3D PRINTER GUIDE – SHOULD I BUY ONE?

By November 10, 2015Stuff and Things

Thinking of buying a Robox, or another 3D printer, but not sure if you really need one? Then read our guide to help you make your decision.

Here at Robox we are the first to acknowledge that 3D printing is not for everyone, and unlike many other manufacturers of this exciting new technology, we’ll also be the first to dissuade you from buying our printer if we don’t think it’s for you.

A year ago we may have said differently, but a year on from the launch of the Robox 3D printer and we’re a little wiser about our customer base and who will and won’t benefit from owning a 3D printer right now.

Our conclusion is that while 3D printing IS making its way gradually towards the masses it’s still a long way off – and while the Robox printer is closer to being suitable for mainstream consumers than any other on the market we’ve still some way to go.

Don’t actually know what 3D printing is?

Then buying a 3D printer definitely isn’t for you. Don’t buy a 3D printer because it’s the latest must-have gadget and you want to see what the hype is all about, because hype soon wears off and you’ll be stuck with a purchase you never really wanted to make.

ColorFabb_XT_tinkerplay_dino_front-copyAre you a dinosaur when it comes to technology?

Do you still own an old Nokia 3210 mobile phone, and dismiss the latest smart phones as a fad? Do you feel the kitchen calendar is a more reliable way of tracking the family’s movements than the home computer? And do you long for the days when watching television meant tuning into four simple channels and to record the latest episode of Corrie you simply popped a video cassette into the VCR? In that case, we’d suggest moving forwards with some of the other technology in your house before investing your hard earned cash into one of the newest technologies currently on the market.

If your computer crashes are you more likely to opt for ‘impact technology’ (beating the cr*p out of it), phone your dad in a panic (because you literally have no idea what you are doing), or take it back to the shop (because it’s a pile of cr*p obviously)?

If you fit any of these descriptions DO NOT buy a 3D printer. We want our purchasers to be lovers of technology, and not go into a meltdown at the slightest hiccup. Remember, 3D printing is a NEW technology, every single machine on the market fails at printing sometimes and finding a fix can be part of the enjoyment. If your computer crashes and you a) try to sort it out yourself by reading the instructions or b) phone customer service for help, you might just be ready to buy some new tech.

When you have some spare time on your hands are you more likely to gravitate towards the pub with your mates, the arts and crafts cupboard with your kids or the sofa with your partner?

3D printing is perfect for anyone who loves to use their hands, and who gets pleasure out of model making, designing, painting, drawing, sculpting and so on. If you’re the sort of person who loves nothing more than welding together bits of scrap or sifting through the recycling bin for plastic bottles and cardboard boxes for the kid’s latest homework project, 3D printing is likely to be right up your street. What’s more, the children will probably understand and want to use the tech quicker than you!

Are you familiar with the terms ‘filament’, ‘support material’, ‘raft’ and ‘guide hole’?

Think a ‘raft’ is something you float in and a guide hole is where Girl Scouts hide? Then perhaps you’re not quite ready to enter the world of 3D printing. However, if you’re genuinely interested in the technology, and you’re not willing to let a few confusing words put you off, you’ll learn fast if you read the instructions which come with your unit. You might also benefit from reading a handy glossary such as the CEL glossary of terms or http://3dprintingindustry.com/3d-printing-basics-free-beginners-guide/glossary/

Exploded-Assembly_overlay-for-websiteDo you worry you’ll have no idea what to print?

Well, this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy a 3D printer.   Look around your home right now, if, in the next 10 minutes you can identify more than 10 things you think you could print, you might just be the perfect 3D printer owner. And if you’re still at a loss (what about those door handles, coat hooks, cup holders, pen pots, cookie cutters?) why don’t you try looking at an online repository such as www.MyMiniFactory.com which has tried and tested objects suitable for printing and free to download! Or visit our own Printables page.

If you’ve read through the above, and you’re sure you still want a 3D printer for your home, here’s our final tip:

DO YOUR RESEARCH –

£999 is a lot of money right? It’s not an impulse buy, it’s a considered purchase, so don’t buy any 3D printer on a whim. Do your homework, work out what you want, read guides such as https://www.3dhubs.com/trends which compares over 20,000 printers over 150 countries each month (Robox comes 6th this month in case you’re wondering).

And then if you’re still not sure, or have any questions about the Robox 3D printer in particular, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

About Emma Elsworthy

CEL Business development director. All things business and media, it's all about the money. Personal motto: fat but fit. Lover of tea, cake, wine and exercise in equal measures.

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