3D printing at home

I recently purchased a 3D printer as an extension of my other hobbies, and have found that not only is it cheaper to print at home, but I can print items that I can not purchase from other sources.

Has anyone else found the same?

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I bought one last year and love having it. I can print my ideas or do like your saying. I am now making 3D printed 2D lamps that started as fun. Sell them as needed. So far I have made Bobafett, Snake, Music notes, Anime Cloud (don’t understand it), and the Mandalorian.

This year I ramped up my hobbies and bought a 20w diode laser cutter/engraver. Still learning how to use it but loving it as well. I etched all my tools with my name on them.

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Very nice! Unfortunately, that would not make my kids put the tools back where they belong!

I’m having a similar experience with the CNC router I bought (used) in September.
It’s a lot of fun to make just about anything I can imagine, and a challenge to do it right when my idea needs to have tolerances/fits/finish in order to work well.

I’ve made a number of things that haven’t previously existed in the world and I will continue to do so as long as my ideas keep coming.

Haven’t given any serious thought to selling things, yet.

All interesting ideas . . .

before retirement, I thought operating companies should consider 3D printing for replacement parts. while I do not know the details of 3D printing, it seems a viable alternative to waiting on suppliers or those antiquated parts no longer mfg’d.

I thought the same, but since that has not happened, I guess it is better to do it our selves and not wait. I believe the issue is that companies are there to make money, not support there products. They will only support there products, if it makes them money.
The thing is the plastic does not cost that much, and the design can come from you, or in many cases you can find them on the web.
Still have to find paint, and screws, but that is a detail.


I have one here at home. When it works, I am having fun with it.

Here’s an example for you:

Over the years, repeated opening and closing of this car’s air filter box has led to the main duct cracking at the flex joint. Yeah, it cracks at the flex joint, let’s all laugh at that. And the temporary fix is a wrap or two of duct tape. Or is it…?

Your 3D printer could print a replacement for this tubular duct. Many printers can use flexible plastics and these materials are not very expensive. Some 3D printed materials are porous after printing, others are fairly airtight. Some plastic materials soften when they get hot, but a few are resistant to the moderate heat of an engine compartment. There are even types of printable plastic (Ultem for example) that are relatively fire resistant.

My point is:
Through careful selection of raw material, detailed measurement of the original part’s dimensions, and programming a suitable machine, a reasonable replacement part can be fashioned with 3D printing.

There are LOTS of such parts on modern cars.

@SparWeb - thank you for the demonstration. it reminded me of a $100 purchase for 2 plastic light bulb holders for my wife’s 2005 Volkswagen Jetta. Outrageous + I had to purchase from lower 48 dealer as local dealer did not want to deal with a small matter. see photo below . . .

a local repair shop often has difficulties in getting replacement parts, so a seed has been planted.

btw, duct tape has multiple uses here in AK and your temp repair is a fine example.

I’m ignorant about 3D printer suppliers, source raw materials, software, cost, etc. so any recommendations or suggestions are appreciated.

thank you!

made of plastic w/ metal inserts for electrical circuitry.

Was gifted a 3d printer for my 20th year at the company. It’s useful, in its way, and I’ve made a lot of toys, and several useful items with it.

Most recent item was a replacement gasket for my stainless steel water bottle; a few quick measurements with my vernier calipers, an even quicker 3d model, swap the PLA filament for TPU (urethane rubber) filament, and about 5 minutes of printing. Bottle now seals with no leaks, so my hip pocket stays dry whilst out exercising. I was pleasantly surprised to find the filament change (first time using the TPU) and printing was fairly painlessly accomplished, others had reported it can be tricky.

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So far I have just used PLA plastic. I looked it up, and it is not recyclable, but is compostable. Good for me as composting is much easer than recycling. Most of what I have printed is models, and funnels, as well as some corner braces, all with $16 spool of plastic.
That said I do have a spool of ABS plastic, which is recyclable, but not compostable, .But seems to be more heat stable. These are the only two that can be easily printed without a vented enclosure (out gassing during printing that happens with other plastics). That said, I also purchased a printing pen, which I have tried to use with ABS to fill in/build up, the screw mounts on the back of a dash board panel. Because of a control issue, I am hoping I can drill out the screw holes in the ABS, after filling in.

And you are right, in older cars, parts may not be available, so must be created at home. Metal seems easer for others, but until recently plastic has been difficult.

Ive not tried ABS (and would worry about the fumes, that stuff stinks when it melts). My eldest son has had good luck with PETG fiber, which also has better high temp. strength than PLA…so I had Santa gift me some for Christmas. Have yet to try it out though.

I’ve also used the PLA to make molds, into which I’ve poured silicone (made some cigar ashtrays for colleagues). That works pretty well, though you need to be careful if you paint the PLA to smooth it out, some paints don’t play well with silicone and mess up the curing.

And, at some future point, I hope to do some metal sand casting, using printed parts as patterns.

I made this as a present for my Dad this year. I have a P-38 Lightning and B25 Mitchell I am working on in Solidworks to make a 3D print Its painted and glued together now. I will take picture and upload it here later when I get home from work.

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Does anyone have any links to equipment or forums on the subject of scanning small objects?
Say 8" by 8" for a sense of scale.
Any comments on an adaptation of photo stacking to generate printing files?
Are plastics available in multi colours for printing simple objects d’ art?
Red, White, Green, Black, Yellow or others.

Yes to all your questions.


How To Convert An Image For CNC | Scan2CAD

The software I use for my CNC router has a function that imports image files, too.

VCarve Pro Product Page | Vectric

Thanks Spar.
Much appreciated.
Have you gotten much use from your carving machine?

I made one set of wind turbine blades just to demonstrate that I can.
The pack of cutters you brought me made all the difference in making them.

I kept a blank from my “real” blades because I made 4 and used only 3. If I ever need to replace them, I’ll be equipped for a much quicker turn-around.

I’m glad it worked out for you.
Thank you for sharing with me the results of what must have been a lot of research.
Another question;
Is there any crossover between CNC files and 3D printer files?
Is conversion easy or difficult?


Not much crossover for 3d printing to CNC cutting. You are doing inverse processes (one removes material, the other (3d prints) adds material. They do use similar language (G code) and generating that G code from solid model files follows similar processes, so knowing G code helps for both.

A colleague at work sent me the following link and asked if I could make the thing…

So, I grind tungsten electrodes at home using my mini-lathe, with the grinder wheel chucked in the chuck…

But this looked neat, and it keeps the tungsten dust contained, and we need something to grind electrodes at work, and everybody has a Dremel lying around. So I’ll give it a shot. I’ve downloaded the .stl file, and will run it through the slicer and print it at home in PLA (despite what the video author says I see no reason to make it from more expensive stuff, unless it was in constant use in a shop somewhere).