We have had a few readers ask more about 3D printing. I had figured that there is so much info out there that you really wouldn’t want to read about it here, but I guess I was wrong.
Like most activities, 3D printing is a hobby of its’ own. If you are just interested in printing off some parts and nothing else, it would probably be just cheaper to order some stuff online. You need to consider the cost of the printer, the cost of the filament, then time and effort you put into it.
Another major question is if you know CAD. If you already know how to do 3D design, once you understand the capabilities and limitations of 3D Printers, you can easily design your own parts and projects. If you don’t know CAD and you don’t intend to learn it, you will be limited to only printing what other people have designed and put online. This will greatly limit what you can do.
3D Printing is popular due to the low cost of entry. You can get an ok printer in the $200 range. Some printers are available almost completely assembled and set up allowing you to get into printing quickly.
That said, some printers are easier to use and work better than others. Back when I got my first printer, people said “Get a Prusa”. I looked at the costs, the feature set, and ended up buying a Tevo Tarantula instead.
Building the Tarantula taught me a great deal about 3d printing. I had to work out all sorts of issues an I spent a fair bit of time upgrading that printer. Eventually I decided I was going to upgrade to a new printer, and people said, “Buy a Prusa”, and instead I bought a Tevo Tornado. That printer has treated me well, after I did the Ikea mirror upgrade. Still, I’ve never quite got the quality of bridging I want.
So I broke down and ordered a Prusa i3MK3S. I got the kit to save a few bucks. When I get it, I’ll write about assembling it and using it.
You don’t have to have an expensive printer to get excellent results, but it is much harder to get good results with a cheap printer.