How Hard Is It To Learn 3D Printing?

I’ve been doing 3D printing for quite some time and thought I’d answer a question that people just getting into 3D printing ask. Which is, how hard is it to learn 3D printing?

As a general rule, it is easy to learn 3D printing. There are more advanced aspects to 3D printing such as 3D sculpting. However, to print incredible-looking 3D prints, as well as design some basic 3D prints yourself it requires a little bit of learning.

The best analogy I can give is learning how to use a paper printer to print something. Such as some paperwork. It’s about as difficult as that. You simply upload a 3D print design file onto your 3D printer and hit print.

There are a few more details to it, but that’s a broad overview. Most people wonder how long it takes to 3D print, as well as how to start learning 3D printing. So, based on my experience I’ll explain the ins and outs so you know exactly what to expect when getting 3D printing.

Print with two colors finished 2

Is it easy to learn to use a 3D printer?

Certain skills can look hard to do, whereas others seem quite easy. 3D printing looks quite complicated and many people wonder whether it’s easy to learn or not. Based on my experience and those who have used a 3D printer extensively, here’s what I found.

Overall, 3D printing is very easy to learn. The basic skills you will need are the ability to use a computer – to do a task as complex as checking your email. As well as, the ability to understand and follow step-by-step instructions.

So, if you’re a baby obviously you can’t do it. But, after about age 6 children are fairly independent and can express themselves as well as an adult. Therefore, in my opinion, children over the age of 6 can learn to do 3D printing.

There are major aspects to learning 3D printing which are:

  • Setting up your 3D printer
  • Working with 3D Print Design Files – not hard
  • Printing your first 3D print
Kid working on 3d printer close up

Setting up your 3D printer

When you first get your 3D printer it will come in a cardboard box. It will need to be unpacked, and the different components need to be installed using various tools. This is a bit daunting at first. However, as long as you keep doing it one step at a time it will be a breeze.

Your 3D printer will come with a manual that will have step-by-step instructions, there are also many helpful videos so you can see it done in real life. However, it’s very much ‘paint-by-numbers’.

Similar to putting together a kit set desk, or bookshelf.

Working with 3D Print Design Files – not hard

Once you’ve got your 3D printer all set up, you’ll need to play around with the 3D print software called Cura. As well as, download some 3D print design files.

Many people have created 3D print designs that you can print straight away. There are libraries online where people upload their 3D print designs and are available to download for free.

Essentially all you do is use Cura to connect your 3D printer to your computer, and then send the 3D print file to it. Or, you can copy the 3D print file to an SD card, and then insert the SD card into your 3D printer. It’s super easy.

Here is a video showing you how to set up Cura to work with a Creality Ender 3, the process is similar for other printers.

Printing your first 3D print

After you can do that you should go ahead and print your first 3D print. Simply open up the file on your 3D printer and select print from your 3D printer.

It can be helpful to know some simple mathematics such as how X and Y coordinates work. As well as, some simple geometry terminology such as the width, height, and length.

How long does it take to learn 3D printing?

It doesn’t take forever to learn 3D printing, but it’s good to get a good idea of how long it takes to 3D print. Here’s how it takes.

On average, it would take around 5 hours total to learn how to 3D print. That time is quite generous and includes 2 hours to set up your 3D printer. As well as, 3 hours to watch some videos. On top of that, it would take approximately 5 to 10 hours to learn and make basic your first 3D prints from scratch.

On top of that, there’s 3D sculpting. 3D sculpting is much more difficult to learn than making regular 3D models and is very similar to molding clay with your hands. Except you do it on the computer with your mouse.

Learning 3D sculpting isn’t necessary to create incredible 3D prints, and is more for advanced users who want to keep learning.

How do I start learning 3D printing?

So, now you know that learning 3D printing is not that difficult, you might be wondering about what the best way is to get started. Here’s what you should do.

Generally, it’s best to begin by getting a 3D printer yourself. After that, you should follow the instructions for how to set it up. It’s not necessary to learn anything additional to assemble a 3D printer. After that, you should watch some Youtube videos or read the user manual to learn how to do a 3D print.

I made a really good introductory video that explains pretty much everything you’ll need to know to start 3D printing. You can watch it below:

Along with one showing you how to print a file that you downloaded from sites like Thingiverse.

You can pretty much teach yourself everything you need to know about 3D printing. And there are a ton of good videos that explain how to do the things you need to learn such as setting up and using Cura.

Definitely check out the other videos on my channel above, and subscribe so you can refer back to it if you need to.

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Make sure you check out our YouTube channel, and if you would like any additional details or have any questions, please leave a comment below or join us on Discord. If you liked this article and want to read others click here.


I'm Rob, the founder of I’m a Marine Corps vet with a master’s degree in Information Systems and have been working in the technology field for over a decade. I started working with 3D printers because I was fascinated by the technology and wanted a hobby that my kids and I can enjoy together.

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