Can we make a separate category for 3D printing?

I know this is probably the wrong way to pose the question, but there it is.  I've noticed a ton of projects that revolve around 3D printing.  I understand this is a new technology that takes 'making' to the next level, but is the 'how to' of 3d printing really any different between all of the instructables that focus around it?  What if we made an area where users could post their 3d files to share?  I'm not saying I don't appreciate seeing everybody's hard work and ingenuity (the basis for this wonderful community), it just seems like every instructable about 3d printing is generally the same with the only difference being the file used.  

If I'm alone in this I'll sit quietly and enjoy the community like I always have.

and yes, I envy all of you with 3d printers lol

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Kiteman3 years ago
There already is a 3d channel: https://www.instructables.com/tag/type-id/category-technology/channel-3D-Printing/

If you are just suggesting a file repository, then that's Thingiverse.

kretzlord (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Thanks for the quick reply Kiteman (do you ever sleep?). I knew about the 3d channel but thingiverse is new to me. I guess what i want is to be able to browse and search instructables without all the 3d printing 'ibles coming up. It's not that i have a dislike for them, I just don't have access to the equipment.

I'll just have to satisfy myself with a good old-fashioned boolean search
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's felt this way, though you have expressed your feelings far more kindly.

3D printing is great, but until it's a common item to own and operate like the paper printer has become the plethora of projects that are not possible unless you have one is probably making more than a few people feel alienated from an otherwise fantastic website.

It's like reading stories about people having fun in there Maybach or Private Jet written with the sort of false sense of inclusiveness that denies the reality that very few people have access to a Maybach to cruise in or a private jet to fly. LOL
It's not common, but it is becoming so.

Price-wise, basic 3d printers are now cheaper than top-end hobby woodworking tools like table-saws and CNC routers, and far cheaper than even the most basic laser cutter. If you want to build your own printer, you can do it for less than the cost of an iPhone. If you're not doing much 3d printing, you can send files to be printed for not much more than the cost of the raw materials.

Don't avoid the projects just because you don't have the hardware (do you avoid watching sports on TV, just because you don't own a stadium?) enjoy them for their creativity and achievements.
Hey it's nice to hear you have money to burn and time to spare.
That's not what I said, and you know it.
kretzlord (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Alright guys, let's be civil. As a community we have to aknowledge that the accessability of projects is definitely limited by both income and availability of resources. 3d-printing, while becoming more redily available, is still something of a luxury (just as inkjet printers used to be). Personally, i feel that it (3d printing) takes the Y out of DIY to a degree. Like an artist focusing on photoshop and losing the feel of a brush, printing off everything you need makes you a skilled 3d-modeller, but can keep you out of touch with using the materials you have around you to solve a problem.
Kretzlord actually those are also my exact sentiments.

The reason for my original reply the disingenuous nature of Kiteman's reply to me.

It had the same kind of spurious sincerity as someone saying that we can all be professional photographers, because today's super cheap digital cameras with 5x optical zoom and auto focus makes all that "professional skill" stuff so passe.

He may have adhered to the letter of the rules regarding comments on indestructable (be nice courteous polite) but anyone who's studied basic rhetoric knows the best insults are often said in the most kind considerate way, because doing so add heaping scoops of condescension that are hard to convey otherwise.

To think he was offended by reply is kind of funny really.

You of course caught the big insult not to me but to the talents of designers, as if designing 3D project design and completion is something we all are able to do if we stop being so cheap and narrow minded and spent the $500 or so bucks and bought a super cheap 3D printer.

He actually expects me to take his suggestion that a bottom of the line 3D printer is something worth buying to get started seriously?

I guess it is a start, but I better be patient as it will probably finish printing your project after your first child graduates college. ;)

But if you don't have a decade to dedicate finishing your 3D project on a bottom of the line 3D printer then just your genius project off to a 3D printer design house. It's almost free really

But really the best thing to do is get a 3D printer. They are so cheap, less than an iPhone really.

These comparisons are far more likely to be digs at another person's possible financial position than they are polite ways to explain the actual affordability of a 3D printer worth having.

His entire reply presumes I know nothing bout the process of design.

He says nothing about what you need to design something decent, but the truth is you need  CAD software.

There are many name brands out there, and none of them are particularly cheap (I'm assuming the first option is not to get pirated software :)

The price though is the secondary problem. The real problem is CAD software has a steep learning curve The real expense though for such software is the TIME.

Of course if your designs stick to the basic designs provided, like squares, cylinders Etc. you'll be a happy camper, but then you're not creating anything. All you are doing is pressing the print button.

Finally before you can actually use a 3D printer you have to make sure you have a decently powerful computer to run your CAD software.

Though someone could use the long render times to become a multitasker, and do something else while your run of the mill computer renders each task for your 3D project. ;)

An average computer for a serious 3D enthusiast won't do. So you'd have to buy a new one. You can add that into the price of simple, fun 3D printing.

Of course if you are a serious gamer, you might have a computer that you can just slap the CAD software onto and it will run decently fast.

As far as how I feel, I don't resent or think it's wrong to feature 3D printing projects. It's an amazing technology, that I'm glad is finally reaching the masses.

The problem I see is that all too many come from the indestructable design shops, not from the website readership.

This seems the opposite of the usual for Indestructible, but perhaps it's due to the way I use your website.

The result is a heavy focus on projects that most of us cannot do.

That focus is not wrong or right, but if someone like me comes to indestructables to browse projects, it's not going to be to find a solution using a 3D printer I don't have LOL

If the user base is heavy with people like me, then indestructable might be turning off some users, thus I thought I'd add my 2 cents to the originating comment that was inferring a sense of frustration with this.

Ironically,  Kretzlord YOUR reply is what I'd expect if I had written to indestructable directly rather than replying to the general comment that was made

It was spot on.

You realized I wasn't denigrating indestructables in the least, and saw it for what it was feedback. ;)
Goodness me, what an unnecessarily long, and largely inaccurate, response.

I responded directly to the complaint that 3d printers are too expensive to use, with the implication that such projects should be avoided, even segregated. I said that price is not a valid reason to avoid looking at projects.

This was answered with a comment that I must have money to burn.

I wasn't trying to be unpleasant, I wasn't being disingenuous, I was simply concerned that commenters were isolating themselves from a new way of expressing creativity on quite spurious grounds.

There was no insult intended, either directly or implied. Any seen was entirely within your own imaginations.


Factual corrections:

Many useful 3d design programmes available for free (eg, Tinkercad). The basics take minutes to grasp, but after that the results are down to the user's creativity and design skills.

Top-end design programmes may need dedicated hardware, but Tinkercad is web based, and runs fine on my elderly PC, still running XP.

The majority of 3d printed projects on this site, including the featured ones, are by non-staffers, using free or propriety software on ordinary computers, printed on machines that are publicly, accessible (eg in schools, Techshops, hackerspaces or online services).


Feel free to argue, feel free to read in more insult if you wish (although, again, none is intended), but I will only respond to civilised, on topic comments. If you want to carry on with your persecution fantasies, you can do so on your own.

kretzlord (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
All right, If it pleases the court, no more insults, either express or implied will be laid on my question. Johnny Morales, I feel that we have a similar opinion on the subject. However, Kiteman was not trying to insult either of us. I find it improbable that a senior member such as him would fill users' questions with cleverly hidden insults. Rather, he is a maker, same as all of us. From a different place and with different resources at hand, but still the same.

I don't like fighting on this website. The inclusiveness of Instructables is one thing that always draws me back. let's not do that any more.
Sleep? Oh, yes, but I run on GMT, about 5 or 6 hours out of synch to Kentucky.