Without much exaggeration, it can be said we’re living in the heyday of consumer 3D printing. Just eight years ago, making your own 3D objects would have been expensive, and the results disappointing. Since then, the market has exploded with reliable and fast 3D printers which get progressively better and steadily cheaper with each passing year.
Hesitation in embracing the new is understandable, but in the case of 3D printing, there’s really no reason to wait anymore. “Should I buy 3D printer?” has been rattling in your head long enough – here are some compelling reasons to embrace 3D printing and its countless benefits.
3D printing’s practical side: Buying a 3D printer is a great idea
The financial aspect of getting a 3D printer, while definitely important, is actually not that big of a deal considering how much money you can save or even make by frequently using your new machine. Anything from more basic stuff like soap dishes or phone cases you’d spend a couple of dollars on, to more advanced items such as a replacement buckle for your backpack or a carabiner which revitalizes items you’d otherwise have thrown away, fabricating prints can have the printer pay for itself over time.
To speed that up, you can also let the entrepreneur in you shine and offer 3D printing services to people you know, or even strangers on the internet via specialized sites. To create unique products with a signature style, you’ll eventually want to pick up 3D modeling, an incredibly useful skill in and of itself.
Some people get concepts much more easily when they have visual and tactile representations of them to draw on. If you’re that kind of person, or have a child that’s struggling with concepts from their physics, chemistry and other classes, printing out 3D models of molecular bonds, planets etc. can really help put things into perspective in these fields while possibly making them curious about the printer itself and its workings.
The fun stuff
While you shouldn’t forget that a 3D printer isn’t a toy but a versatile tool, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with the things it makes. At first, you’ll probably have to “limit” yourself to prints you can get online, thousands of cool ideas people have made real like figurines both abstract and depicting well-known and beloved characters, full-fledged games like miniature chess sets or amazingly detailed Halloween masks.
Nothing beats taking the helm though and coming up with your own zany ideas. It won’t be a cakewalk and there’s a lot to take in at first, but after some trial and error you can expect to start creating miniature pieces of art you and the people you get them to will be able to claim as truly one-of-a-kind.
A welcoming community
Another reason you definitely shouldn’t discount is 3D printing’s thriving and ever-expanding community. It’s a great time to be interested in the hobby as more and more official and community-driven resources are popping up that offer guidance, troubleshooting and advice for beginners, not to mention loads of tutorials and free prints for you to try out.
The camaraderie extends to 3D printer manufacturers in a sense too – there are a number of models that have been successfully launched through crowdfunding, focusing on resolving earlier issues backers felt needed addressing. Even more interesting is the fact that many of the associated technologies are open-source, speeding up 3D printing evolution and making them more accessible to everyone.
It has become clear that 3D printing technology isn’t just a passing novelty, but offers tangible benefits in numerous fields and for the average person alike. Using a 3D printer fosters creativity, helps you lead a more self-sustaining lifestyle, and develops the patience and problem-solving skills needed to address issues like problematic prints or errors.
For an upfront cost that’s steadily becoming more reasonable, you get a tool whose applications we’ve just begun to take advantage of. Whether you want to use one for some extra income, improve your home one small item at a time, or delight loved ones with custom-made gifts, it’s a machine that can enrich your life in a measurable, practical way. At this point, it’s not a question of if you should buy a 3D printer, but why you haven’t yet done so.