Updated September 2019

3D Printing The Smart Way

The place to learn about 3D printing… Start here to build your 3D printing knowledge base.

Greetings to all who are returning or might be visiting for the first time. The title of this post may be slightly misleading as I cannot say I have completed 3D printing with particular brilliance, rather, I have just enough resources and enough energy to keep trying. In any event I want to share my experience in 3D printing with friends, enthusiasts, and super freaks like me.

First off, I have to make this proclamation. In our day and age we are only limited by our imagination. The rest is pure gumption and creativity. That being said, I have to give a big shout out to Paul Nibby. Paul came to me in the in the fall of 2012 with a totally cool service truck project he started and ran out of time to finish. I hand crafted a service bed based off what he started and it was nice looking but not nice enough. In the mean time I read Makers by Chris Anderson that discussed at length 3D printing. And the adventure began.

What Is 3D Printing?

To truly understand what 3D is, watch this video to give an idea of what the power of this process holds. FYI – it is a Shapeways produced video. I receive no compensation for using highlighting or using them.

My #1 Hack
[Secret] To Make 3D Printing Easier

Per the book Makers I downloaded SketchUp free to begin 3D drawing. I quickly discovered I did not want to invest time learning so I logged onto ShapeWays.com. There, people like me can find a variety of resources including engineers and artists looking for work. Or, a project can be posted on a message board and artists can decide if they want to work on it and will contact the owner of the idea. I both posted projects and have actively engaged artists asking directly if they want to complete a project for me.

The search for a good engineer can be tricky as each artist has their “thing” they do well at and enjoy doing. So far I have had pretty good luck hiring three different artists to work for me. The only hiccup would be timeliness. Some projects are turned out quickly and others…not so much. This varies on complexity of course and true some of these people are not full time. Some are supplementing income or having fun helping others. Seems like the average charge is $20-$30 per hour.

My #1 Secret To Getting Great Results Every Time

Custom 3D Printed Service Bed

The first 3D printed part Rockin H made

I ask for a ball park estimate so I am not surprised and all but one were spot on. The image shows a digital rendering of  the first service bed I had drawn up modeled after the real bed for Haynes Harvesting. Once edits were completed I have $135 in drawing fees. Getting accurate measurements is important to avoid additional costs for things like “not measuring fender wells accurately”. Ooops.

Below is an image of what I do now. If I have a great hand drawing I’ll submit that but I found it beneficial to label a real image to give the artist a visual reference.  Especially where I am recreating an item. I have done with all but one drawing so far. If you have MS Publisher it is a breeze. This bed in the pic cost $65 to have drawn. Some parts were redundant from the first bed and there were no edits. A big bonus for me.Haynes ST

So is 3D printing for you? Stay tuned for more information about my experience. In the next entry I will share more of my experience with this very exciting process. There was quite a learning curve involved so do subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest 1.64 scale tutorials and help guides. Please ask questions in the comment box.

Jump ahead to 3D Printing the Smart Way ~ Parte dos

Thanks so much, see you next time.

Eric