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Introducing My New 3D Printer!

I recently acquired my first 3D printer, which I’ve been having tons of fun learning to use and experimenting with the different things I can print with it. If you haven’t yet played around with 3D printing at all, I highly recommend it! It’s an incredibly interesting technology, and it’s only going to get better.

Off On An Adventure With The FlashForge Adventurer 3

Entering a new and unexplored world, I present to you my new printing companion: The FlashForge Adventurer 3.

The cats supervise the unboxing process.

It’s an awesome little device that prints models in three dimensions using melted plastic filament. The unit has a touch screen for easy menu navigation and its design is very simple yet elegant which gives it a nice home-look. I’ve been having so much fun with it.

Printing a model from Thingiverse.

Getting Started with 3D printing

If you’re new to 3D printing, don’t panic. It’s not as complicated as it may seem at first glance. Though there are many varieties of printers available and various ways to print out your designs, if you can follow basic directions, you can create your own stunning pieces.

So you’ve got a brand new 3D printer and aren’t sure what to do with it. Here are some creative ideas to try out.

The first thing I did was create a new online account on Thingiverse. This is a free website where users share their 3D creations for others to print. I've been using it to print things like fidget toys, ornaments, and even a tiny Dumpster! This is a great way to get started making things.

Yes, it is a Santa Bulbasaur.

Want to Get Started In 3D Model Design? Check out Tinkercad (web, free).

Tinkercad is an online tool that you can use to design and export your own 3D models. It’s free, easy to use, and you don’t need any fancy software or hardware to get started. You can also import flat vector images (SVG files, etc) and Tinkercad will create a simple 3D rendering for you.

Cat cactus stamp, brought to you by Tinkercad!

Want to try digital sculpting? Check out Nomad Sculpt (iPad)

If you’re interested in learning digital sculpting and want to give it a shot, Nomad Sculpt is a great place to start. This app makes it easy for beginners like me to create some really cool stuff using my fingers or a stylus. The interface takes a little practice to navigate but you don’t have to be an expert right out of the gate. It costs $24.99, which is way less than most CAD software out there. Head over to the App Store and check it out: Nomad Sculpt

Cat model sculpted in Nomad Sculpt.

Is 3D Printing Eco-Friendly?

As you get into 3D printing, you'll end up with a decent amount of waste plastic. With many people adopting more conscious lifestyles when it comes to plastic usage, it might feel like 3D printing is anything but environmentally friendly. Fear not! PLA, a form of plastic made from corn, is a great choice because it can be printed easily at home on many machines, and is compostable.

Not able to compost? Got lots of cool colors that you want to play with? You can also try re-melting your plastic scraps, like in this tutorial here from 3Doodler. Just make sure to dry your plastic and process it into small pieces so it melts properly.

You can also use your new 3D printer to create molds so you can recycle other materials such as paper. Check out this video from XYZAidan for an overview of how you can make anything out of recycled paper pulp.

That's a lot of plastic.

What Will I Do With My 3D Printer?

So, what am I going to do with my new printer? Well, a lot of fun things actually. I am going to use it for lots of experiments, especially with different media that I want to experiment with and try in three dimensions.

Last night, for example, I was inspired by a phone stand I found on Thingiverse, and I made an awesome little cat in Nomad Sculpt (pictured above). It is currently printing as we speak, but here are some pictures of previous prototypes.

More and more junk in the trunk...

Follow me on Instagram to see more adventures with my Adventurer! @angrygato_designs