A Newbie's Impression of 3D Printing

I’m fairly new to 3D Printing and got involved via our work with the folks at Afinia. We brought a printer over to the office, set it up and started using it within 45 minutes. Initially, we made models from Thingiverse that we used in videos and photoshoots. I have to admit, I moved the printer into the warehouse so that I wouldn’t gawk at it while it was working.

As I started to think about other applications, one came to mind (Duh-OH!): I have a bunch of melted, broken and missing parts for things around our home that have never been replaced. I recall searching an hour on a manufacturer’s website for a warming drawer replacement knob. About as much time looking for replacement clips to hold the glass on our lawn furniture. I gave up on the other parts, as I had no clue how to find them on-line or at the hardware store.

So, I assembled a handful of these items and gave them to a SolidWorks expert. A week and $85.00 later I had all of these replacement parts designed and printed.

So, what to make of this? These repairs would have happened had it not been for 3D Printing. Had I called the local Handyman, it probably would have cost me more than $85 to get the work done. Heck, the local Handyman should have a 3D printer in his/her toolbox.

Now, there is an increasing number of manufacturers who are making stl files available for download – a heck of a lot more cost effective for them (reduced parts inventory) and better customer service (download and print). Perhaps that is what we can look forward to.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this A Brave New World, just Coo-ool!