The future of 3D printing is now. Interview with 3D makers

The future of 3D printing is now. Interview with 3D makers

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3D printing was cool a decade ago when everyone predicted that it would take over the world and that everyone would have a free printer at home. Well, that didn't happen clearly and there are numerous explanations for this. To begin with, 3D printing is still too difficult for many people to understand. There are some things people need to find out before getting started, such as where to get the necessary ideas and models, as well as supplies and, of course, 3D printing skills. So it's not that easy.

However, what has happened, and not everyone is aware of it, is that there are millions upon millions of 3D printers all over the world, and in each country, more and more people are jumping on the 3D printing trend.

3D printing is sweeping over the globe; but, because it is happening on two scales, not everyone can see it properly. To begin with, there are industrial 3D printers that are already generating spare parts and prototypes for everything from common elements spacecraft to shipping industry medicals, and we always hear about printing organs or meat. Even less visible in 3D printing is the fact that millions of makers all around the world have 3D printers.

Over 2 million 3D printers were supplied around the world in 2020 alone. And the worldwide epidemic has demonstrated that the dispersed manufacturing capacity of 3D printers, which can be found in every country, is a significant and extremely powerful production method.

In this blog, we are talking to a few fantastic people that have been 3D printing for a long time and have taken part in something special.

Simon Fiastre

3D maker from Poland who has been printing since the beginning of 2015.

Q: When it comes to 3D printing, what is your background, and how did it all start?

A: In 2001 probably, when I mentioned in class I was dreaming of a duplicating machine that would allow me to produce copies of anything. Then in 2011, I discovered FigurePrints, got a World of Warcraft figurine made for my GF at the time, and was stunned at the possibility to take a model from a game and turn it into a real object. Dug into it and was fascinated, but never thought I’d have access to the tech anytime soon. In 2014 I started looking seriously at buying a 3D printer as it became more accessible. Got my first machine in 2015, a beautiful Ultimaker 2. Not the cheapest, but I wanted something reliable to start with. I still have it in my workshop, and still use it every day to produce parts!

Q: Who are you mostly printing for?

A: Myself, as I sell physical copies of my own designs.

But also for the aerospace industry and whoever comes to me with a request.

Q: Are you making money from 3D printing?

A: I am making money from 3D printing, the biggest part of sales happens during the Christmas season, especially if you have a unique product out there. The trick is to offer something connected with what is trending.

Q: Would you like 3D printing to become one of the main sources of your income?

A: It is already and I would love it to allow me to make a worry-free living. However, the income is unpredictable and it takes time to have a decent catalog of products.

Q: What do you predict 3D printing will be used the most for?

A: I believe it will become a major key component in healthcare. Functional organs are on the way. But unfortunately, patents and other ethical restrictions will make it very difficult for it to be widely available. I think it is also a cornerstone in space exploration, especially on the Moon and Mars, to build shelters out of locally available materials.

On Earth though, I hope it will become what it is supposed to be, a tool for everyone to make useful items anywhere in the world and cut shipping time & cost. I do not see it exactly like this currently, even though I work that way myself already with production in France, Poland, and the USA.

Honestly, I am getting tired of seeing people printing benches and other useless stuff. It gives people foreign to the tech the impression it’s a geek’s toy. 3D printing is more than that 😊 Anyways, it seems that companies are slowly starting to understand the potential of makers in this field. Ford, for instance, released tons of CAD files for people to make accessories for their cars. Valve did the same with CAD files from their Steam Deck.

On Earth though, I hope it will become what it is supposed to be, a tool for everyone to make useful items anywhere in the world and cut shipping time & cost;

Q: What is your favorite 3D printer and why?

A: Amongst the 15+ printers I own, currently, my favorite is the Prusa i3 MK3S and MK3S+. Reliable workhorses, solid community, and flawless, reactive customer support. I also love my Form 2, for its reliability as it never failed me. Customer support is also very good. My Ultimaker 2, obviously, first love. Not going to lie, my custom machines also have a special place in my heart.

3D Nordic

3D Nordic is a business of Lucz Alin’s. He is a 3D maker from Finland who has been

3D printing for around 5 years. Lucz began by learning to generate 3D designs since he wanted to make his own parts rather than rely on what he found on the internet.

Q: Who are you mostly printing for?

A: First 3-to 4 years I was making any kind of part, usually for everyday people, like most of us who 3D print. And now in the last year, I started to focus more on companies, getting bigger orders or more complex parts to make.

Q: Would you like 3D printing to become one of the main sources of your income?

A: Yes, I'm just getting started with my own 3D printing, 3D design, and 3D scanning business.

Q: What are your biggest pain points when it comes to 3D printing?

A: The biggest pain I would say it's when printing with more industrial filaments, like PA-CF (mixture of polyamides and carbon fibres) and PC-CF (high-performance carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate) they are quite sensitive to air drafts and can warp quite easily.

Q: What is the most exciting thing for you about 3D printing?

A: When my printer just finished a job, and I take the part in my hand, knowing that a couple of hours ago or days, it was just an idea or sketch and now I hold the real part in my hand, that’s amazing;

Q: What do you predict 3D printing will be used the most for?

A: It is already used in many applications, from home as a hobby, to automotive, to the medical industry, and many more.

Q: Favorite questions to ask 3D makers, what is your favorite 3D printer and why?

A: It's hard to say only one is my favorite. Each one is good for a specific thing. I like my Qidi X-CF Pro and X-Max because I can print more industrial filaments on them without problems (like carbon fiber nylon) but usually, they are used for individual parts/orders where I need those filaments for smaller orders. For bigger orders when it's required only PLA (Polylactic acid ), PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol), or ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) I usually use my KP3S printers (little workhorses in my opinion) that I can 3d print hundreds of parts.

Q: What advice would you provide to someone who is just getting started in the 3D printing sector, that you would only tell a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?

A: Don’t worry if you have failures… From every fail you will learn something, maybe not from the first one, but after repeating the same failures you will definitely learn and be open-minded to try new things, even if you don’t think that you will need them or simply like them…You never know what you will really enjoy doing until you try and learn slowly to make your own designs.

One thing to remember… 3D printing is not a ‘’plug and play’’ hobby, it is sometimes frustrating, time-consuming and most probably at some point you need to do a little tinkering on your printer. Once you get everything right, and the print comes out exactly how you wanted, that will be the best feeling, knowing that you have created something from nothing, or just simply from an idea, and now you hold it in your hands.

I take the part in my hand, knowing that a couple of hours ago or days, it was just an idea or sketch and now I hold the real part in my hand;

3D Veerkstedet

Another excellent interview was with Bendik Elias, the owner of 3D printing business named 3D Veerkstedet in Norway.

Q: When it comes to 3D printing, what is your background, and how did it all start?

A: It began as an idea for a school course on a business establishment called Ungt entreprenørskap, where we’d use our 3D modeling knowledge to help people make niche products and things. After that year the business was quite promising and we started as an AS ( aksjeselskap- independent legal entity).

Q: What do you predict 3D printing will be used the most for?

A: R&D and design. Most of its value comes from the rapid prototyping aspect I think.

Q: What is the most exciting thing for you about 3D printing?

A: Designing something that has the ability to manifest within hours of the idea. That is fascinating.

Q: What is your favorite 3D printer and why?

A: The Anycubic i3 Mega. It's the most reliable printer I've come across and it's very intuitive to use. Never had a single problem with it. Plus it's compatible with all addons, extensions, and programs we use;

Q: What are your biggest pain points when it comes to 3D printing?

A: Printer failure (clogged nozzle, unreliable bed adhesion) is one of them. Some quality issues sometimes, and unexplainable loss of calibration on some Creality machines.

Q: What is the most exciting thing for you about 3D printing?

A: The ability to have a real-world useful item in a very short time away from the first idea and sketches is the most exciting thing😊

The ability to have a real-world useful item in a very short time away from the first idea and sketches is the most exciting thing;

We're so delighted we got to talk with these amazing makers about their 3D printing journey; now they can serve as an inspiration to those who are still debating whether 3D printing is a solid professional path or if it's simply a fun pastime.

The interviewers above clearly thought us that we can begin whenever we choose; there is no right or wrong time; if your heart desires it, go for it. You may fail once or twice, but that will just be great memories with lessons learned.

Contact us if you decide to pursue a career as a 3D maker. Together we can make this journey unforgettable.