As a person who’s been creating things for a long time I developed a design philosophy many years ago and I’ve maintained that throughout the old days of carving things out of metal and welding them together, through machining parts and into the world of 3D printing. Below are some of the things I’ve learned that work for me.
Don’t design something you can’t create
This sounds stupid on the face of it, but unless you plan on buying or building new equipment you need to design for your current tools. I can’t tell you how many times in my younger years I’d get a blueprint from a new engineer that couldn’t be built. I’d walk him into the shop, show him all the tools and equipment and how they work. Then I’d show him something he designed, explained why it couldn’t be made by us, made sure he understood it, then asked him to redesign it so we could make it.
Design with your customer in mind
A no brainer, but I see it otherwise all the time. I’m a no frills kind of guy and I tend to design that way. And if it’s something for me that’s what I want, but maybe the client wants something fancy. Maybe this isn’t a tool or utility part, maybe it’s a medieval fantasy sword for a cosplay event. Now you’re thinking “I’m not designing that kind of silly crap”. And that’s great, I’ll be happy to take their money after they leave your place unhappy. So if you want a happy customer, not just a satisfied customer, but a “Holy shit, dude, this is fantastic!” customer, one that’s grinning from ear to ear when they write that check, then design for them, not for yourself.
Keep your customer in the loop
If you’re designing something fairly complex, design just a part to demonstrate what you have in mind and show it to the customer for their reaction. This can save you a boatload of time and prevent you from throwing out many hours of work.
Let’s leave it there for now. I’m going to touch on this again in the future however, so stay tuned.
I’m sure that most everyone by now has heard of 3D printing. And you’ve heard the pro 3D printing people say things like “You can print anything!” and the detractors say “It’s only good for making plastic cartoon heroes!”.
As always, the truth is somewhere in between. Yes, 3D printing can be used to make statues of comic book heroes (see the 14″ tall Hulk on my Welcome page), But 3D printing can also be used to make many usable and useful things. I’ve made replacement ladder feet from flexible filament, shelf brackets from cheap PLA filament, and mounts and brackets for cars from PETG and ABS and replacement knobs, dials and buttons for household electronics and appliances.
And where 3D printing isn’t appropriate for the final part, it can still play a valuable role. And that role is fast prototyping. For a small part, something that will fit in your hand, I can go from design to having a finished prototype in my hand in anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. I can test fit this part, tweak the model in the software, reprint it until I have exactly what I want. Then I can go to the CNC mill, or to someone who has one, taking the final part and the 3D file, and have it made from whatever I want. No waiting many days or even weeks and no huge expense to get your prototype ready for the machinist.
And with new filaments and processes coming out almost every month, the ability to get the final part you want off the 3D printer sitting in your workshop or office, is becoming more a reality every day.
So when someone tells you that a 3D printer is only good for making small figurines of video game characters, you can tell them differently.
I’m starting this site as a companion to my Youtube channel found at https://www.youtube.com/user/3rdpig. I’ll be adding things here that either aren’t appropriate for YouTube or where there isn’t the available space. I’ll put my blog, images, written reviews, sales for 3D printers and related items and links to files like Cura profiles. For those interested, I’ll also be adding links for the 3D printed items and custom vape tips I have for sale on eBay.
I’ll also post links to YouTube videos here as well as post links back to here from my YouTube channel.
For full disclosure, I’m an affiliate with GearBest, so any links you find back to them are affiliate links. This won’t cost you any more and it helps me get new stuff to test and review. If you’re buying 3D printers or other electronics, I highly recommend them. Chances are very good that you’re going to be buying from either a Chinese retailer or someone who’s acting as a middle man to them. GearBest has an excellent selection, reliable shipping and good customer service. Of the Chinese retailers I’ve dealt with, they’ve treated me the best both as a customer and as an affiliate.
So thanks for dropping by and please come again, I’ve got a lot planned for 2019!