DSC09482I have figured it out! -- Why I am so hung on 3D printing.

I thought it was the actual printing. That is only part of it and was a huge part when I started a couple of years ago. The fascination of the process and how the machines operate is what got me interested. Watching a FDM filament printer running under CNC control was mesmerizing. It’s still that way today, but not like when I first started.

I have owned six different printers and still have five of them today. One of them is a DLP, resin and UV light. My first delta style printer I gave away when I upgraded to a slightly larger Delta of the same make and style. The printers are simply a tool. They create but are not themselves creative.

I realize today that printing is not what keeps me going. Once mastering the machine operation process and understanding several dozen variables and how they interact, printing is quite boring. Load a file, check parameters and material, push start and I am finished for one to twenty hours while the printer does its thing. No fun there.

What I really get excited about is the CAD drawing and the total control of creativity the computer drawing provides. The CAD is also just another tool. The 3D printer gives me the ability (the POWER) to produce a tangible item that I know I can make with the CAD drawing I have created on the computer screen.

It’s not the (brand) name of the CAD program that’s important. Like the 3D printers, some are easier to use or have more features than others. What works for one person may be a problem for someone else. The CAD doesn’t create anything. It is just a tool. It’s all about the person using it and their skills with the tool.

I had to learn the limitations of the printing system and design my creations within those limits. That is the same for any creative or artistic process. It’s that knowledge of the tools that separates the pros from the rookies.

If I couldn’t do the design thinking and the CAD work, I would have lost interest in the whole 3D printing operation. For me there was a period of fun learning to operate the printers (the tool) , but there is no creative outlet in just printing someone else’s CAD designs. Caring for and running the printer(s) is just a job, not an artistic expression. The art is in the design work. The fun for me is creating something original from just a conceptual idea.

The 3D printer is a tool that turns ideas into a tangible reality.