Introduction

I purchased my first 3D printer in Summer 2017 and have been tinkering and tweaking since to ensure I really understand the working of the machine. I am a firm believer in developing for the future and want to encourage others to do so. With 3D printing capability becoming cheaper and more readily available its getting easier to design, develop and build at home. It’s time for us to push forward into the future.

Thanks to the power of open source, more and more products are appearing online that are free to use and often rival that of paid services. From 3D CAD/CAM and modelling to printer slicing software, there is very little that’s not available nowadays to get you developing products. A lot of services are available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android and cloud based services which means you shouldn’t need to splash out on the latest tech to get started.

If you are not confident creating your own models, there are websites available that provide thousands of free ready to print files created by other users. You will be able to find almost anything from statues to household items iterated to make them easily printable. Two very popular websites that provides this service are Thingiverse and My Mini Factory. These sites allow you to set up an account where you can save models to print, get some ideas of things to make, remix existing designs to suit your needs and ultimately upload your own files to give back to the community. Visit my Thingiverse Page to get an idea of what you can do with it.

My Mini Factory holds regular Design Challenges which anyone with an account and a 3D printer can enter, one of them in particular highlights one of my favourite benefits of having a printer at home, designing and printing spare parts. An excellent way to start designing is replicating replacement parts for broken items around the house. Fix it, don’t throw it.

 

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