The answer to “Is a 3D Printer worth it” can be tricky.
The cost of the 3D Printers starts right from $200 to $3000. This much of price is sufficient to make people rethink their 3D printing enthusiasm and goals.
Of course, there are many negative things, but there are few positive things as well, and with passion and proper goals/plans, you can go for a 3D printer without worrying about the cost.
A study conducted at Michigan Tech found that a 3D printer pays for itself within six months and can see an almost 1000% return on investment within five years.
This article covers everything you need to know before opting for this hobby or technology (basically buying a 3D printer), so read till the end.
Before We Start – Generic Talk
In most circumstances, people treat 3D Printing as a hobby while not focusing on the fundamental requirements of this technology.
If you are also with the same mindset, then there are few things that you must know before getting started because it is different from other hobbies.
The most obvious thing here is your purpose (expectation or goal) of 3D Printing. You must know it from the very beginning.
Everyone should try to get the answer to the following questions,
- Is a 3D printer worth my money?
- Is 3D Printing worth my time?
- Am I a maker?
- Is outsourcing my requirements to a 3D printing service a wise choice?
- How much time does it take to learn 3D Printing?
In this short guide, we will discuss the 3D Printing Community answers to the above questions. The advice in this article contains collective opinions from me, reddit users, quora people, and few famous 3D printing experts.
Do Not skip reading this short article (with long-term advice), or with passing time, you will be surrounded with lots of questions (difficulties) and probably lose interest and quit.
Let’s start with the very generic question first,
What Should You Be Afraid of While Buying a 3D Printer?
Like any other hobby, 3D Printing is also not easy at the beginning because it has a steep learning curve, so it will take a long time to learn. All you need is,
- Fair knowledge of electronics (for troubleshooting)
- Good hand on the computer (for learning 3D printing software)
If you are the one who is not having the above skills, then DO NOT worry because both of them can be learnt in a matter of time. You need dedication and consistency. Every hobby requires learning!
Once you have learnt everything, you cannot 3D print objects by clicking a big “Print” button on your computer. But it is a long process of mapping, drafting, designing, modifying, and Printing. So the process is a bit longer. But that is worth it!
Because it’s you from inception to completion, this gives you confidence, and with passing time, you will get faster and better.
Managing a 3D printer setup is also a big challenge because you need significant space for the printer. Mainly requires a different place to store lots of filaments, sometimes the smell of Printing will mess up the room, a small but annoying noise is also there.
What Mistake People Do While Buying a 3D Printer?
1. Not Being a Maker
3D Printing is for makers. If you are not one of them, you should not consider buying a 3D Printer.
Let me explain this in details,
Maker is a creator and designer of his things. A maker can be a DIY Geek, Electronics or Mechanical Engineer, Employee of the tech industry, and someone obsessed with creative projects that need custom parts.
2. Excitement to Print Existing Designs
Though it’s not a totally wrong thing during the initial days, it gets very serious with growing time.
Perhaps it sounds cool if you have thought of buying a 3D Printer, going to a Thingiverse like website, downloading a few exciting STL (design files), and start printing. But in the long run, it ends in boredom.
You will lack excitement after printing existing designs for straight few days.
Think if you are not ready with your project ideas to print. Otherwise, everything will be chaos sooner.
3. Not Being Wise with the Small Projects or Temporary Needs
Many people plan to print things for their home. But such people, after a particular time, eventually get tired of 3D Printing.
Also, for the people who want to print a few models, a 3D printer isn’t a good purchase.
In such a case, instead of buying a 3D printer and learning the whole technology (which might be time consuming), I will suggest you get your requirements printed from a 3D Printing Service or buy parts from someone else that has a 3D printer. There are lots of options to choose from.
4. Lack of Passion, Dedication, and Persistency
Learning 3D Printing can take a very long time for few people. With time, they get frustrated and run away.
You must keep the faith as you go along. Many people get started with this technology with no knowledge at all, but then after few days, they make excellent designs that attract the whole community.
Why Should You Buy 3D Printer?
3D Printing opens up a plethora of possibilities!
This industry is quite big, and the world-wide market size is expected to grow by 4.52 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2021.
In contrast to other hobbies, as from the name itself is clear that 3D Printing lets you create new things so that your ideas will come into reality.
But according to the expert, people shouldn’t treat this technology as a standalone hobby. Instead, it is a tool that lets you create awesome things that an average person can’t even imagine.
Moreover, by 3D Printing, you will learn a lot, and who knows that may be one day it may offer you an excellent job opportunity.
You might be surprised by knowing the application areas of 3D Printing because they are found in every sector of life,
- Jewelry printing
That’s why I say that the possibilities are endless!
As I said earlier, honestly speaking, 3D printer is for makers, creators, DIY geeks, scientists, and engineers. If you are one of them, don’t bother buying a 3D printer because it is all worth it.
Maybe it’s going to take time, money, and lots of effort but the knowledge and capabilities you will learn will be far more valuable than the investment made initially.
If you are an employee of a tech company or involved in product development, look no further. There is no other better choice than buying a 3D printer.
If you are a hobbyist who is confident enough to get the awesome projects or jobs to print, then look no further and buy a 3D printer.
People who are currently using janky scrap parts to make complex things and need to create something impressive that is powered by their fantastic thoughts should opt-in for a 3D printer without any doubt.
Why is Outsourcing to a 3D Printing Service not a Good Idea for Few People?
As per my previous statements, people who want to print few 3D models or one-time use objects should not buy a 3D printer but go for the best 3D printing services out there.
A 3D printing service may demand $10 to $15 per printed object. But this cost is massively altered by the type and size of the things you want to print.
Note that if you are willing to outsource designing along with Printing, then the above cost may increase. Generally, people design things by themselves by using 3D printing or CAD software and then send them to these services for Printing.
However, outsourcing is not a viable option for the people involved in the rapid development of different designs.
The reason is,
After receiving your prints from a 3D printing service, if you will find any mistake in the design, then there goes another $15 and time required for receiving the corrected design to your doorsteps.
This will not happen if you will be having your printer because designing, Printing, and testing will be done faster from your end. Finally, in my opinion, you are the only person who knows what your part is supposed to do and also the best approach for printing it.
So, in short, for most passionate 3D printing enthusiasts buying an own 3D printer gives extra flexibility.
I hope that I have successfully conveyed that 3D printers are not for everyone, but if you are with passion, dedication, proper plans, and goals, it is worth buying.
Don’t expect to get returns on your initial investment right from the first day. But show some patience, and with your growing knowledge and capabilities, you will definitely make or save more money than you can ever imagine.
If you are about to buy a 3D Printer, then our following articles will help you a lot,
Thank you for reading till the end. If you have any other questions about buying a 3D Printer, then comment below. I will love to answer all of your questions.
Happy 3D Printing! 🙂