Is Buying A 3D Printer Worth It?

The increasing notoriety of 3D printers is enough to make anyone jump on the bandwagon. A study shows that the worldwide market for 3D printing is expected to grow at a remarkable rate of 26% between the years 2022 and 2024. However, contrary to these numbers, 3D printers are not for everyone!

It serves as an excellent hobby, and even a great source of learning; but you need to have the resources, temperament, and time for it. 3D printing requires a creative mindset, with an urge of learning and investing. Is buying a 3D printer worth it all? Will you not be better off outsourcing or getting your desired parts from a shop?

A radical approach to understanding if you should be investing in a 3D printer is to know its pros and cons. This article lists down all the important factors you should consider before getting yourself that 3D printer.

4 Crucial factors to consider before investing in a 3D printer

Ratio of expenses to benefits

Most people come into the industry thinking they will get back their spent money through the daily use items they print. If you also have the same mindset, a 3D printer might not be for you.

The high of being able to print your own things masks the maintenance, time, efforts, and material cost you will come across. The filament spool, troubleshooting tools, and other expenses do not even come close to giving you a return on investment.

However, the situation is not that grim. A 3D printer can help you immensely if you own a start-up or a small business. You can make your own products or even something to go with your products. It is highly beneficial for producing small plastic items on large scale.

There can be some rare instances where you break a part of any machine, say an internal part of your washing machine. If it is an old model, chances are that it has been discontinued. The local shop might not have it in stock too. What do you do then? Of course, take help from a 3D printer. Such incidences, although rare can also help you get back your investment.

From the learning perspective, a 3D printer is an asset to have. However, it is not worth buying a 3D printer just so you could print plastic items available for $5 at stores.

Creative mindset

If you are a creative maker, there is no point in asking if buying a 3D printer is worth it. The opportunities are endless when it comes to designing and making miniature figurines, spare parts, puzzles, models, or anything. It would be a little heaven for you!

While you might enjoy downloading pre-designed stuff from the internet, it becomes a lot more fun when you know how to design using CAD. This way you can design stuff not available anywhere.

The productivity multiplies if you have a hobby or a job that can be complemented with 3D printing. This includes programming, crafting, engineering, and other such fields. The flexibility that comes with it makes it worth all the efforts and expenses for the makers and experimenters.

The steep, rugged learning curve may demotivate a person, but for creatives, it is an opportunity. The backend knowledge of how a 3D printer works helps polish the designing skills, making them better suited to printing

 

Technical aspects

3D printing requires a person to be tech-savvy. You must have above-average knowledge of designing and computer software if you want to succeed. It is not just giving the machine a design and getting a real-life model out of it. There is a lot that goes behind your perfectly sculpted figurine or part.

Even if you are not planning to design your models and go forward with those already present on the web, you will still need to learn a lot. The right printer settings and filament spools are two to name.

If you are not into learning new stuff and giving it time; 3D printing is probably not for you. There is a lot to learn, experiment, and implement. You cannot expect to get perfect results at the start.

The first few times, you will not get your desired outcome, wasting time and material. But with practice, you will be able to create almost everything. From broken supplies to another printer; there is no limit to what you can do.

Benefits of the hobby

Most people getting a 3D printer do so as their hobby. And just like any other hobby, you do not invest yourself into it with a return mindset. Hence, it is no use thinking if buying a 3D printer is worth it or not.

Do you think of the outcome before starting a gardening project, going scuba diving, or paragliding? No, because hobbies are not supposed to be thought after. Doing so will make it a chore, and what is the point of a hobby if it makes you stressed.

However, keep in mind that 3D printing is not like your regular pastimes. It requires a hefty upfront investment of time as well as money, along with the space it occupies. You will need a separate room to keep the supplies, as well as provide adequate ventilation to the system.

If you are into collecting figurines, or board games; 3D printing is an excellent means to customize your collection. If you think your hobby is a little more than printing random stuff when you feel like it, getting a 3D printer would be a good idea. From all the knowledge you gain, it is worthwhile investing in it, from a fiscal basis? Probably not that much.

Conclusion

Now that you have a clear idea of all the things, do you think buying a 3D printer is worth the money and time? It all depends on your situation and passion.

Do not indulge with unrealistic expectations of being able to start producing stuff all at once. It will take some commitment on your part before you see the results.

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