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Gadgets: My Problem, in 3D ...


So I have been thinking to myself lately, “Gee, I think we need a 3D printer around this joint.”

Window Shopping 

I suppose it is possible that I am just the sort of geek that is prone to gadget lust. Ok, maybe it is a little more than “possible.” Or maybe it is just the fact that this whole 3D printing craze that is sweeping the Maker world is right up the CAD alley. Whatever the rationale is, I’ve been drooling over the notion for weeks.

The straw that broke the Poke Ball wide open was when a friend emailed me that Monoprice was now selling 3D Printing ABS filament. I mean, come on. I have LOVED buying my tech accoutrements from that joint, for years! Now they are selling the stuff that you make stuff with? Oh yeah, this is a good sign. Before you know it, I’m pricing 3D printers. Big one. Little ones. Semi-cheap ones. Really not cheap ones. It was all I could think about for a couple of days.

Being Spec-less 

One day, while mentally purchasing my 78th 3D printer, I began to consider whether or not this particular printer would be able to accommodate the size of objects I wanted to create. Suddenly, I realized I was missing an important part of this plan. I was fairly sure which printer I wanted. I knew where I was going to get it. I knew where I was going to put it. I even knew where I was going to get my supplies. The only thing that was missing? I had no freaking idea what I would do with it.

The devil is in the details, right?

What on earth would I do with a 3D printer? I guess I could print that one hex bolt post I was never able to order for a little whatsit I have around the dojo. Ok, so that is one thing. But am I going to need like a million of those? No. Am I supposed to spend my days printing fashionable high heels, model airplanes, and counterfeit Lego blocks? I mean seriously, how many pairs of high heels can one man need? Then I thought that I could use it to make my dream of an epically large Battlestar Galactica model come to life. But how many copyright infringement do I really have left in me? I’m not a young fellow anymore, you know.

Of course, having said all that, I think that 3D printers can be awesome tools for the right people. I am just not sure if I am the right person.

Back to the Window 

So here I am, at an impasse. I would like to have a 3D printer, but I just can’t justify it. Oh sure I could print, I don’t know, a Yoda-shaped pencil holder or NCC-1701 drink coasters to fund my retirement. Still, those don’t really seem like good reasons. In fact, the more that I think about it, a 3D printer just sounds like the sort of thing that I would wind up getting into trouble with.

Sort of like that time I spent my summer trying to make napalm in a friend’s kitchen before the fifth grade …

- KFD -

Image credit: Creative Tools

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Reader Comments (3)

Same dilemma here. I'd love to have one. I think it would be 'neat' to show clients our/their designs and maybe Fed-ex them a trinket or two for posterity. But then again, how practical is it? We do large, industrial material handling projects (mostly) and they can get a good idea of the design with a 3D animation or 3Ddwf.
Often times with potentially expensive wood working tools, I'll buy the cheapest thing I can just to learn about it and figure out what I want and don't want in 'the real thing' if I were to get it. Similarly, I might spend $1500 on a cheap 3D printer to see if I could use it and see what features it lacks and take it from there.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLyle Hardin


You know what might be neat? If you were to create little desktop replicas of your large-scale machinery to give out to clients as discussion pieces. I'd be down for that!

- KFD -

September 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterKung Fu Drafter

I was all set to 3dprint site plans! thanks for realling me back to reality.

February 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoe-Bouza

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