With the buzz around 3D printers becoming affordable and accessible, there are a few things that are not generally known to first time 3D printer owners. 3D Printers have major nuisances that you have to commit to once purchased. It’s a large investment and you should know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Did you know 3D printers are loud and slow? Not quite the things you would think of.
Here are 5 major things you should know before getting a 3D printer:
- Noise level – Many 3D printers use 3 or more stepper motors to move their Z, Y, Z axes and with all these moving parts moving and vibrating, 3D printers can exceed 70 decibels which is about the equivalent of a small vacuum machine which means no long overnight prints in your bedroom but there are some solutions. You can buy or create a sound proof DIY box but this is one of the more costly and difficult options. Dampers such as Astrosyn dampers are a cheap solution that can be effective on many Nema 17 stepper motors and many cheap aftermarket dampers are said to be effective as well.
- Speed – 3D printing is a slow additive process. People may not understand that it may take several hours to a day to print certain projects. A 6 inch symmetrical, empty cube can take take a couple of hours depending on how much infill and printer settings. To put this into perspective, the average smartphone is about 6 inches tall.
- DIY kits or pre-built? DIY is a great way to understanding how your printer works but it is also a good way to mess one up. With dozens of parts and the printing industry infamous for providing lackluster installation instructions, you can end up spending several hours longer than you expected. A pre-built 3D printer is usually calibrated well and it is working since the manufacturer are adept at building their own products.
- Print material – PLA and ABS are the main two printing filaments but there have been many new additions for advanced users. PLA is the norm for hobbyists as it is cost effective and safe. ABS uses toxic material that is not safe for closed environments such as your room or with food materials.
- Build space – Most build sizes are measure in metric so a 150x150x150 is approximately 6 cubed inches. Will this be sufficient enough size to print everything you want? Not everything but it is the standard dimensions for an entry-level 3D printer.
After consideration of all these precautions, if you still are interested in buying a 3D printer, the next step is to consider which printer is right for you. Price is what most a lot of people first look at but prices have been steadily dropping as new printers come out each year and many DIY printers have come into the market. If you are serious about buying a 3D Printer, check out Amazon.com for some reviews then head 3DHubs article on the 3D Printer buying guide at https://www.3dhubs.com/best-3d-printer-guide
If you have more questions, please feel free to comment or send me a message.