5 reasons to own a 3D printer

The development of 3D printing technology has had considerable impact on many industries, and will continue to do so in the near future. The technology allows you to create any design you wish to precise dimensions, save it as a computer file, and reproduce it whenever you like on your machine.

This is beginning to change the way people live, and perhaps even the way they think. The ability to make a real-world object from a digital file creates endless opportunities for learning, research, medical needs, and manufacturing, to name just a few areas.

With the growth in demand, 3D printers are also becoming more user-friendly and affordable. Now you can own a 3D printer for your personal use. Here are just some of the benefits to having one.

Save money

A 3D printer is a fantastic tool that can pay off handsomely for many of your interests, whether it’s starting a business, making crafts, or designing and creating unique items such as cell phone cases or custom kitchen utensils. This will save money over purchasing commercial products.

You can also create your own replacement parts for things like broken handles, missing buttons, and knobs for your appliances. In effect, you can replace/customize any plastic parts or objects around the home that you want. You can also easily and cheaply create customized toys, figurines, or other household items as gifts.

A 3D printer can also save you money in your home workshop. The ability to create objects from scratch to exact specifications eliminates waste from mistakes, with minimum need for finishing.

Earn money

With experience at 3D printing and some good designs of your own on file, you can find many ways to monetize your efforts. Online services like 3Dhubs will allow you to sign up and get paid for making items that other people have requested.

You can always market and sell your own creations on auction sites, or by opening your own e-commerce store. There’s also a market for good designs; you can sell the digital file as a website download to other 3D printing enthusiasts without having to make anything. You could also go into business making prototypes for other companies.

Given the rising demand for 3D printers, you could also make money by teaching your acquired skills to novices.

Invent something

The capabilities of 3D printing offer numerous advantages compared to traditional manufacturing. Businesses can enjoy great time and money savings for commercial interests. Having a physical prototype for investors or clients to handle, rather than flat drawings and blueprints, is a great selling tool. Creating a prototype for a new product once cost thousands, and often new concepts will go through many iterations before the design is finalized, further multiplying the costs.

But even a home version of a 3D printer can reliably make accurate scale models, as often as you wish and very affordably, with little or no lost time. It saves a great deal of money by having your designs perfected before they go to manufacture.

Educate your kids

3D printers offer a unique learning experience that your kids will enjoy, whether it’s your own children or you’re an educator with a classroom to lead. The whole process of designing, creating, and testing new products and ideas will help young people of different ages to learn a lot about design, manufacturing and more. Kids can learn science by exploring chemistry, physics, and mathematics in the process.

Projects in 3D printing can also teach valuable life skills like collaboration, planning, and problem solving. By encouraging children’s curiosity and creativity, you can impart the talents, knowledge, and attitudes that can lead them to rewarding careers.

Enhance your creativity

3D printing technology allows you to improve your creative processes. Whether you’re an architect, sculptor, or jewelry maker, you can create original designs or modify existing ones in your projects, and see the results in tangible form before moving on to the next phase.

Designing models with the help of computer aided software (CAD) and then seeing them in the real world helps to stimulate your creative energies and give you confidence in your ideas. You can innovate to produce completely customized, personal designs which can make unique gifts for friends and family.

Final thoughts

In summary, 3D printing is a very promising technology that’s now accessible to nearly everyone. You can use it to develop new designs and prototypes, model artwork, and create custom gifts or replacement parts, very affordably and whenever you need to. There’s no need to go shopping offline or online for household items you could make yourself. A 3D printer provides a great learning experience for kids, but may also be a good source of income for adults.

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

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One comment on “5 reasons to own a 3D printer

  1. I’m guessing perhaps that you don’t (yet) own a 3D printer. The concept/idea of 3D printing is indeed amazing. We watch movies like Iron Man and it’s suggested that you can talk to your printer and it handles the details, providing a fully-completed collection of parts.

    The state-of-the-art right now with 3D printing is far from that. It’s essentially rocket science on any given day, even with an out-of-the-box consumer model that’s supposed to be user-friendly. If you expect a certain quality in a part, it’s often necessary to print and reprint until you get something acceptable. In some cases, a fair amount of post-processing is required which might include sanding and/or painting. In many cases, material selection is crucial and settings must be adjusted for each change in type of plastic.

    Most of my prints take at least two hours but some might take three days to complete. And some fail at the 18-hour mark, adding to the frustration. Due to shrinkage, you might precisely measure your iPhone with a caliper, design your part and print it only to find that it doesn’t fit. You then get to re-design it taking this shrinkage into consideration…

    And yet, it’s everything you’ve suggested. Only the truly clever & stubborn at this time should embark on this journey.

    Like

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