Not everyone likes to make their own [insert passionately loved thing here]. However, there are a lot of people that do, at all levels. Some have training, skills, and/or resources that others don’t have—which is cool for them, but it can get frustrating for folks who are just starting out, or who don’t have that kind of access.
It’s just as true for bike stuff as it is for, say, fancy cooking tools. Still, just because you don’t have a fancy stand mixer doesn’t mean that you can’t make your own cookies or bread—it just means that you have to approach it differently. The same is also true for a lot of DIY bike things. (I mean, there’s only one Allen Millyard in the world, right?)
That’s just one of many reasons why 3D printing technology is so fascinating to watch evolve, both in terms of the tech itself, and also the ways it’s become more accessible to greater numbers of people over time. Like many things technological, it starts out big, unwieldy, and expensive—but over time, it gets refined, prices come down to things that more people can afford, and both the tech and the knowledge on how to use it become more widespread. YouTubing custom bike builder Jish talks a bit about that in his latest video, where he also introduces us to the shiny new 3D printer he just got for the holidays.
It’s not his first 3D printer, but it’s also not going to replace the older, slower model that he’s been working with for the past few years. This new one can do the same work in half the time (or less) as the old one, which is fantastic. Still, as Jish sees it, that means he can now have two different pieces going at the same time in the two different printers. The new machine and the new nozzle he also got for it should allow him to begin experimenting with things like carbon fiber. So, he looks forward to 3D printing some carbon fiber parts for upcoming builds.
Like a lot of other specialized equipment, 3D printers aren’t at the point where they’re an impulse purchase. Although prices have come down over time, they’re still not exactly cheap. There’s also a learning curve involved, of course—not to mention the necessity of having someplace to put it if you do eventually decide to get a machine of your own.
If you’re interested in experimenting with 3D printers, it could be worth checking into things like public libraries and maker spaces in your area to get a taste. There may even be accompanying classes offered at local places that have 3D printers available for public use, so you don’t have to just go and read the manual in your spare time. Why not give yourself the gift of indulging your curiosity and enhancing your knowledge?