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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Questions about 3D printing 2 - FAQs

These questions are more frequently asked, so they're a good place to start. They come from Taylor on Reddit. Most of them can be pretty easy to answer with minimal research, but so I have a place to point people to in the future here we go:
  • What kind of printer(s) do you have?
Makerbot Replicator. Original, not the 2. Dual head.
  • What do you use the printer for?
Anything I want. That's kind of the point. Mostly toys and games. Occasionally something useful. I invent and try making things that have never been done. Also, new parts for the Replicator.
  • Are you interested in using your printer for commerce?
Sure, in fact I have an etsy store that keeps me stocked in filament. If all goes well I will explore other options early next year.

Problem is having a 3D printer is not enough to run a business. It can help and coupled with sites like eBay or Etsy it can open up the opportunity to someone who otherwise wouldn't be able to. But it takes more than having a manufacturing robot in your garage. For more about that, here's some reading:
  • How much time does it take you to design an object?
Depends a lot on the object. It can take from an hour to upwards to 16 or 24 hours total or more. It's not easy to find the time sometimes with work and family, so as my aspirations have gone up my output has diminished. But occasionally a project finishes and I can produce more awesome.
  • How long does it take to print?
Again, depends greatly on the object. I've had prints that took as little as 30 minutes to as long as 17 hours. The difference there is I can just let the instrument run instead of having to nurse it so it's not as hard to find the time, assuming everything goes right. Unfortunately right now the most affordable sort of 3D printers are not the most reliable so you end up spending a lot of time not printing because you're waiting on the time to fix this or adjust that.

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