Generally, most 3D printers are sold specifically to 3D printing enthusiasts. If you are looking to get into 3D printing hobby, what type of 3D printer should you buy? Read on to find out.
Getting Started with 3D Printing Hobby
Buying a 3D Printer
If you will be doing 3D printing as a hobby, this probably means you don’t know what exactly you’ll be printing. Therefore, you will have to start looking for your first printer. Here is a guide on how to choose a 3D printer.
During the search, you will want to check the features and capabilities of the printer. The features will largely determine what you can print and cannot print with the printer.
For example, if you will want to print high-temp plastics, such as ABS, you will need a 3D printer with an enclosure.
Also, if you are buying your first printer for a hobby, you probably don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a professional 3D printer, such as 3D printers for mechanical parts. Rather, you may want to go for a budget 3D printer.
Here are some guides on the best budget 3D printers:
- Best 3D Printer Under $200
- Best 3D Printer Under $300
- Best 3D Printer Under $400
- Best 3D Printer Under $500 (FDM printers)
- Best Resin 3D Printer Under $500 (Resin printers)
Finding STL Files for 3D Printing
Now that you have decided on the 3D printer to buy, you will need to know where to get 3D printing files. After all, to print something, you need to have a file with a 3D model.
The main source of 3D models for home printing is free libraries. There, you can find many, mostly decorative or just cool items that are fairly easy to print. A good example of such a website is Thingiverse.
We’ve covered before where you can get free STL files for 3D printing.
Some popular files you may want to look at include various mugs, holders, organizers, coasters, figurines, and more. These items are typically printed with PLA, which is odorless and safe for home use.
Moreover, even budget 3D printers can handle the material.
Quality of Print
The quality of the finished models will depend on your understanding of all the intricacies of 3D printing. In skilled hands, even the simplest printer can produce excellent results. Conversely, the most sophisticated professional printer in inept hands will not produce good quality print .
In most cases, 3D printing hobbyist use ready-made files. However, some users go further and start learning 3D modeling, create their own 3D models, and even upload them to free or paid access for other users. To make your own 3D printing files, you need to master a CAD software. Here are the best free CAD software for 3D printing.
With rare exceptions, you will not need a 3D scanner. Most scanners are expensive and not really required for home use. Therefore, you’ll mostly print ready-made files that are found online. The files may be free or paid.
Choosing a 3D Printer for Your Home
For adult beginners in 3D printing, inexpensive printers, such as Anycubic Mega S or Wanhao i3 MK 2 are good. There is a lot of information about these printers on the Internet. You can learn more about their upgrading, optimizing their operation, replacing some parts, etc.
Assembling and modifying the printer is more technical than the printing itself. Moreover, the process allows you to understand the structure of a 3D printer, how 3D printing works, and ultimately how to achieve good prints.
The 3D printing process itself is not quite simple. Therefore, it makes no sense to complicate it for a child through self-assembly, setting up and modifying the printer. For kids, the best models are those that work “out of the box”. Basically, you want a printer that will simply be needed to be plugged in to start printing.
3D Printing Hobby Safety
Safety during 3D printing is also important. Minimize the possibility of getting burned or injured during the printing process or while removing the model from the platform.
Also, consider the slicer. For children, software with a small number of basic settings are more suitable. The software should allow you to get good quality models quite quickly, without delving into a huge number of complex tools.
On the other hand, if you already know what you are planning to 3D print , choose a printer based on the specific project you will be tackling. In particular, pay attention to the maximum size of the build area, the maximum heating temperature of the extruder and platform, closed or open housing, and the presence of one or two extruders.
Disadvantages of 3D Printing Hobby
Before getting into 3D printing hobby, there are some inconveniences that a 3D printer can bring to your home life. First off are noise and an unpleasant smell, depending on the model. The noise level of 3D printers is different. Therefore, consider this when evaluating different 3D printers for beginners.
As for the unpleasant smell, consider the materials that you plan to print. High-temperature, chemical-based plastics have a pungent odor. If you are planning to buy a printer with an enclosure, pay attention to the presence of a HEPA filter in it, which can trap up to 93% of odors and combustion products. If your printer does not a HEPA filer, consider a 3D printer ventilation system.
If you are planning to buy a budget resin 3D printer or even the best resin 3d printer, you will end up with a mini lab in your home. Resins have an unpleasant odor, they’ll need to be rinsed in industrial alcohol, and when illuminated, create unpleasant and pungent odors.
Therefore, for home use, choose odorless resins, i.e, the “water washable” ones. As the name suggests, the resins can be washed under running water.
Now you know what is required to get started with 3D printing hobby.