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3D Printing Side Hustle

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DURABLEOILCOM

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Anyone here experienced with 3D Printers? What are the best items to produce? Which brands of printers are the most trusted/durable/premium-quality? What Software is needed and how much do you need to get started right away? Any Advice will be Appreciated!
 

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ryanbleau

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Anyone here experienced with 3D Printers? What are the best items to produce? Which brands of printers are the most trusted/durable/premium-quality? What Software is needed and how much do you need to get started right away? Any Advice will be Appreciated!
I run a Tronxy xy-2pro. Its a beginner machine but it has some neat features. I had a couple others, prusa is a good name brand printer with plenty of support. I am mostly using my cheap printer to build my more expensive equipment. I'm starting a small sign shop and building my CNC machinery first out 3d printed parts, then cutting my new machine parts out of aluminum with my first generation CNC table. If you are looking into full time 3D printing, there is a guy on youtube that makes custom nerf gun mods and has turned it into a major business running around 36 prusa printers. as far as software, there are many free options like fusion360, slicers are free like cura. Hit the google search and you will find a ton of info. Get good at 3d modeling and you can start a prototyping business.
 

fridge

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I run a Tronxy xy-2pro. Its a beginner machine but it has some neat features. I had a couple others, prusa is a good name brand printer with plenty of support. I am mostly using my cheap printer to build my more expensive equipment. I'm starting a small sign shop and building my CNC machinery first out 3d printed parts, then cutting my new machine parts out of aluminum with my first generation CNC table. If you are looking into full time 3D printing, there is a guy on youtube that makes custom nerf gun mods and has turned it into a major business running around 36 prusa printers. as far as software, there are many free options like fusion360, slicers are free like cura. Hit the google search and you will find a ton of info. Get good at 3d modeling and you can start a prototyping business.
That's really cool, do most people who get in to 3d printing tend to start with a cheaper machine like the xy-2pro? I know the glow forge is pretty popular but the cost is really high..
 

mdot

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That's really cool, do most people who get in to 3d printing tend to start with a cheaper machine like the xy-2pro?
Anecdote: My friend bought a $300 Ender 3, and has been tinkering and adjusting it for a few months now. My work bought a $1000 Prusa i3 MK3S (assembled) and within a day was pumping out productive prints. That said, my work also bought a $300 Elegoo Mars Resin printer and it's been incredible, apart from the small build size.

My personal 3D printer is a ~$300 Monoprice Select Mini which I love for just playing around, but there's no question if I was doing anything serious with it I would immediately upgrade.
 

AceVentures

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I bought a Creality CR10s a few years ago and can share my experience.

Imo the most important variable to consider when buying a printer is print size. The rest can be adjusted. You can change the filament extruder, you can change the runoff sensor, you can change the motors for the x-y and z levels, you can add vibration dampeners to the corners, etc.

The best way to learn? Buy a cheap adjustable printer with a big community and start tinkering. I didn't know shit until I bought one - and it took me quite a while to get consistent high quality prints.

Unless you buy plug n play $3000 type models, you are likely going to encounter what most 3d printers struggle with - constant adjustments. The bed temperature, the extruder temp, the filament type, and all the print settings on Cura are adjustable and have an effect on the print quality.
 

BrianLateStart

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Anyone here experienced with 3D Printers? What are the best items to produce?
I've been using 3D printer since the late '80s. Back then we called them rapid prototype machines. Even though they've gotten smaller and more affordable, I don't find them to be a fastlane business.

You asked "What are the best items to produce?" That's what you need to find out first. Like the guy mentioned by ryanbleau that makes nerf gun parts, you need to find that part first. That guy's 3D printers are just a tool to manufacture the parts. Modified nerf gun parts are his fastlane business, not 3D printing. Once you come up with the part, you may not even want it 3D printed. Maybe making flexible silicon molds is the better manufacturing method. 3D printing is one of many manufacturing processes.

3D printing can be a fun and educational hobby. There's nothing wrong with doing it just to learn and experiment. It can also be a distraction from a real fastlane business.
 

WestCoast

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We just bought some for our work. Going to attempt to make the parts that we've been buying from China (through a middleman) for years.

Will it work? We will see.
But, we have been running tests for the last month or so, and it's looking very promising.
 

ryanbleau

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One of the best functions of a 3d printer is for creating a solution for a problem. Need a specialty tool, design it and print it. Need a part for a project but shipping takes a couple days, print it. The other day my toilet was rocking at home, instead of running to the store for wedges to balance it, I printed out a half dozen in 20 minutes. It's merely a tool, and yes, the more expensive models are easier to use, but the cheap models give you experience as to how they function and how to fix them. If all you ever used was a plug and play model, downtime could be a lot longer when something goes wrong. Take a look on youtube. There are plenty of people building 3d printers from scratch, hell i'm sitting on enough parts to build one from scratch. But as mentioned earlier Prusa is a fine machine that everyone seems to copy. The only trap to having a tool like a 3d printer is putting your self in a mental box as to how it helps your business. See it as part of the solution, not the entire solution. Companies that do cast parts use them to build sacrificial blanks for metal parts. The dental industry use them to create models from molds for false teeth. A buddy of mine makes grips for hand guns first out of plastic to get the right feel before production.
 

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