How to get started with 3D Printing

Embarking on your 3D printing adventure

One question I frequently encounter is "How do I get started with 3D Printing?" It's an excellent query, given the myriad aspects involved in the process. As an experienced hobbyist who consistently strives to produce high-quality prints for sale, I believe I'm well-positioned to guide you through the fascinating world of 3D printing.

However, it's important to note that while I discuss certain safety concerns and protective measures associated with both methods, I am not certified to provide professional safety advice on these subjects.

Will this affect your 3D printing business?

That's the beauty of it - not at all! Let's address the elephant in the room:

3D printing isn't for everyone

Indeed, 3D printing is a standalone hobby that comes with its own learning curve and specific requirements, such as a climate-controlled space that's adequately non-humid for filament printing or sufficiently ventilated for resin printing. I personally conduct all my printing in a dedicated indoor room in my home.

Exploring different types of printing

There are two primary types of printing: Filament and Resin. In simple terms, filament printing starts from the bottom and builds up, while resin printing does the opposite. Filament is easier to get into and produces more durable and practical prints. However, for higher details such as miniatures, resin printing stands out.

Depending on your requirements and investment capabilities, you may prefer one type over the other. So, let's dig a little deeper into both methods and their unique offerings.

Filament printing

Filament printing, also known as FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), is one of the most common types of 3D printing. It works by heating a plastic filament to a high temperature and then extruding it layer by layer to create a 3D object. Filament printers are generally cheaper and easier to use than resin printers, which makes them a great option for beginners. They are also capable of printing larger objects and are more suitable for functional parts due to the strength of the prints.

Resin printing

Resin printing, also known as SLA (Stereolithography) or DLP (Digital Light Processing), uses a liquid resin that hardens when exposed to a light source. This technique allows for a higher level of detail and smoother finish than filament printing, which makes it the preferred choice for miniatures and models where fine details matter. However, resin printing can be messier and requires more post-processing work. The resin used in these printers can also be toxic, so proper safety measures need to be taken when handling it.

Choosing the right printer

Choosing the right printer for you will largely depend on your budget, your needs, and how much time and effort you're willing to put into learning and maintaining your printer. If you're just starting out, a filament printer could be a good choice because they are generally cheaper and need less strict environmental needs than resin. On the other hand, if you're primarily interested in creating detailed miniatures or models, a resin printer might be worth the extra investment.

Considerations before starting

Before you start your 3D printing journey, there are some considerations to keep in mind. You'll need a dedicated space for your printer that is well-ventilated, especially if you're using a resin printer. You'll also need to invest time in learning how to use your printer and the software that comes with it. Lastly, always make sure to follow safety guidelines when operating your printer, especially when handling materials like resin.

Concluding thoughts

In essence, 3D printing isn't for everyone - it's a hobby in itself. Don't dive in expecting to print just a few minis for your games. Understand what you're signing up for before proceeding and choose what you want the most.

Stay tuned for subsequent posts detailing both FDM and Resin printing methods. Hopefully, this has given you a good overview of how to get started.

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