3D Printing: "Need to have" vs. "Nice to Have" parts
It took me three days of owning my Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer to have an AH HAH moment with it. I was slightly versed with the concept of 3D printing and had a little experience operating 3D printers at TechShop prior to buying my own, but all the parts I had printed up until today were in the "nice to have" category, not in the "need to have" category. One's first "need to have" part really feels more satisfying than the rest...at least that's how I feel so far.
I spent the month of May in Silicone Valley going to Techshop and learning how to make stuff.
While at Techshop I had purchased some blue SainSmart PLA filament from Amazon so that I didn't have to pay the fairly high Techshop prices, which charges per ounce printed. I never ended up using that PLA filament at Techshop, so I saved it and broke it out today when I wanted to make my life a little more exciting than the clear default filament that came with the printer. I went through the whole process of unloading the clear filament only to discover that the Sainsmart filament spool didn't fit the spool holder that came with the printer. No problem. I immediately looked up a SainSmart filament spool holder on Thingiverse and five minutes later I was printing it. I printed it on Standard, 15% infill, 2 shells -it came out great. This spool holder didn't change my life by any means, but it allowed me what I needed to do and it was great. I couldn't be any happier with my 3D printer purchase so far.
I can totally recommend the SainSmart PLA filament by the way.
I printed the preloaded "nut and bolt" file on the SD card that comes with the Replicator using the blue SainSmart filament and it came out great. The clear filament that comes with the Makerbot, although perfectly adequate, gets boring really quickly and doesn't look (or photograph) nearly as well as colored filament.