3D Buying Tips
Buying a 3D printer can save you plenty of time and money in the long run but, for most of us, it is still a fairly major financial decision. Make sure that purchasing a home printer, such as the MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) is the right decision for you with these
tips for buying a 3D printer:
- Before purchasing your printer, take a moment to think about how it will benefit you. Although you will, no doubt, find things that you will do with your printer that you would never have anticipated, you should feel confident that you have enough print needs that the printer is worth the initial investment.
- As a beginner in the world of 3D printing, you are going to want to have plenty of support. Purchasing your printer from a knowledgeable team who will happily offer their assistance, such as The 3D Printer’s Guild, means that you will be left with fewer headaches as you learn to navigate your printer and design software.
- Familiarize yourself with the policies of the manufacturer. Check to see what sort of warranties and protection plans are offered. If you run into any issues with your machine, you want to be sure that you are protected.
- Check out some online resources. Forums, blogs, and reviews are fantastic ways to find out more about individual printers, design software, and materials. They are also full of great tips and tricks to help you customize your printer settings to get the exact effect that you are looking for.
- Before you purchase your machine, do a little research on 3D modeling. There are great websites available, such as Thingiverse, that offer designs that you can either download for free or for a small fee. As you learn about the basics of 3D printing, these pre-designed models are a great option. When you begin to feel more comfortable with your machine, however, you are going to want to start customizing your own parts. Start with a free design program, such as Autodesk’s 123D Design (Learn what happened to 123Dapp), for a simple way to start designing your own prints. Alternatively you can use Autodesk’s Fusion 360 for your design work.
- To really know if a 3D printer is for you, you may want to see it in action. Industry shows and Maker Faires are great options. Meetups with 3D printing groups are another valuable source of information. If you live in the Western North Carolina region, for example, join us at one of our upcoming 3D Printer’s Guild Meetups.
- When deciding between machines, a 3D printing hub can be quite helpful. Simply order the same model to be printed by two machines you are deciding between to see which best meets your specifications.
- As with any online reviews, remember to take the 3D printer reviews with a grain of salt. For starters, people are much more likely to write an angry review about an unpleasant experience than they are to write a good review about a pleasant experience. Furthermore, reviews in magazines are often written after a small time spent with the machine. Since it can take quite a while to become familiar with your machine and its unique settings, these articles may not tell the whole tale. Although reviews are one important part of your research process, don’t let them become unduly important in your search.
With these buying tips, you can feel confident making your 3D purchase. If you would like more information about buying your 3D printer, please feel free to contact us.