Why 3D printing is going to frustrate you

What you’re going to be disappointed about

  • Speed
    • Printing is currently slow – an object the size of a golf ball is likely to take 30 minutes to print out.
    • You CAN print out multiple objects at a time and leave them to print over night – the main limitation is the size of the build plate.
    • Realistically students are likely to receive 1 to 3 prints per year.
  • Colors
    • Consumer/education printers (<$10,000) can generally print in 1 or 2 colors only (you can order full color prints through the bureau services)
  • Quality
    • The print quality will be worse than a molded plastic object from Ikea
  • Failed prints and printer break down/jams
    • Some percentage of your prints will fail (even the best printers will fail 1 in 20 times at best)
    • Your printer will jam and you will need to fix it – this takes time

Think of 3D printers like computing in the 1980’s/90’s – it is changing very rapidly.

Almost every week new 3D printers are being released and things are getting better but there are still issues.

One alternative to buying your school a 3D printer is to start with a print bureau service.


Frustrating – 28 hours into a 30 hour print and this marble run failed


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