3D printing, there seems to be a perceptible change in the way they approach and view the design process of many objects. It shouldn’t be expected to suddenly turn you into an engineer. But there are definitely skills on manufacturing, structural integrity and ergonomy that can be obtained by getting accustomed to this hobby. Either way, you’ll be able to identify (and appreciate) a well-designed, well built object.
#6. DIY Potential
It’s expected that after learning how to properly design and manufacture your own products according to your specific needs… Well, they’ll be exactly according to your need. It may sound redundant, but it can be applicable to different situations you may find yourself in.
Maybe you have a specific pair of headphones that doesn’t fit too well on regular, consumer-grade supports or cases. Maybe you need that support to fit in a specific part of your house, or be easy to transport. You could even need a specific accessory or piece of equipment for a product that has long been discontinued. There’s the possibility of customizing a 3D printer and its software to run as a CNC router or laser engraver. And these procedures open a new magnitude for the manufacturing capabilities. With some extra materials, you can even make your 3D printer print another 3D printer (A̵̞̐ṅ̷̺d̵̦̚ ̵̝͌ẗ̵̠́h̴̼̉u̴͖̅ş̸͊ ̷͉̔t̶͎̐h̵̥͐e̴̖͌ ̸̰͗c̵̰̈́ȓ̷͎e̷͙̒a̸̦̾t̸̳͝u̴̘͝r̶̼͘é̶̼ ̵͔̚b̵͔̾e̶̢̅c̸̮͘o̴͖̅m̷̮͋è̷̪s̵͕̽ ̶̪̈́t̴͉͛ḣ̴̨e̵̬̕ ̵͍͊c̵̪̚r̶̥͘ë̵̦́a̶̧͊t̷̠̾ǒ̵͙r̷̨̐). In all these cases, especially custom-made solutions are always within reach.
#7. Unique Gifts and Pieces
3D printed objects aren’t exclusively designed to have a strict functionality. Astounding decoration items are as easily printed as a piece of support, casing and insert. The potential for customization has never been more accessible. There are even free, open-access 3D files prone for tuning according to your wants. Lithophanes, for example, are a simple way to make art from something as simple as a picture, a print and some lights. Keychains, coasters, boxes and organizers get imbued by a special touch if made fit for a specific person. On your part, it’s just a matter of some extra care using a mouse and keyboard.
The ability to change parameters of common day-to-day things with a printed add-on can be considered essential in some cases regarding accessibility. Custom-made handles, tactile bumps and pads or clever adaptations for one-handed (even left-handed) operation. All of it can increase comfort and safety for its users. In lots of cases, these improvements are easily available and free to use. The amount of work that is put out there, for free, for the purpose of helping other people is huge. And it can be a justification in itself for some 3D printer enthusiasts.
#9. It’s Simply Fun
A cup for pencils, erasers and pens – embedded in a T-Rex skull. A planter that looks like a miniature villa, looking as if taken straight from a 1:100 replica of the Italian Cinque Terre. Boxes with built in hinges and mechanisms, that function out of the printer with no additional work or materials required. Masks, drink holders, dice towers and boxes that seem as if taken out of a game Loot Box. You know what we’re talking about. It’s one of those things that you would normally need. But in thilese cases, you know just by taking a look at them that you need them. They bring a special flourish to what otherwise would be ordinary things.
The world of 3D printing indeed require some knowledge to get into and has a cost of entry that has to be considered beforehand. It, however, can bring with it much pleasure with the act of having inaccessible ideas suddenly materialized, tactile. It’s one of those hobbies which is not only fun in of itself. But also enhances your experience with other parts of life, be they utilitarian or purely aesthetic. In another post, you can read more about which 3D printer you should get.
The tech has evolved in a way that it seems way ahead of what it was a decade ago, with promising and exciting possibilities ahead of us. It’s already popular in such a way that there’s more than enough tutorials, classes, helper tools and discussions to ease people with all sorts of computational knowledge into printing well-executed objects in a matter of days, or even hours. It’s artsy, democratic and at the same time, scratches that innate itch we have of solving problems and making our lives better. If anything, let this article encourage you to look more into what can easily be done with the help of a 3D printer. Do consider the cost and do your own research based on the type of printer you have, and start designing. Start testing, explore, mess around.
Loot Studios can help you print highly detailed minis, statues and props. Choose your favorite bundle from our previous releases or sign up for Fantasy or Sci-Fi to receive a new bundle every month. You can also check out some tips at our YouTube Channel.