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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To? 251

First time accepted submitter mandark1967 (630856) writes "With recent advances in working with different filaments (Wood filament, Nylon, etc) and price drops seen lately, I'm curious to know how many of you have decided to take the plung and get into 3D Printing. There are several kits available now or even assembled units that are in the same cost range as a 'gamer' video card (DaVinci 1.0 for $499, Printrbot Simple 2014 — $399, 3d Stuffmaker — $499).

I'm wondering if any of you have purchased a 3D printer and how you like it so far. I've been in the computer field since the 80's but never did CAD work before so I was very hesitant to take the plunge, fearing the steep learning curve of mastering programs like Blender or AutoCAD. What I found, however, was programs like TinkerCAD and 123Design made it very easy to learn basic CAD so I decided to pick up a 3D Printer last week. After a week or so of design work and printing out many items, I think I've picked up a few skills and I can actually see myself making a little money on the side creating and selling items. I don't think I'd trade my current job for one designing and printing items, but it is nice to have a little income on the side if I choose to do that."
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3D Printing: Have You Taken the Plunge Yet? Planning To?

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  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:42AM (#46571847)

    I've only one thing I'd like to print right now: A replacement reverse-nozzle-thingie that goes on the end of the hoover hose.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:51AM (#46571863)

    Personally I can't think of anything that I'd need to print - that would work first time.

    Sure, it's possible to print out a load of old crap, just for the fun of saying "I made that" (just as small children are so proud of their scribblings), but surely we're all past that stage by adulthood?

    The things I *would* like to fabricate would be plastic or metal parts that is part of a larger assmebly, but has broken. In that case, it's much harder to measure every dimension, put it into a design package, print off a sample, see where it doesn't fit, modify the design and repeat the whole process until I get one solitary example that fits, performs and doesn't contain any manufacturing flaws that weaken it.

    Far better to start with a piece of stock material and remove excess, bit by bit, until you get the fit you require. All the tools and materials are readily available now. Although that doesn't have any "geek" qualities: it's simply old-fashioned manual dexterity and skill.

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @03:53AM (#46571881) Homepage Journal

    I got a Replicator dual(was 2400 euros or something shipped). total beta product as far as dual goes(using 2 materials). works ok after many community tweaks. made some parts for friends, keychains etc.

    I've since bought two repraps, and now I have the opinion that spending over 1000 bucks on a fdm 3d printer is just pure madness, unless you go and spend 8000 and get a mojo(expensive prints but easy peacy to do the prints).

    why put so much money into this? because it's fun. it mixes electronics, mechanics, motors, robotics... so the printers themselves are a hobby in itself too and you get something tangible out of it for your efforts. it's much less noisy and approachable than cnc routing etc similar and much cheaper too.

    summa summarum.. unless you're already running a prototyping biz you can't just make money easily by just printing. if you need 3d prints for some other job(design or whatever) then you can save a lot of money and time by running your own 3d printer though..

    buying your first printer and being all "oh I'm gonna make so much money from this" just doesn't quite work out. you can use it to complement some other business you have, but it's hard to compete on the market for just making the prints. however if you're doing freelance parts designs or such stuff then you pretty much have to have one now.

  • by cpuffer_hammer ( 31542 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @04:00AM (#46571905) Homepage

    I was very much wanting to get a 3D printer. In looking around I found a Maker Lab / Hack Space ( []). There we have a number of 3Dprinters plus laser cutter, cnc, lathe and much more. Along with people that know who to use them and help fix and adjust them.
    I have access to all this for what it would cost to buy just a 3D printer (a year). When and if I want my own I can build it there.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Tuesday March 25, 2014 @07:19AM (#46572481) Homepage Journal

    There are 3D printers that can handle metal so yes you can print gold. Unfortunately you also have to provide said gold ;)

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