If you are wondering whether not to get started with 3D printing but have many questions- you are not alone. Let me start this by saying, I am still a novice in both 3D design and 3D printing. When I first started, I felt overwhelmed and couldn’t find a ‘dummies’ guide to help me learn.
I’m going to post my journey of the baby steps and videos I think you should watch if you are like me and have no background in 3D design or 3D printing. Think of it as a course for you to learn and grow.
Questions I had before buying a 3D printer
Is it expensive?
Relatively speaking- No. Obviously, everyone’s finances are going to be a little different. I bought the Ender 3 V2 for about $300. You can find a great first printer for under $300. The filament will cost you about $20 a Kilogram. If you are like me and have no idea how many feet is in Kilogram or inches in a meter- that’s okay. What you get usually feels like it lasted you for more prints than you thought.
Is it loud?
I live in an apartment and am worried about the neighbors. My Ender 3 V2, which came with a silent fan according to the Amazon description, is extremely quiet. It is about the noise level of a white noise machine or a fan running on low.
How difficult is it to print something?
Like you, I watched a lot of videos on YouTube, with these very skilled people who talked about fan speed, bed temperature, nozzle temperature, lay heights, and much more. I watched them tweak the settings for the first 10% of the print, then again for the next 40% and so on.
Forget all of that. You will learn that in time. If you follow a few guidelines, you can download something and print it using basic recommended configurations. At the end of the day, that’s the goal to be able to hold something in your hand.
Is it just trinkets, or do people 3D print useful things?
Right now, the world is 3D printing houses, organs, bones, tools, and food. Your first 3D printer probably won’t be able to print bones, but there is a lot you can print. You are really only limited by your imagination.
Designing things in 3D looks hard.
Yes- the amazing sculpture people do, does look hard. There is a lot of free online stuff you can download and print for free. There are also a lot of cool things you can learn to design with basic knowledge.
Is it just another bread maker, that will eventually sit on a shelf?
Honestly- that’s up to you. There are a lot of things online you can print, that doesn’t mean they interest you. It’s hard for some to be creative and make things. I love making things, and a 3D printer for me was another way I could do that.
How easy is it to assemble?
You should plan on assembling it during the day. It will take you a few hours to do. The instructions on my machine were difficult to follow, and none of the YouTube videos I found followed the directions. If Ender sends me a machine I will do a video following along with the directions so you can see. I doubt that will happen tho. I will also say, there are smaller printers that come assembled and auto bed level.