Micro 3D Printers increase mobile artists

3D Printing Peripherals are growing the artistic entrepreneur sector

Large commercial 3D printers have been available for several years. From the metal printer to the industrial printers which are capable of manufacturing homes and jets, the 3D printers have been, for the most part, unobtainable to the general public. Yet, with the development of the desktop 3D printer and now the micro 3D printers, these peripheral devices have made it possible not only for the artist to create and export their creations to physical form but for the artist to offer such creations mobility and instantaneously. But are these 3D printers beneficial?

Miniature does not mean substandard

3D printers rely upon the additive building. Where it pertains to the 3D models which are printed really relies upon the surface space of the printer. Generally, all of the micro printers work the same with some slight variations on the material and the heat level in which the polymers and fibers obtain to build the object. Comparatively, the micro and the larger 3D desktop printers perform about the same. Granted, there are a few distinctive variations with the level of detail dependent upon the dollars that are spent (you do get what you pay for), but as a whole, there is only a difference in size.

Why Miniatures matter

While the desktop 3D printers such as the MakerBot Replicator are ideal for the home office use, the miniature 3D printer offers the 3D artist the versatility to make smaller models on the go. For the freelancer or the artist who does not have 6k to dish out, the smaller mini 3D printers such as the Da Vinci Mini Printer offer an affordable solution. Why do the miniatures matter? As more engineers and more innovation is developed, artist and investors need to test their products prior to patenting the idea or spinning the concept to a potential investor. Outsourcing the idea to a third party is costly and can be a potential security risk for the creator. However, with the mini 3D printer, the artist gets the ability to print his or her product, to see the positive and negative aspects of the print, and then to re-evaluate, re-design, and reprint the product, all from the comforts of his or her peripheral device.

Costs for production

The cost of production and the cost of the material in the printer is relatively low. On average, the material is around $30 for a spool. Depending on the level of printing that you have and the size of the print, this could last you for 10 or more models. Now, considering that the cost of a print can go for anywhere from $4 to $400+, the miniature 3D printer pays for itself. Furthermore, if a person were to use 3D models from a provider such as CGTrader, the ROI would further increase as they would (a) not have to allocate time to the development of the 3D model for print and (b) the client could purchase the model and then just pass it to the owner of the 3D printer for fabrication of the model to physical form, and (c) that the fabrication can be printed in minutes or hours allowing for maximum delivery and profits.

Ensure that you download .stl file for the best results. Those who do not wish to opt for pre-made models can increase their profits by providing 3D character designs in .stl format and submitting their models to the site. This doubles your ROI as you charge for your print, and can make money from the selling of your model.

Considerations

Although the miniature 3D printer is a peripheral that the graphic artist, specifically the 3D artist should have in their bag, there are a few considerations. First, as the miniature printers are less expensive, finding replicated parts for the printer is a bit of a task. In most cases you will need to purchase a new mini should the parts and pieces break. Secondly, you generally get what you pay for. The only major negative for the miniature 3D printer is that they tend to be framed in cheap plastic, and as these devices are made for mobile use and transportation, they are apt to cracking and damage if not stored with extreme care.

While the methodology of creating the models is the same, there may be lower quality polymers and materials used to create the miniatures. Third, the surface area for printing is smaller on the minis, so you could be limited to what you can produce. However, with all this in mind, consider that you will have the ability to have a mobile business, that the cost to replace the printer is lower than the cost of some prints, that the material available in abundance, and that the demand for 3D printed pieces is continuously growing.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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