There are so many obstacles I am experiencing with the process of starting my own 3D printing business. So many things to think about. So many things to prioritize. So many pieces to the puzzle.
You can't start a 3D printing company without 3D printers. But this is a small, startup, home business. What printers does a person buy? If you have the money, you can spend thousands on Ultimakers, Makerbotz, Lulzbot, Raise3D. "So $5000 would get you a bunch of printers, right?" Nope. Only one of the first three brands mentioned, or none of the last brand. "But you must need more than one?" Absolutely. So then you look at brands like Flashforge, or Dremel. With these, you could get two or three units. But the printable area shrinks dramatically, which limits your print size drastically.
So where does that leave you? Well, Chinese printers are probably where you will turn. With Chinese printers, you get what you pay for. Good printers, larger build volumes, and a printer that performs the basic functions of 3D printing. More designed for hobby use, not for mass production. But that doesn't mean you can't turn them into more powerful machines. You see, these printers are open source. They are simple motors, being told what to do by very simple computers and computer programs.
To learn, build, operate, maintain, upgrade, program, and print using these printers, you have to have basic knowledge in machine assembly, electrical wiring, soldering, computer programming, firmware editing, troubleshooting, maintenance processes, and a heck of a lot of patience and anger management. Some people may say "no you don't, I got my printer home and had it running in 2 hours". So did I. Its easy to get test prints working out of the box. So long as you receive a printer that was properly assembled. But after you get your printer up and running out of the box, and get outside of the "look at the Benchy I printed" and start having you printer run for 13 hours, 27 hours, 39 hours straight, repeatedly, you will see the machine break down over time. Weirdly enough, the print bed, and control board are the weakest links in my opinion.
So what do you do when you are sitting there with a so-so working printer, lots of failed prints, intertwined with a bunch of really successful prints?
Part Two.....stay tuned.