2017 3D Printing Holiday Buying Guide at PrintedSolid.com

So, someone on your list this year is interested in 3D Printing and you'd like to buy them something that goes along with that interest.  The phrase, 'what to buy for the person who has everything' is used commonly this time of year, but when you factor that the person is a maker, it becomes even more daunting because they can probably make whatever they don't already have!  

Fortunately, you've come to the right place.  We specialize in helping people find the best fits for their project and we can take that same specialty and use it to help you find the best gift ever for your maker.  Let's take a look at some different scenarios

FIRST:  Consider shipping deadlines for Christmas.  To be conservative, we strongly encourage ordering by 12/14, but our official cutoff dates are 12/19 at noon Eastern for our free shipping and 12/20 at 3pm Eastern for priority.  If you are beyond those dates and are desperate, contact us and we'll see if we can arrange overnight delivery.

Scenario 0:  You're local to our store at 2850 Ogletown Rd, Newark, DE.

Congratulations!  You get to come into the store and get our advice in person.  Our hours are a bit odd, but we're always willing to make time to meet with customers on appointment.  Just let us know when you're coming in and we'll meet with you to discuss options.  

If you buy a printer in store, we'll even include a free training session for the recipient in January or February.

Scenario 1: You don't really know much about them or their strange 3D Printing obsession, and you just want a quick and easy gift.

This one is easy.  Buy an Electronic Gift Certificate ($50 is a pretty nice amount) and some SWAG.  Our hats, Coffee mugs, and Flash Drives are popular with 3D Printing Geeks of all ages.  

Print the E-cert, put it in a card and give them the SWAG to unwrap.  Easy.

Scenario 2: You don't know much about their 3D Printing addiction, but you're not really the gift certificate type.  

You have a reputation as being a well thought out gift giver.  You live for hearing the phrase 'It's exactly what I wanted, how did you know?'.   The answer?  You *didn't* know, but you trusted the elves at Printed Solid for a recommendation.  

Here's the plan:  (Don't do this if they are working on an invention or something like that!  We're not trying to steal anyone's secrets here.)  Sneak into their workshop and take a bunch of pictures of their printer.  If they are active on social media or you know they buy from us regularly, let us know and we can do a little more snooping on your behalf...  errr...   market research.  Include your target gift amount. 

Send all this information to 3DPrintingElf@PrintedSolid.com

We will get back to you with a few options that fit within your budget.

Scenario 3: You know a lot about their 3D Printer habits such as exactly what printer they have, what they like to print, but you're not sure what they could use.

Feel free to refer back to Scenario 1 or 2, especially if you know they are a Printed Solid regular. If you think you have a pretty good grasp and want to make a purchase for them, here are some ideas.

  • You probably are already aware that we sell a lot of different types of filament.  2.85mm filament is what you need for Ultimaker, Lulzbot, BCN Sigma, Airwolf, and a handful of other printers.  For almost everything else, you can browse our 1.75mm selection. 
  • A Buildtak Spatula.  This is the perfect gift for the enthusiast who has had one or more trips to the ER for exhibiting a bit too much of that enthusiasm removing their print.  Even if you whoops and they already have one, it never hurts to have spares.
  • A PEI Sheet is our favorite print surface.  We stock sizes for a variety of popular printers and also offer custom cut to size.  This is basically a sticker that goes on the build plate.  No modifications are required.
  • Our Spool Roller is a great option for the maker who is always jury rigging something to handle different sizes of filament spool.  If they have an XYZ, MakerBot, or other attempted forced march proprietary solution, they will love this.
  • Expand their capability: Enclosures for the Lulzbot, Ultimaker, and Robo3D Printers are a great choice if they don't have one yet and will help them print with more challenging materials reliably in the coming cold months.
  • If they have a Lulzbot, consider getting them a new toolhead
  • Ultimaker 3?  How about a Hardcore Aftermarket Print Core and an Everlast Sapphire Nozzle?
  • Most other printers have removable/changable nozzles and experimenting with nozzle size can be fun, thus the E3D Fun Pack is a great option.  6 different sized nozzles in a convenient storage case.  Ultimaker and Lulzbot can use the 3mm version.  Most other printers (Robo 3D, newer Printrbot, CR-10, MP Mini, etc) can use the 1.75mm version.  
  • If they don't already have it, Simplify3D is a tool that is useful for pretty much all 3D Printer owners.  Plus since it's software, there is no Christmas shipping deadline.

Scenario 4: You really want to make a splash with your present and are planning on buying them a 3D Printer.

This time of year, we have a lot of people who come into our store saying they want to surprise someone with a 3D Printer.  Most of the time, our answer here is *don't*, but it does depend on who the gift is for. 

If you know they've done a ton of research and want a specific printer, go for it!  Our 3D Printer collection is here.  We'll even kick in a free spool of filament to help get them started if you contact us after the order.

If you know they've spent a lot of time around 3D Printers already and have a lot of experience with the 3D Printing Process (perhaps they have the good fortune of having an instructor at school who allows them a lot of hands-on time) then it may also be a good purchase.

In all other circumstances, it probably makes the most sense to give them an IOU, a commitment to buy them one after they've had time to properly consider the options.  We'll be here to help when you need it.

 




Matthew Gorton
Matthew Gorton

Author

Matthew Gorton is the founder of printedsolid.com. He is a mechanical / materials engineer by education and has worked as a design, process and quality engineer in the medical, electronics, and aerospace industries. He is enthusiastic about applying all he has learned through these experiences to 3D printing and sharing that with others.



2 Responses

Jeanne Cerniglia
Jeanne Cerniglia

January 21, 2018

I saw your interview in TEXTHING. I am looking for a 3-D printer for a reasonable amount of money for my classroom. I am a 7th grade math teacher in a school where the technology taught doesn’t move much past typing and google classroom. However I provide opportunities in my math class for project/ problem based learning scenarios that could include evolve to using a 3D printer. I am not a tech expert but feel my students are getting short changed in the general scheme of things. What guidance could you give me?

Gary Roth
Gary Roth

December 13, 2017

I totally agree about the Buildtak spatula. I got one a few weeks ago, and the skin on my knuckles is finally growing back.

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