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We Live in a 3D World

Well... it's been quite a while since the last blog post and a lot has changed in that time. Among them is the addition of a 3D printer. It's been on the shopping list for many years now and in the past they have been far too cost prohibitive to warrant purchasing one just so I could occasional produce a custom 3D part. Any time a custom 3D part was needed in the past, I often turned to to do the printing. Although expensive, they turn out quality products. As of late though, 3D printers have finally come down in price enough to say "what the heck" and I pulled the trigger on getting one. Say hello to the new Elegoo Neptune 2D 2-color printer....

As for the "why" of the purchase, as mentioned, I have occasionally sent out to have parts printed. A single Keystone grommet that I have on my Shapeways store can set you back $51 (and that's just the raw cost... not including any tax or shipping). The printer was just a shade north of $200... so, after printing only 5 of those big jacks (of which my material cost would be under $3), I will have already hit my ROI. 

In all seriousness though, it will come in quite handy for various projects. Having the ability to just turn out a part on demand without having to send away for it and wait 2 weeks for a part that I could instead turn out in an evening for less than 1/10th the cost will be really nice. I'm sure I'll still use Shapeways from time to time for things I'm unable to print (like printing something in brass or stainless steel). But, those will be rare I suspect. I also feel that I will have a deeper appreciation for some of what goes on at a few of the dental offices I work with who 3D print custom custom alignment retainers. All be it... they use 3D resin printing for that... so, similar concepts, but a different fabrication method.


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