I don't need no 3D Printer?

Alright, I know 3D printers have been mentioned many times and @henryhbk does some amazing medical prints with them. And…I didn’t know I wanted a laser cutter/etcher until I did. I can’t really see needing a 3D printer. Where as the laser is a natural extension of my wood working and some acrylic. What do all of you, with 3D printers, or wanting them, do with them, or would like to do with them? In other words…Is this another tool that I just don’t know I want yet? - Rich


I originally wanted one for making custom board game pieces. In the end I wasn’t happy with how the one I had worked, so I sold it, and with the GF I don’t know that I need it… though I think between the two you should be able to (relatively) fast-prototype just about anything.


Well – I’ve been a sculptor for a long time, and within the last few years started trying my hand at digital sculpting in ZBrush:


…and with that, I once again want a 3D printer…


Maybe not. I had one for a couple of years, got another (so they wouldn’t be lonely :slightly_smiling_face:) but only use them for eNable prosthetic hands. I make something personally useful about once a year. I donated them to my Makerspace and let them take up room there. If I’m making a hand I do it there now.

Donated the 3D scanner too. Just didn’t use them. And they are finicky.

The lasers on the other hand get used all the time. While there are limits to what a normal (e.g. not @henryhbk) can use a 3D printer’s plastic pieces for, the use of a laser’s output are many and within reach of almost everyone.


Man, do I get that all the time :grin:

Anyway, I do a lot more than medical stuff. Actually for woodworking they can be very helpful for printing very complex jigs (and yes, you can print things you can’t machine). You can make knobs, shims, etc. I’ve printed add ons to my X-Carve CNC (I made my own crash-e-stop-button was working, so 3D printed a custom junction box that attached to the side rail (before the integrated one on the x-controller shipped). I printed a replacement seatbelt stop for our honda after it broke, and honda wanted some ridiculous price for a custom shaped button. Printed a replacement screw cover for the 3rd brake light after a garage lost it for the same car. Printed replacement light handles for my wife’s OR lights when they cracked. A friend printed all the mechanical parts to automate his 8" reflector telescope. Another prints drones, another add ons for his music gear (custom pedals for his stomps). If you are into trains, they are so useful.


I wanted to get one once to make cups, then I learned the plastic used isn’t safe to to drink from.

Maybe someday.


Forgive me if you mentioned it before (I checked quickly but only saw you mention that you have two) but what 3D printers do you have? Are they both represented in the photos?

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I am a 3D Animator, and wanted to practice my 3D modeling. Also, I have always loved Halloween, and have been getting more into Cosplay with friends. The robot arm has 29 tiny motors that work with a push of a button! The arm is 17 separate 3D printed pieces, and cost about 30 dollars worth of plastic ABS filament.


Actually you can get FDA certified Nylon (I use it all the time), which can be used even in the OR. If you mean PLA (the usual plastic) it is itself inherently safe - we use it in cardiac stents now, and is a corn derivative. The problem is the dyes in PLA are full of icky chemicals. But again, you can get food grade PLA. The bigger problem is that it’s not super heat tolerant (i.e. it might melt/soften in the dishwasher) and you will quickly end up with weird shaped cups. People make cookie cutters all the time (and yes technically it may get bacteria in the grooves, but that’s true on regular cookie cutters with the rollover top) - dishwashers take care of this.


That’s pretty awesome. I so want to do cosplay stuff, just don’t have time. I haven’t done a lot of organic stuff (I used to do 3D animations - many years ago) recently, mostly CAD stuff which is a different art. I find Maya pretty overwhelming since I am now used to the parametric workflow of CAD rather than the direct modeling of something like Maya or 3DSMax.


I have 2 printers going on this project. My E3D BigBox dual hybrid at home and my Taz6 in the lab. The Taz is 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm (11 in x 11 in x 9.8 in). The BigBox is 300mm x 200mm x ~280mm (12" x 8" x ~12").


Yes – I got Makerbots (I wanted both to be PLA printers because of the more environmentally friendly nature of the plastic) – the Replicator 2 (because I could work on it myself, and have many times :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: and the other is the Z18 because it had the largest build volume available for PLA at the time. Been really pretty happy with both of them, although I have had to replace extruder fans, contact switches, wiring harness, and motherboard (all under warranty) over time with the Replicator 2.


Depends on your mindset…if you enjoy occasionally sticking a fork into your hand, you’ll love a 3D printer. :relaxed:

Just kidding…it’s the same as wanting to build things with a laser, so if you are of that bent, you’d like a 3D printer. They are a bit more frustrating than the lasers are going to be (I hope) because you’re squirting hot plastic out of a nozzle and hoping it lands where you want it to without warping, splitting, cracking or clogging the nozzle.

If you get a 3D printer, it’s like anything else…get a good one and you’ll have fewer issues to contend with, (insert shameless plug for the MakerGear M2 here), but it ain’t cheap. They cost about the same as the Glowie basic without filter. Quickest way to hate it is try to get a cheap one…the problems you’ll fight all along the way will make you get rid of it and never try again.

As to what you can do with it…go take a look at Thingiverse.com. There are literally thousands of free files shared there, so you don’t even have to be able to design your own stuff. Really, really cool stuff.

Learning curve is initially very high, so you have to enjoy the learning part, and get one with good documentation. Once you know what you’re doing, it’s a stone-cold blast, and you can make anything you can dream up. (And you’re not limited to half inch high.) You can print flexible filaments and make your own flip-flops, or print polycarb and replace the stupidly expensive plastic bits that hold your Mercedes together. (Grrrrr.)

I’ve got two M2 duals now…wouldn’t consider any other printer unless I needed something that had a larger build volume. They’re tanks, and completely customizable. The new ones (Rev.E) shipping now are some of the friendliest for complete beginners to 3D printing that there are. (Helpful forum full of experts too.)

Try a 3D printer. They’re amazingly cool. :sunglasses:


I literally just got back from putting a job on my 3D printer at work (dimension sst 1200es). currently I’m printing a working vertical axis wind turbine and a dry erase marker pocket protector :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
some of my favorite things I’ve made on my unit at work and the little makerbot I have at home: bicycle brake calipers with motor mounts instead of pads (recharges your phone), new shifter for my bicycle when the stock one broke, hose adapter for a pool filter pump, a small wrench I was missing from my set, phone case with bolt gauge built in, a finger splint for a little girl that broke her finger and couldn’t get one her size, a prosthetic hand (E-nable network), a new gear for my telescope, etc. I could fill a whole page.


I have not had much use for my 3D printer, but I have helped the kids with accessories for pine wood cards, printing custom boxes at holidays, as well as some custom electronics enclosures.

Just like my 3D printer, i dont really have an “use” for the Glowforge, but I am sure I’ll find something for it to do once I have it :slight_smile:


3d printers don’t do overhangs that well but this is a good example of something you can do with one but can’t (easily) do with a laser or traditional wood working tools. My new business card holder!


I asked before about advice for what 3D printer to get and I still haven’t decided for 100% sure but I believe it will be the makerbot replicator Z18. I just have to justify to myself spending the money. I haven’t really found myself excited enough to pull the trigger on a 3D printer yet but I hope that changes when I get my glowforge.


I was born into a maker family and grew up with more tools than I count. But I still haven’t bought into 3D printers.(have actually been kind of anti 3D printer) They are a fascinating technology and have come a long way but 90% of what I see printed on them could be done better with other equipment if you have the know how. It’s the other 10% that keeps me following them.
I also feel the they have opened up the maker world to a whole lot of people that otherwise could have missed out.

Most things I will cut on the laser I could do on a cnc or vinyl cutter but the laser is much faster and can get tighter corners, plus an easier work flow.
So for now I am 3D printerless.


I’m not anti-3D printer. As a matter of fact my son and I just discussed it last night. But we both agreed it’ll still be best for us to wait a couple more years until the technology is both better and cheaper.