Wondering if you should buy a 3D printer? Here are 9 reasons that you can use to convince yourself (or your significant other) that a 3D printer is totally worth pulling the trigger on.
3D printing is an amazing and rewarding hobby. Just 10 years ago you could barely print plastic on your desktop – now you can 3d print batteries, 3d print an entire house, or even 3d print meat!
You have the freedom to design and create objects that never existed before, and you’ll also level up in many different skills along the way.
Why you should buy a 3D printer
1. 3D printing is fun!
The best reason to buy a 3D printer is that it is a lot of fun! 3D printing is an incredible hobby and it’s a rabbit hole that will lead you down many different paths.
There are so many things to do with a 3D printer that it can keep you occupied and enjoying yourself for a long time.
You’ll probably buy your first 3D printer as a kit, so assembling it will be the first challenge you undertake.
Once you assemble the kit you will learn how to slice 3D models, find new models to print, and ultimately you’ll learn how to design your own models.
You also may want to upgrade your 3D printer by printing or designing mods for it. These mods will expand the functionality and improve the quality of your prints.
There are also multiple materials to experiment with. Nearly all 3D printers start with PLA filament, but you can also print ABS, TPU, PETG, wood-fill, metal-fill, and even tougher plastics like Nylon.
2. Unlock your creativity
The beauty of the 3D printing universe is that there’s a lot of scope for people of every skill level. Even if you don’t know how to make a 3D model – it’s easy to learn.
Free software available makes 3D design accessible to anyone, and the most basic models start as just shapes extruded into 3D.
As you level up, you can design more complex models, too.
Finally, if you’re not too keen on learning design, you can simply combine two existing parts to make another!
The possibilities are endless, and with your creativity, the sky is the limit.
3. A great tool for education
Buying a 3D printer is a great way to introduce your children to STEM. Because 3D printing encompasses so many different skills, this technology is ideal for introducing your children to a new hobby and perhaps even a potential future career path.
Kids can learn CAD, design thinking, problem-solving, and engineering through 3D printing.
3D printers can also come in handy for gaming and school projects, and they offer a really unique way to bond with your kids pursuing a hobby you all enjoy.
4. Level up your other hobbies
Many people became 3D printer enthusiasts when they bought their first 3D printer as a way to improve their existing hobbies. I bought my first 3D printer to make 3D print parts for my drones.
Eventually, the 3D printer itself became the hobby!
There are tons of other hobbies that can utilize 3D printed parts. Printed parts really democratize the hobby since they let anyone and every one design their own objects, and by sharing them with the community, anyone and everyone can print them and improve them.
They’re also a really neat way to save money. Injection-molded parts tend to be on the pricey side, so if you could just make a 3D printed part yourself for a fraction of the price on your home 3D printer, you’re golden!
Here are some other hobbies that you can utilize 3D printing for:
- Tabletop gaming
- Radio control airplanes/cars/boats
- Kite flying
- Carpentry and woodworking
These are just to name a few.
You can use 3D printed parts in nearly any hobby: you just have to find the design or make it yourself!
5. Make personalized gifts
3D printers are a really neat way to make personalized-yet-affordable gifts for your friends and family. Instead of racking your brain to think of a good gift, you can just find a neat object on Thingiverse or (one of these 30+ alternative sites), personalize it, and make it a gift.
The things you can create range from simple, single-model prints to multi-model prints that you have to print and assemble.
Either way, the time and effort you put into it will make the gift really special.
6. Make DIY fixes for the household
Another reason to pick up a 3D printer is to fix things around the house. Broken knob on the washing machine? 3D printing to the rescue.
Need a little kitchen gadget to make cutting easier? 3D printing to the rescue.
Need a measuring cup for a very specific size? 3D printing to the rescue!
One of the rings on your shower curtain broke? 3D printing to the rescue!
Need a new stand for your phone? 3D printing to the rescue!
How about a new doorstop? 3D printing to the rescue!
The sheer number of things for your home and kitchen that you can find for free online is mind-boggling, and if you go down the rabbit hole, you’ll find enough to keep your 3D printer running for months.
FYI: Household fixes are often the biggest winners in the buying a 3D printer debate with a significant other. Jus’ sayin’.
7. Make some money on the side
You can also utilize 3D printing for making some money on the side (see our guide on how to make money with a 3d printer, here). Many people who don’t have a 3D printer need to get some objects 3D printed every now and then, and there are many services that connect makers to people who need stuff made.
The market for this kind of service is quite saturated nowadays, but if you put your design cap on, you can design/build a new product that you can build with your 3D printer and sell it.
There is also a real application for 3D printing in industry, where rapid prototyping can drastically reduce the time it takes for a product to go from concept to production. You can offer your 3D printer expertise and services to these businesses.
Of course, the amount of money you can make is very strongly related to how willing you are to put effort into the endeavor.
8. Reduce harmful plastic consumption
The environmentally conscious amongst us will be pleasantly surprised to find reducing waste as one of the reasons you should buy a 3D printer.
Most of the 3D printing you’ll do at home will be with PLA filament, which is a biodegradable material. By creating your own fixes for small things, you’ll save on having to buy an entirely new set of the same object.
This is especially true for hard-to-find parts. If you break a knob on your washing machine or dryer, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to source a single replacement knob.
The same thing could be said for breaking a shower curtain ring or an air conditioner remote holder.
Instead of having to go out and buy a new item, you can just design and make your own replacement. And, depending on the part, it can be of really respectable quality.
9. You don’t need to rely on someone else’s 3D printer
While this is a bit of a chicken and egg issue, having the freedom to create your models on your own 3D printer rather than depending on someone else’s 3D equipment is a huge advantage.
You can tweak the settings to your liking and print as many models as you like until you get exactly what you are looking for.
If you’re looking to make things at scale(like print a ton of parts for your large collection of airplanes, for example), the investment into a 3D printer will likely pay for itself rather than having to pay someone else to print so many models.
I hope we’ve managed to convince you to buy a 3D printer! It’s an incredibly rewarding hobby and there’s a huge community of hobbyists from which you can draw inspiration and find new friends.
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