Having owned a 3D printer for the past six months and “printing” hundreds of objects has given me some insight for first-timers who are thinking about taking the plunge with this new technology. Although I had experienced 3D printing from a distance at conferences and maker fairs, I really wasn’t sure what types of objects I wanted to print, and what I needed in order to get started. Without a degree in Industrial Design, I also hesitated to know where I would go to acquire the cool objects people are crafting away on these little machines.
If you find yourself with a natural curiosity in 3D printing and have a “crafty” nature to build and make stuff, here’s my nudge to get you over the tipping point: Take a look at these two websites to determine if any of these ready-made objects create inspiration:
These are just two (there are dozens out there) of the repositories and indexing engines that help you find hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of free objects to print. In the maker age we are now embarking upon, intellectual property is seeding its way towards creative commons licensing to better serve fellow makers with free stuff – yes… I said totally free. The excuse for buying a 3D printer no longer becomes centered how am I going to make a digital object in 3D worthy of printing, but instead asks what should I print from a seemingly endless online catalog of 3D objects? If you are interested in designing your own 3D models or tweaking an existing model to suit, there are very simple and free tools such as www.tinkercad.com to help get you started.
My printer runs all week printing all sorts of things – costuming helmets, prop detail parts, tool accessories, modelling components, sculptures, toys, kids’ games, gifts for teachers and friends, and fixing broken items around the house. All this and we’re just at the first generation of this amazing new technology!
So, if you’re interested in 3D printing, but are unsure with WHAT to print, take a look at those two links above to find interesting, unique, and useful objects that float your creative boat. I’m certain you won’t wait around on the shore for very long!