Chapter 1. Getting Started with a 3D Printer

Early in 2012, I picked up an Ultimaker, put it together, and joined the growing ranks of 3D printing households. It has been an adventure both filled with reward and rife with frustration. The goal of this article is to share what I’ve learned while studying the DIY portion of the 3D printing realm. The focus is on budgets less than $2,500, with a goal of producing parts out of various kinds of plastic.

Plastic parts are wonderful for prototyping. You can print that engine part in plastic, make sure it fits perfectly, and then send the 3D model off to a company like Shapeways to have your prototype turned into a production piece in the ...

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