3D PrintingI purchased my first 3D printer in 2013, but quickly became disillusioned with it. Although I had some success printing models I downloaded from Thingiverse, many of the projects I attempted were beyond the capabilities of the printer.
Because I understood that some of the more complex projects I wished to undertake would require dual extruders in order to print support material (to support overhanging features), I purchased a dual-extruder printer. Unfortunately, determining the correct settings (extrusion temperature, speed, retraction, etc.) was left as an exercise for the user, and properly aligning the two extruders was a complex process. (For a good introduction to 3D Printing, refer to Wikipedia.
In late February of 2017, I attended a Portland 3D Printing Lab Meetup featuring a presentation by Ultimaker. I was so impressed that I purchased an Ultimaker 3 Extended from 3D Universe that same week. Here is my review. I have a separate review of Cura, the slicing software supplied by and recommended by Ultimaker.
3D models to be printed fall into two general categories: mechanical parts (such as gears) and freeform objects (such as statues). I have successfully printed a few freeform object that I had professionally scanned by Digital Scan 3D or downloaded from Thingiverse. However, although software is available for creating and editing freeform 3D objects, I have neither the skill nor the interest in creating my own freeform 3D objects.
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