As 3D printing’s popularity increases, you might consider getting your own personal device. While you may wistfully think about how nice it could be and shelve the idea with so many other thoughts in your head, consider the real-life practicality that these machine 3D printing is still fairly new.
As popularity increases, you might consider getting your own personal device. You may wistfully think about how nice it could be and shelve the idea with so many other thoughts in your head. Before you do, consider the real-life practicality that these machines can offer.
Even though quality printers feel very expensive today, there are a number of good reasons to invest sooner than later. Even if you find yourself waiting in the short-term, you can expect prices to fall as rapidly as most new technologies, and as they continue to come down in price, homeowner level models offer more and more potential. This is only the very beginning of what a 3D printer could do for you.
Print Your Household Needs
3D printers were originally designed to create extremely precise, specialized tools for scientific and engineering research projects. As researchers wanted the freedom to try some designs at home, they pushed the market into more domestic reaches. What does this mean for the home-end user? Well, the sophisticated resources of 3D printing can give you access to tools that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars apiece. Now, with the right design, you can make such things for a few dollars worth of materials.
With every tool under the sun at your fingertips, worlds of possibility open. Need a special pipet to decorate a cake? Print it. Can’t reach a bolt to fix your car? Print a ratchet joint. The custom size washer broke in your plumbing? You can print them all. Any job around the house that might need a specialized tool is now within your domain when you master your personal printer. The best part is that you don’t have to make the designs yourself. Places like YouMagine and Thingiverse offer downloadable models that give you professional level precision for every situation.
As useful as the infinite options for tools are, many repairs require a special part to fix. Obscure plastic latches seem to be the linchpin for all modern construction, and ordering the right replacement part is a dubious prospect. A 3D printer solves this as easily as you might imagine, making an exact part to replace exactly what is wrong. Whether you are fixing furniture, appliances or toys, the sky’s the limit.
If you worry about being able to successfully model the right part when you need it, fear not. Like with everything else on the list, there are communities dedicated to providing parts for every need imaginable. Groups like Kazzata have dedicated their efforts to helping manufacturers create and maintain 3D printing designs for every spare part. They uphold their obligations to supply replacements while minimizing production and storage costs. Those savings are returned to end users and everyone wins. Now you can skip waiting for shipments, arguing with customer service or long drives to acquire special pieces.
Prepare for the Future
This is definitely a technology where you want to be ahead of the curve. Investors are poised to put 3D printers in every home, and it’s only a matter of time before manufacturers are able to make that a reality. Researchers have successfully printed: customized bionic limbs, replacement human organs, entire meals, medication, musical instruments, clothing, bicycles and houses. So, while a 3D printer at home might feel like a large investment today, you can see the unlimited potential that these tools hold for tomorrow.
“Why not wait?” You might wonder. 3D printers are not as simple and straightforward as the paper eating monsters that sit in every office and many homes. They require some learning and familiarity to operate with success. While innovations promise to reduce some of the user burden, you will ultimately need to learn how to use the technology if you want to have access to all of these wonderful promises. Much like with smart phones, adopting early will put you ahead of the curve and prepare you to make the most of the endless potential that is inevitably headed your way.
All of these uses and potentials can be dizzying, but there is one reason that stands above the rest to invest in a 3D printer: fun. All of the good intentions for designing and fixing things are great, but unless you latch onto a personal enjoyment, the printer is likely to collect dust with a number of other things in your home. This tool is a resource to help you unlock every corner of your creative mind, so go into it expecting a good time. Make things that appeal to you on a personal level and use that drive to gain familiarity and mastery of your printer and software. If you do, the other uses will always be at your beck and call.
This article first appeared on the 3D Printing Materials Store.