I’m not in the market for buying a 3D printer right now. Someone tried to give me advice and I want to make it clear why I’m not taking their advice.
First of all, I don’t accept 99% of the advice I hear.
Most importantly, I already know I’m going to buy a low quality printer next. In every operation, the CEO has to decide to brute force through a problem or be clever about it. Brute force solutions are time consuming but cheap. Clever solutions are expensive and quick. A good entrepreneur has to use the resources they have most to get what they have least.
When it comes to 3D printing, I have more money than time. That’s why I bought an expensive ready-to-print-out-of-the-box printer. This printer was $1,200 when it was new. It comes with many bells and whistles such as: a heated bed, reliability, and the real crown jewel, two extruders. Two extruders allows me to print in two colors of the same material, or use two materials and have one be sacrificial support.
The reliability of this printer gives me confidence that if there is a failure, it’s probably not the printer’s fault. It’s probably mine. By limiting the number of possible culprits, it’s easier to diagnose what is wrong. This makes learning 3D printing easier. Yet, it’s a crutch. As I get better and I have less failures, I don’t need to rely on the printer as much for reliability. I can spread my wings to a lower quality printer, not a higher quality printer. The startup cost in terms of time has already been paid. Each successive printer I buy will be easier and easier to learn.
3D printers will become cheaper and cheaper every year. More and more people will dabble with 3D printing as a hobby. Many of them will try their hand at professional level printing. Ultimately I’ll be getting more competition. I’ll never be able to out spend them. There will always be a more expensive printer that they can buy, that I can’t afford. However, I can out hustle them. I can work harder and use my time more effectively than them. I already have a head start on a growing economy.
Start high-tech, then as you get better, transition to low-tech.