So your interested in 3d printing? Maybe you are fascinated by the technology, or you just want to be able to print things (who are we to judge?). Well there are definitely some thing to consider before making the plunge. This 3d printing for beginners article will not be about which 3d printer to buy for your first but more things revolving around it and what is to be expected. Really its so see if 3d printing is for you, before you buy something for a couple hundred dollars at least that you may or may not get use of.
Just like anything else really, there is a learning curve. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise! Even if you spend one or two thousand on an expensive machine there will be a learning curve on learning how to use the software and slice you files accordingly to get an accurate print. It is strongly recommend to do some homework on both the software side, as well as maintenance before purchasing a 3d printer.
I would like to think I am a pretty knowing person when it comes to computers and technology but it definitely look me trial and error to be able to print correctly. I still to this day learn new things constantly that helps me to better my machines and ultimately get quality prints that I am happy with. If you do not have this knack for electronics, you can still definitely get the hang of 3d printing, but it will take patience.
Places To Look For 3d Printing Information
There are lots of great communities like reprap out there with a forum full of people with knowledge that will gladly help you out with getting up and running. On top of that myself and others have quite alot of YouTube videos that will help. To name a few of my favorites other than my own, there is 3dPrintingNerd, MakersMuse, Thomas Sanladerer, and Chuck Hellebuyck to name a few.
All of these sources are great for learning the basics, getting your printer dialed in, and checking out reviews on many of the available printers on the market currently. I started off originally just printing existing files that I found online over at Thingiverse, but have since taught myself a decent amount of 3d modeling and have began creating my own designs which is a lot more fun and rewarding.
3d Printing is great, and I have no doubt in my mind that one day every home will have one. For now, we learn together and share our ideas, the 3d printing community is one of my favorites due to the very nature of its opensource style. If you do not have any experience with 3d printing or the printers it is probably going to be much easier to buy a prebuilt one than to build one from a kit, although it is not impossible.
Although building a printer from a kit yourself is much more time consuming and obviously more difficult then buying a complete, it really teaches you a ton about your machine. My favorite part about building my own was that I got to understand how the machine works from the ground up and am now able to troubleshoot and replace just about anything if need be.
As far as software goes, there are many free and paid ones out there. I personally have been using repetier host to control my 3d printer and do all of my slicing (3d model file prep for the printer). Be sure to look into the different forms of software control so that way you know which one best suits your needs!
Hopefully 3d printing for beginners post will at least give you a starting point, a few things to think of, and some sources for you to check out when thinking of picking up your first 3d printer!