Is 3D Printing Hard? Let’s Find Out!

3D printing uses a computer, the large 3D printer itself, and has a bunch of moving parts. When I first got into 3D printing I thought there was quite a bit to learn. But, since then my opinion has changed.

So, I thought I’d put together this article to explain whether 3D printing is hard from my perspective of others who have done 3D printing.

As a general rule, 3D printing is easy. It works very similar to a laser printer that prints on paper. You simply send the 3D design file or the instructions to print to your 3D printer and then it will print the entire object from start to finish.

Once, you know each of the different steps which include setting up your 3D printer, downloading some 3D print designs, and sending your first 3D print file to your 3D printer, and watching it print.

Below, I will cover how long it takes to learn to 3D print, whether it’s hard to use a 3D printer and the most difficult parts about learning how to 3D print.

Modified Ender 3 Pro

How long does it take to learn 3D printing?

Knowing what to do to create your own 3D prints is a skill, however, there are only a few major steps to do a 3D print, and everything else you can learn along the way. So, how long overall does it take to learn 3D printing?

To print your first 3D print would take about 2 hours of learning if you rush. But, if you take your time, then it would take maybe 10 hours. The steps involved are:

  1. Learning how to set up your 3D printer
  2. Learning how to send 3D print designs to your printer
  3. Learning how to create your own 3D print designs.

The 3rd step, learning to create your own 3D print designs, isn’t something to HAVE to do, but it’s pretty exciting and fun to create something on your computer from scratch and print it out.

3D prints vs 3D print sculpting

A standard 3D print will be a combination of geometric shapes. If you have ever learned to sketch and draw with a pencil you will know that breaking down objects into geometric shapes is an easy way to draw complex things.

The same is true of 3D printing. When you create a design you start with a basic shape such as a cube, and then add to it. But, there is also what’s called 3D sculpting. 3D sculpting is where you create a 3D print design on a computer using a 3D sculpting software.

To do 3D sculpting takes a lot longer to learn and you could easily spend 6 months to become good at it.

The good news is that there is a tonne of 3D print designs that you can download for free that include intricate and very realistic models like dinosaurs, and action heroes. And you can print them within a couple of minutes. But, it will take a lot longer to be able to make really impressive ones yourself.

Is it hard to use a 3D printer?

The 3D printer itself is similar to a device such as a computer or a smartphone, however, it is much less complicated to use because it only has a few options. So, overall how hard is it to use a 3D printer?

Generally, using a 3D printer is easy. However, getting to know how to feed the filament into the nozzle, adjust the printing bed, and how to send and receive files does require practice. Overall though, you can simply follow the simple step-by-step instructions that are provided with your 3D printer or online.

If you’ve never used a 3D printer before everything will be quite new, but it’s very straightforward once you do it once or twice. Along the way, you can run into issues such as leveling your flat bed and adjusting the temperature based on the type of filament you’re using. My go-to filament is HATCHBOX and you get it from Amazon at a decent price.

All About 3D Printer Plastic featured image

For example, there are a few broad types of filament – filament is the plastic that is used to print the 3D print. Some require a higher temperature than others. As a result, you need to go into the settings on the control pad on your 3D printer.

On the control pad, you can manually adjust it to the recommended temperature. The recommended temperature will be written on the packaging or on their website.

But, if I had to sum it up, for a regular person using a 3D printer is very easy, it just takes a bit of time to set it all up the first time.

Filament Feed

What’s the hardest part about learning to 3D print?

So, as a whole 3D printing is not difficult and is in fact quite easy. But you may be curious about what the hardest part about learning how to 3D print is?

Setting everything up and doing your first print, as well as, learning how to create your own 3D print designs are the hardest part of learning to 3D print. The actual setup itself is not difficult, however, compared to the other aspects of 3D printing it is the hardest.

It’s similar to cooking a dish that you know how to make. For example, you may know how to make a lasagna. But, the first time you made a lasagna you found it quite difficult.

However, after that, you’ll vaguely recall each of the steps, such as first you dice some onions and add them to a frying pan. Then as you start to do them again it will be much easier. The same is true of learning to 3D print.

At first, you won’t know what a nozzle is, or what the printing bed is. But, after you use them a few times you’ll easily remember what to do and how to use them.

Here is a video I made showing you how to print a 3d object that you would download from a site like Thingiverse. It may seem like a lot at first, but once you have done the process a couple of times you will see that its not bad.

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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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