3D Printing Beginner Series

by Jason King on May 8, 2014

As the name suggests this section of the website contains a series of blog posts for 3D printing beginners. In this section I do the following and write about every step along the way:

  • Purchase MakerBot Replicator 2
  • Unbox it and assemble it
  • Run though the setup process
  • Create my first objects using it
  • Document any problems or issues
  • Seek out solutions and best practices
  • Carry out my own maintenance
  • Upgrade some of the printer parts
  • Learn, tweak, lean more, tweak more and repeat

I report everything I learn about my experience (good or bad) back to you in this section so you can learn from my mistakes. Your feedback is vital, so please Tell Me exactly what YOU would like to see here and I’ll do my best to incorporate it. Anyway, here we go, enjoy…

[Post 1] Why I Just Ordered a New MakerBot Replicator 2

[Post 2] First Impressions: My MakerBot Replicator 2 Has Arrived

[Post 3] Warps and Slips: Blue Painter Tape Saves the Day

[Post 4] MakerBot Out of Action: Don’t Make the Same Mistake I Did

[Post 5] Elephants, Supports, Rafts, Errors and MakerBot Apologies

[Post 6] Turtles, Gear Bearings, Copper Plating and Heating Errors

[Post 7] Thermocoupler, Cooked Nozzle, Copper Finish, YouTube

[Post 8] Why I Fitted a Mini Wireless Camera to My MakerBot

[Post 9] What I Think of colorFabbs Wood and Bronze Filaments

[Post 10] The Largest and Strangest Thing I’ve Ever 3D Printed

[Post 11] Tyrannosaurus Rex Skulls and What’s Your Poison?

[Post 12] Multi Color Prints, Fine Tuning, colorFabb and FreeCAD

[Post 13] Octopus iPad Stand, 123D Design and Orange Screamers

[Post 14] MakerBot Upgrades, Dry Brushing and Print the Legend

[Post 15] How to Fix the Biggest Design Flaw of Many 3D Printers

[Post 16] 3D Printed Pumpkins, Spool Holders and NinjaFlex

[Post 17] NinjaFlex iPhone Cases, Snowflakes, Skulls and Valves

[Post 18] The True Cost of Running a Desktop 3D Printer

[Post 19] 3D Printed Brains, Hairspray and Lithophanes

[Post 20] Penrose Triangle – How to 3D Print The Impossible

[Post 21] How I 3D Printed Another Amazing Illusion

[Post 22] Trilobite Fossils, Butterflies and NASA Space Wrenches

[Post 23] How I Made This Amazing PLA Spring Powered Car

[Post 24] WARNING – How Safe is Your Desktop 3D Printer?

[Post 25] 3D Printed Wheels and NinjaFlex Tyres on 4WD RC Car

[Post 26] OpenSCAD: Awesome 3D Modelling Software for FREE

[Post 27] The Smallest Thing I Ever Designed is Now on Thingiverse

[Post 28] Project3DPrint – How I 3D Printed This Amazing Watch

[Post 29] Bespoke 3D Printed RC Car Tyres Designed in OpenSCAD

[Post 30] How I Made This Amazing Bespoke Gold Jewellery

[Post 31] Interactive 3D Printing Infographic from RS Components

[Post 32] How to Start 3D Printing with 10 Dollars and No Printer

[Post 33] How to Design Objects for 3D Printing

[Post 34] FREE WordPress Plugin – STL Viewer

[Post 35] Top Twelve 3D Prints for Christmas

[Post 36] Introduction to 3D Modeling with OpenSCAD

[Post 37] How to 3D Print Using Flexible Filaments Like NinjaFlex

[Post 38] How I Made These Customised Fidget Hand Spinners

[Post 39] What is 3D Printing and How Does it Work?

[Post 40] ABS vs PLA – How to Choose the Right Filament

[Post 41] The Lazy Way to Make Your 3D Prints Look Great

[Post 42] The Quickest and Easiest Way to 3D Print Photos

[Post 43] Why is Customer Support for 3D Printers so Poor?

Check Out My Latest 3D Printing Projects…

[NEW] My OpenRC Formula 1 Car Project – So Ambitious it Has it’s Own Page!

[NEW] Designing and Building a 3D Printable Radio Controlled Land Yacht!

Thanks, Jason

(Visited 6,895 times, 1 visits today)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Powell September 30, 2014 at 5:50 pm

You’ve put up a great deal of information gathered in a way with which I am quite familiar, trial and error.
In all you posts you go into the details of learning and more or less fighting with the technology, your printer, and discovering the seeming lack of caring on the part of the supplier.
I have taken a different approach and bought Solid Works which is NOT a free software package and to date have had only one item printed and the cost tells me I can’t afford to make my product on an outsource basis.
I am researching printers and their various features and functions and have found plenty of suppliers who don’t seem to have a clue about printing supply costs relating to quantity on a reel or weight or either and offer little assistance.
The one thing you don’t mention is how much does it cost you to run your printer and by this I mean electricity used per hour.
It is impossible for me as a budding business owner to put a cost on my item if the makers can’t tell me how much power it uses. I have a kilowatt hour meter to test it but don’t have anything to test it on and I refuse to take anything on faith from these folks since they’ve not been overly helpful on all other questions I’ve asked to date.
I look forward to any advice you may have.
I am in Canada.


Jason King September 30, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Hi John,

Thanks for your comment. Yes, most things with 3D printing seem to be trial and error but that’s part of the ‘fun’. I agree that it’s difficult to quantify how much things cost to make with a 3D printer, but it is the most common question I’m asked.

For example you could go as far as to say that the first few things I ever printed cost me a fortune, if you divide the total printer and equipment costs by the number of things I’d made at that point.

I’ve never worked out or tried to find out how much the electricity costs are, because I’ve figure that it’s negligible compared the other resources required, time currently being the biggest resource used in 3D printing.

But I should, so maybe I’ll write a blog post soon about the true running costs of a 3D printer. I’ve not yet seen such information published and I think people will certainly find it interesting.

I’ve also been considering creating a cost calculator for the website, which given an STL (CAD file) and some info about the infill density and material to be used it will estimate the cost to make such an item.

Let me know what you think and thanks again for the comment.



Leave a Comment