With our Federal tax refund each year, my wife and I allocate a portion so that each of us has some “fun money” that we get to use however we want, no conditions.
For me that normally means acquiring gear for a new hobby or interest. 2019 was a DJI Mavic Air drone. This year it was a 3D printer, a Prusa i3 MK3S kit. I bought the kit as it was cheaper and also the recommendation from most people is that it’s worth assembling your first printer to learn how it’s put together and to be familiar with the components as you will most likely need to adjust/maintain them over time.
I’ve been watching the evolution of 3D printers for the last 10 years or so, waiting for the machines to get more reliable, easier to use, and more mature. The time finally felt right to jump in. The Prusa has a number of features that make it much easier to get a print you want, and not have to fiddle with it all the time. The removable PEI-coated print bed is really nice and definitely a must have feature for me.
So far I’ve been mainly printing small models I’ve found online as I figure out all the skills and techniques needed for getting reliable print results. Most people use a test object they are familiar with printing so they can test new settings or new filaments. I’ve settled on a model called Niko the puppy so far. It’s a cute little model that shows off different filaments and how they print. Only downside so far is my daughter is quite found of the models so they get recruited for playtime quite often.
I haven’t started creating my own models yet. CAD is something I’ve found interesting for quite a while, at least since college, but have never spent much time in as I didn’t have any personal projects that would use it. Not having a way to design something and then generate a physical result inexpensively seemed less than satisfying to me.
Anticipate seeing some models from me in the near future.