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.
How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry
RepRap Model (photo from Genomicon website)
Like so many programs and applications before it, open source is driving innovation in the world of 3D printing, helping to make it a more economically feasible form of manufacturing. By bringing together some of the best and most passionate minds, open source has the power to create innovation through collaboration more quickly and efficiently than closed source alternatives. With huge strides in both the software and hardware that are available, open source is cornering its own little section of the home 3D printing market.
Open Source 3D Printing Applications
The roots of the open source 3D community can be traced back to the development of the RepRap by Adrian Bowyer. This innovative gadget is a 3D printer that can actually replicate other 3D printers, extruding the parts from the machine’s nozzle. Starting with the original printer, the RepRap can produce a new printer, piece by piece.
Next up was the Fab@Home printer, which was designed through a collaboration of both hobbyists and professionals using an open source collaboration. Able to fit on your desktop, this home 3D printer marks the first time that a smaller model, affordable printer has been able to work with multiple materials at one time.
Another recent innovation by Rabbit Proto has led to the creation of a printing tip that allows the printer to include electrical components. By printing these components together, engineers have unprecedented abilities to make functioning parts without having to go through the hassle of piecing together several different parts. Developments like this work to make 3D printing even more functional, further expanding its potential uses.
By utilizing the tenets of open source toward hardware applications, these amazing 3D developments, and others like them, are successfully transforming the way that we look at the home 3D printing niche.
Recently, having my cell phone just lying flat on my desk began to annoy me ever so slightly. When I was in the middle of working on the computer and my phone buzzed, I wanted to be able to glance over at the screen without it pulling me away from my workflow. Plus, if I wanted to watch a video, hovering awkwardly over the phone was less than ideal. This inspired my newest design for this cool little cell phone cradle.
3D Printed Cell Phone Cradle
At first, my idea was to just create a simple cradle that would let me keep my phone upright near my computer. I quickly realized that, since I am often charging my phone while it is on my desk, making it easy to plug in while it was in the cradle was essential. To facilitate this, I added a split in the middle of the base of the cradle so that the charger chord will fit through the bottom. I also made it large enough that my phone can slip in and out of the cradle without having to unplug it from the charger.
The Cradle is designed to be able to easily charge while in use.
Then, I started to really think about the functionality of a phone cradle and how I would like to be able to use my phone. I realized that something else that often bothers me when I am using my phone at my desk is how quiet the speakers are, especially when they are competing with the drone of the printer. By adding sound channels to redirect the sound from the speaker area to the front of the phone, I was able to significantly amplify the sound.
The channels in the design that amplify the sound
When comparing the sound quality of the phone with and without the cradle, those little channels really do make quite a difference.
How you can get your own cell phone cradle?
If you would like to download your own copy of my cell phone cradle design, you can find it in a few different places, including Threeding.com.
Have you ever noticed that your belts don’t really have a home? If you’re anything like me, one day you will find your favorite belt rolled up in the sock drawer and the next day it will be draped over the towel rack. Well, the other day, I decided to put an end to this – my belt would get a designated place once and for all.
After deciding how many belts I would like to hang, in my case I decided six would be ideal, I started designing my new belt holder. Since I have some extra closet space, a design that resembled a traditional clothes hanger would be the most convenient.
Belt Hangar Design
As a user of Autodesk Inventor, I was able to bring my concept to life with the aid of the design software. By choosing to place my prongs slanted upward, the belts can easily snap in place and by facing the belts backward, I can keep the prong of the belt buckle locked into place, preventing the belt’s hardware from wearing out. Then, I just hit print and let my Stratasys UPrint SE Plus, which I am a reseller for, do the work. In just a couple of hours, my print was complete.
The Final Product.
Belt Hangar installed
Now, each morning when I reach for my belt, I know that I can always find it hanging safe and sound in my closet. Plus, because of the beauty of 3D printing, whenever my belt collection grows further, I can simply print out another belt holder.
If you are interested in learning more about how 3D printing can help you get organized and offer simple solutions to real-world problems, contact us at Spectra 3D.