FIGURE F3: An extruder is depositing melted plastic one layer at a time to build a bottle (infographic HoneyPoint3D™)
Luckily for us, between 2009 and 2017, 3D printing received a tremendous amount of media attention, and
the general public made huge leaps in awareness of the technology. 3D printing was a paradigm shift from
the traditional understanding of 2D printing based on paper-and-ink printers to the 3D printers that now
affect everyday life. We will go into more details about 3D printers and 3D models later in this book.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS AS YOU START YOUR JOURNEY
Managing a 3D printer is more difficult than it should be. The technology is still relatively young, and the
machines are not as plug-and-play as most home appliances, like a microwave oven. Creating a 3D file in
order to 3D print something requires practice and skill. Expect to go through a learning curve where good
old trial-and-error will give you lots of valuable experience and, eventually, success! You will learn the tricks
of the trade as you go. Here are some common experiences you should expect:
• 3D PRINTS FAIL
A lot. Especially when you are first learning to use your 3D printer. Did you set the wrong temperature? Did
the 3D file have errors in it? Was the print bed not level? You’ll be asking yourself these questions and more
as you experiment.
• 3D PRINTS TAKE A LONG TIME
Want to print a phone case? No problem! But the print will likely take 6+ hours.
• 3D PRINTERS NEED ONGOING MAINTENANCE
Motor belts pop off. The hot end gets jammed. Stuff happens and, in most cases, it will be you fixing it.
• SOMETIMES 3D PRINTS NEED PRE/POSTPROCESSING
Some 3D model files you find on the Internet can’t be printed as-is and will need to be fixed. You will learn
more about how to fix them in future chapters. 3D printed objects will need work to get the smooth surface
you may desire. You will find that sandpaper does wonders with those rough edges on a newly hatched 3D
print. (Hint: Grit 100 to 600, Medium, fine, and extra-fine)
DON’T WORRY! THIS IS WHY WE UPDATED THIS BOOK!
We know 3D printing isn’t just a technology; it’s an ecosystem of software, hardware, education, commu-
nities, and materials. Implementing 3D printing into your life takes a three-pronged approach: education,
CAD file generation, and the physical aspect of 3D printing. The rewards of learning how to 3D print are
well worth the learning curve, and you’ll be glad you made the effort. Reading this book will save you time,
money, headaches, and heartaches and will lessen the number of “valuable lessons” you have to go through
on your own. We made plenty of mistakes so you won’t have to!
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