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Written on 3D Printing

3D Printing

Made a bit of an 'impulse' buy a couple of weeks ago. I bought a 3D Printer. A Creality Ender 3 V2 to be precise. It's probably the best thing I bought in a while.

Getting something out of the printer isn't hard at all. You load the filament, the plastic that melts to create the structures, find a .stl model on Thingiverse and use Slicer Software to create a .gcode file.

The first thing to do with your 3D printer? Print parts for your own 3D printer. Watching this video fromThere is a whole community of people who create parts to upgrade and mod the printer. It's one of the reasons this printer is so popular. It has excellent price to performance ratio, an active community sharing their settings and fixes to problems.

It has a budget price but after spending some money on replacement parts and filament for printing it becomes and absolute beast of a printer. If you're a tinkerer, the sheer upgradeability of the Ender 3 is a selling point of itself. Your approaching the feature set of printers like the more expensive Prusa.

There is some pushback from the community that the budget price comes with it quirks. Cheapers parts and frustrations of parts not printing properly.

The open-sourcery vibes of 3D printing really remind me of writing open-source code. Everyone is really helpful and most project and instructions are available for free. Take Octoprint for example; you run it on a Raspberry Pi put a micro-usb cable in your printer and it allows you to send prints from your computer and allows yout to monitor the sensors. Heck, it even allows for a webcam to be plugged in to watch your print on your smartphone. That's awesome!

I've had many problems in the first week of printing. Layer shifting, under extrusion a clogged nozzle. But I think solving those problems is part of the fun. Atleast for me. And it comes with an additional benefit, it forces you to learn about the inner workings of the printers. You learn the parts, you learn what they do and how each of them influence the print quality.

It feels so empowering to hit a button and print anything you want. There are so many cool projects on Thingiverse I still want to do. There are drones, battery powered RC Cars. I'm just scratching the beginnings. I'm overwhelmed with all the tinkery projects I can do.

I know there is still a lot to learn and investigate. If you're into the nitty gritty details of 3D printing and deciding if it's for you. I'm documenting my journey on this micro-site

Danny de Vries