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  1. #1

    New to 3d printing, is it a good hobby?

    Hello, I'm new to the forum and 3d printing in general and the only previous experience I have is an art teacher who had a 3d printer in class. I'm interested in getting a 3d printer to expand the range of DIY projects I'm able to do but I'm curious if it's a good hobby or more for a career. I basically want to know if I will be able to utilize my printer fully if I have no design background or expertise. Obviously I'm willing to learn new things but I am just asking this before I waste money. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    absolutely it's for home and personal use.

    Plus as an artistic person you should have no problem with mo9st of the design software.

    As an unartictic person I use a program called openscad for designing.
    Even my stick men tend to be deformed. :-)

    Have a look around
    That will give you some idea of the sheer usefulness and versatility of even a cheap 3d printer :-)

    Personally i think every one on the planet should have one and be taught basic designing at school.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Yes it is a good hobby. I saved up over a few year and bought a MakerGear M2 for the same purpose. To make the project boxes and other doohickeys I can't just go buy when I am doing a DIY or electronic project. It is like a table saw but for plastic..
    There are 3 parts to lean
    If you want to design you own parts you need some kind of CAD software ( I chose OhShape) so there is that learning curve. You can download other peoples stuff in the mean time.
    Then there is the Slicer software that turns your 3D model into what the printer will print.. This software is like a musical have to learn how to adjust it depending on what you are printing and with what kind of plastic.
    Then there is your printer itself, setting starting height , leveling, changing nozzles... etc

    So it is NOT plug and play
    If you are good with all that then you will have a blast.. Took me a few months to feel comfy with it all, not an expert and there is a LOT of trial and error on all 3 fronts.. so be prepared to lean patients.. nothing like your first 10 hour print failing after 8 hours. :-)

  4. #4
    Hello Marthalroy,, You seem to be leaving the decider with the difficulty rating. Im not sure if that should be your motivation for investing in a 3D printer. Its a hobby that will cost you a bit of cash to get started. IT will also cost you in filament as you go on. I am also new to this but its only a tool for my real hobby. I need to make parts for my real hobby which is RC Sailboat Racing.
    I am sure you have done some kind of research. Just being here is a testament to that. You need to be a bit mechanically inclined to build, and understand what is going on with your printer. They do take a bit of maintenance. Dont listen if they tell you how easy it all is. These boards arent here for nothing.

    Next, I would ask if you see yourself being rewarded for 3D creations. It seems you are looking for an outlet for your artistic side. This should be the main question in your decision. Sure if its too difficult to build and run a 3D printer then basically forget it. If you get one and can use it.... then Will you use it, or will it sit somewhere collecting dust until you put it up on Craig's List? 3D printing has become mainstream. Everyone is buying consumer grade printers and theres a ton of them out there now.

    I would spend some time exploring a few FREE 3D Design programs. This is where you will most likely make your decision whether or not to buy a printer. Spend a few weeks finding and then using a program and do what you want to do. If you find you can do it and you like it, then you will most likely buy the printer and learn now to use it and maintain it.
    I use TinkerCad by AutoDesk and am now deciding to upgrade to Fusion 360 or another of the free ones. TinkerCad can help you get started because the interface is so easy to learn. Once you master that you can graduate to something more. Good Luck.
    My advice then should be, start designing and let that lead you to a printer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    I don't think the learning curve is as steep as people say it is, as long as you don't start with a nuts and bolts kit, and software is provided. Even a lot of chinese kits don't involve much assembly and usually come with the software needed.

    Yes, it is good to do regular maintainence like lubricating guids and tensioning belts etc. But it is not nessecary. Sure the printer may not run "at it's best" but it will work well enough, especially for more artistic and less engineering use.

    What you will need is some patience. The bed will need adjusting, hotends will need unclogging etc. These are not difficult to solve problems at all, they just require a quick google and some common sense.

    That's my experience, anyway. 3D printers were my first experience with CNC machines and digital manufacture. I was printing within an hour and never ran into any issues I couldn't diagnose and fix in an hour or two (much quicker the second go round). I didn't have any specific knowledge other than basical mechanical knowledge ("righty tighty, lefty loosey"), the (correct) names for different components (i.e. the difference between the hotend and extruder) and some basic troubleshooting skills to narrow down the source of the issues. The first one helped me fix the issues that the second two+google helped identify.

  6. #6
    I would say as long as you have the time to invest (just for reference, a good 3d print can take up to 40 hours of learning), as well as the money for materials, then go for it!

  7. #7
    Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
    Add Roberts_Clif on Thingiverse
    Quote Originally Posted by marthalroy View Post
    I have is an art teacher who had a 3d printer in class. I'm interested in getting a 3d printer to expand the range of DIY projects I'm able to do but I'm curious if it's a good hobby or more for a career.
    3D Printing is an for Art, it is for Hobbyist and it is for the Career minded.

    I started with the indention of using it for my DIY projects. Though found it useful for many others as well.

    I 3D Printed this globe for my yard lights as the originals had deteriorated away.

    Globe 1.jpgGlobe 2.jpg

    These PLA Globes have remained outside in the the weather for 2 years, the weather has ranged from -32 in 24 inches of snow to blistering 110 + degrees Fahrenheit in direct sunlight. This project alone saved me the price of a new yard light system and the time to install the new system. Though the Metal light holders now have have a lot of weather and bird droppings, the globes still look brand new. Looks like more water and a stiff brush is needed to clean them again though this is a project for the cooler days of fall.

    The point is, I saved enough money on a single project to pay for the purchase of a 3D Printer for the DIY replacement globes.

    Not to change the subject but I have tripled the number of " Trick or Treaters " in the last 2 years.
    It was at the point where it felt like they would skip the house to get treats faster.

    So How did I triple the number of " Trick or Treaters " I started 3D Printing 1/2 of their treats.
    Between Airplanes, 3D Benchy's, Fidgets, Bat-O-Rains, Halloween stuff ect. It brought the kids back, and the cost was less than the price of the candy.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 08-25-2018 at 08:18 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Los Angeles
    I think its a great hobby, you dont have to spend much on a fancy 3d printer. You can buy the monoprice select mini for a really good price. Its a great 3d printer to start with. Theres lots of files readily avaialble on thingiverse and similar sites for free. Blender is also a great program to model your own files theres lots of tutorials on YouTube for it which is awesome

  9. #9
    I think it is a great hobby because 3D printing is a hobby in and of itself. 3D printing technology helpful for all sector, create prototypes, Create custom-made products easily, create eco-friendly projects, etc. But at the same time, it has emerged as a good business as the industrialists have started adopting the technology for the mainstream production process.

  10. #10
    Engineer Roberts_Clif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Washington State, USA
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    Today printing a Gutter Bracket designed using ThinkerCad, the Gutter was originally made with vinyl using ABS Brackets to support the Vinyl Gutter.

    The gutter dimensions are 2.75 x 4.5 inches this is for a gutter that has hard to find parts.

    Gutter Bracket.jpg

    I believe that ABS is the best material for this part, as I have not yet purchased any PETG.

    Will post the results when printing has completed.
    Last edited by Roberts_Clif; 10-11-2018 at 06:28 AM.

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