3D printing is becoming very popular thanks in part to the price of the printers going down dramatically. In fact, you can get a 3D printer for less than the price of a new computer. However, just because something is affordable doesn’t mean you should run out and buy it. Fortunately, there are many reasons that you should buy a new 3D printer.
Using a 3D printer can open up a world of opportunities, from learning a new skill, starting a business, or simply fixing things around the house. If you aren’t familiar with 3D printers, there are a few different types. Today, we are focusing on the most common 3D printing method that uses rolls of filament to build a physical object out of plastic. Your only limitation is your imagination and the printer’s build size.
Learn a New Skill
The first reason you should buy a 3D printer is to use it as a learning tool. Even as an adult, you can learn a lot from a 3D printer, and that knowledge can even translate into a career. With that in mind, you aren’t going to become an engineer simply by purchasing a 3D printer. However, it can help you gain a foundational understanding of CNC manufacturing processes.
More importantly, before you start printing, you will need to design objects in a CAD program. Learning how to use 3D modeling software like Fusion 360 or AutoCAD is vital for a variety of fields. Even if this isn’t something you want to pursue professionally, regularly learning new skills can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.
Make Extra Money
If you search for videos about 3D printing on YouTube, you won’t get too far before seeing someone claiming that they make a fortune with it. This is very unlikely unless you are in a specific niche, especially if you aren’t running a massive print farm. However, if you come up with a cool and unique idea, you can turn your 3D printing and design skills into cash.
There are plenty of places like Etsy, eBay, and Shopify to sell your creations. While you shouldn’t quit your day job, it is possible to make extra money with 3D printing. Best of all, it is easy to scale up your fledgling business by simply purchasing more 3D printers. Then, if you have an item that is extremely successful, you can consider mass production with injection molding.
Fix Stuff Around the House
Besides making completely new concepts with a 3D printer, you can also use it to make parts for broken items around your home. No longer do you have to use tape to keep batteries in the remote; now, you can print out a new battery cover. Better yet, you can replace that broken stereo knob that has been driving everyone crazy.
Being able to fix things around the house turns out to be one of the most popular reasons that many people continue using a 3D printer. With so many things being made from plastic, you are bound to have something break. Getting replacement parts may be both costly and hard to find. However, with a 3D printer, you won’t have to spend a fortune or wait weeks for a part to arrive.
Create Useful Tools
In addition to making parts to fix things around your home, a 3D printer can create useful tools for specialty applications. If you’ve ever started on a project and then found out halfway through that a special tool is required, you know just how frustrating it can be. With so many companies requiring specialty tools to work on their devices, 3D printers can be a lifesaver.
Custom wrenches are fun and simple to make, and they can really come in handy, but there are also specialty sockets and trim tools that you can easily make with a 3D printer. Clamps are another great tool that is very easy to design, as are angle finders and contour gauges. Having a 3D printer means you can create a tool as soon as a need arises.
Prototype New Inventions
Do you like to turn ideas into real-life objects? If so, then a 3D printer is the perfect way to unleash your creativity. Unlike working with materials such as wood and metal, you don’t need a shop full of costly tools. Better yet, you can fit a 3D printer into an apartment, along with a plethora of filaments. Another benefit of additive manufacturing processes like 3D printing is that you are not left with much waste.
Plus, you can get extreme detail in a 3D print, as well as create forms that would otherwise be impossible to do with other materials. 3D printing is also great for prototyping concepts before trying to make something out of a costlier material. Unfortunately, it is difficult to make larger items with 3D printing, but you can always create a prototype at a smaller scale than the intended finished product.
3D Printers Are a Great Teaching Tool
Not only can you learn a new skill with a 3D printer, but you can also use one as a teaching tool. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, or someone who works with children, 3D printers have something to offer kids of all ages. A 3D printer is a great way to introduce kids to STEM subjects while also keeping them engaged. Being able to create a custom object out of a spool of filament is intriguing to everyone.
Younger kids will be mesmerized by the production process, while older children will wonder how it works. Of course, the items you print can also play a large role in teaching difficult subjects like physical science or geometry. Visual references are always a great way to help kids learn, and a 3D printer is one of the best ways to get kids excited about learning a new topic.
Modern 3D Printers Are Easy to Use
You’ve likely heard that 3D printers can be finicky to use. That is true to some degree, but newer 3D printers have significantly fewer problems and require less work for the operator. Heated beds with glass or magnetic print surfaces ensure that the print always sticks yet is easy to remove upon completion. Additionally, the beds on most printers do not require manual leveling.
Popular 3D printers come with an auto bed leveling sensor, which detects the bed height and automatically adjusts the code to account for deviations in the print surface. The electronic boards and drivers are also quieter, so you can keep them running all night long. There are many minor improvements to 3D printing technology that make the experience much more pleasant than it once was.
Unleash Your Creativity
The truth is that you don’t need a profound reason to purchase a 3D printer. While there are a lot of great reasons to buy a 3D printer, you can simply get one to have fun with. Some of the coolest things you can make are pieces of art rather than a tool, a part, or a science experiment. If you are an artist or want to try some design work, a 3D printer is a great way to turn your ideas into reality.
There is nothing more rewarding than having an idea go from your head to a physical object. Even if you aren’t a professional, making a simple cube on the computer and having it turn into an object in front of you is an incredible feeling. The fun and enjoyment that you will get out of a 3D printer is perhaps the best reason to consider buying one.
The Best 3D Printers
If you’ve taken a few minutes to shop for 3D printers, then you already know how much they vary in quality and price. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good printer, especially if it is just for hobby use. The three options below are all FDM printers, which use a spool of plastic filament. While resin printers can achieve better quality prints, they are more expensive, and the print process is messy.
Best Affordable 3D Printer: Creality Ender 3
First up is the tried and true Creality Ender 3, which is the best option if you are on a budget. The Ender 3 costs about the same as a multifunction inkjet and can run a number of filaments like PLA, PETG, and ABS. The tradeoff for the low cost is that the base model does not have automatic bed leveling, and it does require a little more maintenance and upkeep to keep it working.
Best Multifunction 3D Printer: Snapmaker 2.0
Snapmaker started a new revolution in 3D printing by making the print head replaceable with a laser or CNC module. This gives you the ultimate freedom to create a range of items with a single device. However, the versatility comes with a high price tag. The good news is that Snapmaker is constantly releasing upgrades like its dual-extrusion head.
Best Premium 3D Printer: Original Prusa i3 MK3S+
When it comes to hobby 3D printing, there is nothing better to start with than a Prusa i3 MK3s+. It is often considered the most reliable 3D printer for newbies. It has great features like automatic bed leveling, and there are also a number of accessories that you can purchase. Unfortunately, it is relatively expensive, and you have to be cautious of cheap clones.
Reasons to Buy a 3D Printer: Summarized
|1. Learn a New Skill|
|2. Make Extra Money|
|3. Fix Stuff Around the House|
|4. Create Useful Tools|
|5. Prototype New Inventions|
|6. 3D Printers Are a Great Teaching Tool|
|7. Modern 3D Printers Are Easy to Use|
|8. Unleash Your Creativity|
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