In the current episode of Beyond BEST podcast, I had amazing times with Krys, who started with 3D printers over 3 years ago. He had even built his own one.
3D printing allows you to design and produce(print) your own idea. There are over 2 types, flavors of printers.
With Krys, we only talked about the SLA(Stereo lithography) and FDM(Fused deposition modeling).
I am an engineer, but very specialized in the software technologies and I learned in this interview, how to start with this technology and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using it!
So what are the benefits of using this technology?
Benefits of using 3D printers
During the interview we spoke about why would someone use the services of a 3D printer. One benefit is the fact it might reduce your cost, compare to requesting from a manufacturer to produce for you a custom part.
Imagine that some small part or bigger broke in your house. You might go to the manufacturer and ask for a replacement. If it’s something wide spread you are in luck, however, if you need something exotic that is out of the production line, you might end up paying “arm and a leg” for it.
In another article, I had described the product lifecycle lessons from Headspace. And as a product manager, you should know when your product reached maturity stage and move on to more profitability market areas.
The other benefit of having a 3D printer is your safe time and transport costs. We live in logistic nightmare where most of the stuffs we purchase are produced in a country located thousands of kilometers away. Those stuffs need to be transported somehow, and this is bad for the environment. If you 3D printer what you need, this could reduce the amount of flights and ships which need to travel daily. Of course, this is more of a dream than a reality at the moment.
The major disadvantages of using 3D printers is the lack of a unified standard. You might purchase a printer from one vendor, which might not be compatible with another vendor. This might be disadvantage if you get used to a specific vendor locked 3D printer application. The good side is there is an unified format you can use instead of the vendor specific, which will prevent this specific lock to manufacturer technology.
The other issue is that each type of 3D printers is only suitable for particular tasks. This also means that the source material you will feed the 3D printer to use during your manufacturing process will limit the items you can produce.
Suddenly, something that seems to be very convenient in theory become costly or at least limiting in practice.
The good news is there are people with 3D printers who could produce the parts for you, so you don’t need to own every 3D printer, just in case.
How to get started with 3D printers?
Here are some useful links Krys shared for anyone who would like to start with 3DPrinting.
- The first one is the 3D printing Reddit for guide, support and socializing: https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/
- Also, you don’t need to have a 3D printer to print stuffs, you could take a look here printing services https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprintmything/new/
- Krys’s favorite brand: https://www.anycubic.com/?sscid=c1k4_oxg5u&
- Source for print files and 3Dprinting projects https://www.thingiverse.com
- Another source and community for 3D files https://grabcad.com
- Beginner CAD software free https://www.tinkercad.com
3D printing and 3D printers are still an exotic technology, however it’s getting more mature year over year.
I hope in the future such technology will help us reduce the logistic footprint and give more freedom to the creative author to express their ideas and produce amazing new concepts. Or at least to give us a way to repair or replace old parts without paying a hefty sum.
What do you think about 3D Printers?
Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager