3 Reasons Why Not to Start with 3D Printing — and Why I do Not Care About


There are so many reasons to use a 3D printer and they all describe the one phenomenon that makes it so fascinating:

Push a button and you can create things out of nothing.

Photo by Tom Claes on Unsplash

But this appearance is deceptive! Below are three reasons against starting with the hobby of 3D printing and why I recommend it.

3 Reasons Why Not to Start with 3D Printing:

1. 3D Modeling

If you want to use the full scope of a 3D printer, you have to learn 3D design in for example Fusion360. It takes a lot of practice to create your own approximately good and useful designs. However, this is a very time-consuming process and often makes you upset when you spend hours creating a model and it ends up looking nothing like you imagined.

2. Problems after problems

As I have already described in another article, especially entry-level 3D printers are not very reliable when it comes to delivering consistently good quality. It can happen again and again that the print detaches from the print bed or suddenly gaps appear in the print because too little filiament was present during printing. This is especially annoying if you have a print that runs for 20 hours and these problems occur after 15 hours. Then nothing helps but to cancel the print and start again from 0. In the beginning, I have not infrequently spent hours attaching a new nozzle because it was clogged only to find that the next is also directly clogged. It was probably the Filiament, which I then threw away

3. The (hidden) costs

In recent years, 3D printers have become cheaper and cheaper. For a few hundred euros, you can already buy them today. I also bought a printer for under 200 euros. Since you have so many ideas at the beginning about what you would like to print, preferably in different colors, there are other costs. Continuously it is of course the cost of the filiament. In the beginning, you are spoiled for choice as to which filament and which color you would like to have, it’s like an addiction. Quickly, the different filaments pile up next to the printer. With, for example, 10 different colors, this would be at a price of about 25 dollars already 250 dollars just for the stock

Of course, this cost is obvious and unavoidable. In my case, however, there were also other costs for changes to the printer that had to be made to improve quality or fix errors. For example, stepper drivers burned out, the hotend was defective, or I built a noise shield around the printer. When you add it all up, the $200 at the beginning seems like a small investment.

But why 3D Printing is still awesome…

Even with these reasons, and in part because of them, I am a fan of 3D printing. Yes, it indeed takes a lot of time to learn the basics, especially 3D design, but once you have mastered it, the full potential is available and there are no limits to your creativity.

Through the multitude of problems that may drive you to despair in the beginning, you learn a lot about electronics and 3D printing. Each defect and problem was just a way to understand the full scope of 3D printing. If you get involved in it, I would not want to miss it in retrospect, because I learned a lot and today I no longer shy away from new problems on the printer, because I now know how to fix them.

Photo by Hugo Sesma on Unsplash

And probably the most important point: The community! On the Internet there is a huge 3D printing community that shares its knowledge and also 3D models freely accessible. On websites like Thingiverse people share their models and you can download and copy them for free. No matter the topic or what you’re looking to print, someone in the world has usually already created a model and uploaded it, so you don’t have to create your own every time.

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

If I could inspire you a little bit for 3D printing, feel free to check out my other articles on similar topics.

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