The 3D printers discussed in this blog will all be printers that are consumer affordable. 3D print era makes the assumption that what constitutes an affordable 3D printer will be no more than $3000 with possibly a few exceptions. Most of the printers we will discuss and/or recommend will actually be in the hundreds of dollars. Besides versatility and reliability a 3D printer must be affordable to purchase and maintain. We will only present printers that are amongst the easiest to operate and perform routine maintenance on.
3D printers open up a world of opportunities previously only available to medium-to-large size businesses and factory’s. Imagine, you have an idea for something, it is something simple that you can “design” yourself or have someone else do it for little cost; instead of having to submit to a patent company and pay them and they then search for a manufacturer that is willing to take the risk to produce your idea, you can do it yourself. It is similar to an author self-publishing a book or an independent movie.
Apart from the initial investment, and depending on the size of the object, and literally a few dollars in printing supplies, you can test your idea whenever you like and in little time. 3D printers are also a great educational opportunity for children and will flex their creative muscle. At this time I wouldn’t recommend the 3D printers marketed directly for children as they tend to be much more expensive as the consumer is convinced into believing that the printer is highly specialized for children. The part of the printer that a child would interact with is the software itself and as long as the software is easy to use and attractive then the printer will be one that children can enjoy to use no matter who makes the printer.
One benefit of the printers that are marketed towards children is that they allow you to print with more than one color plastic at a time to make multicolor final projects like the printers found on the right side of this page. As I stated earlier, these printers come at more of a price premium. They are also useful for any 3D printing project that would benefit from a multicolor object; such as your kids making their own colorful toys or a 3D printer enabling your child to play with toys.
The applications of a 3D printer are practically limitless. When I first started thinking of objects that could be 3D printed I thought hard and drew a blank. Think instead of any plastic object that is relatively small in size, such as a toddler basketball. There are people making frames for prescription glasses or sunglasses like the one in the article here.
It’s a new day in home printing, hopefully one that can enrich your life and the lives of those around you. May a 3D printer not be a tool to bring about a loss of manufacturing jobs, as some are worrying, but liberating technology to those in need and those wanting to detach themselves from corporate and big business. Many in the United States see 3D printing as a way to ditch their dependence on Chinese goods and labor, slave labor unfortunately. When all is said and done, have fun!