By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
An old friend of mine never bought anything mechanical that cost more than a buck and a half without exhaustive research on alternatives. Normally, this is a good idea. The problem was analysis paralysis: They’d make a list yet charge into evaluation before developing any methodology remotely resembling semi-empirical that would guide them to an informed decision. So, from a flood of unsorted data, they’d elevate to key some irrelevant datum – say, a car dealer’s shirt — then buy the car that had initially tweaked their “I need it” gene. That is, they’d end up with a car that cost more in headaches than they ever imagined.
Companies do this sort of thing too. You know the deal: Some honcho sees a nifty machine at a trade show and determines that you gotta get one. And while the machine may look impressive sitting over there and it may do what it’s supposed to, it’s still not THE machine that you really need from all sorts of angles: cost per unit, ongoing maintenance, supplies, operator training, whatever. The homework really wasn’t done.
The short PDF that is today’s Check It Out addresses that situation with 3D printers. You know that all of them get you a physical copy of your design. But how they get you there and what it means to own one, however, is another story. This article will help you develop a methodology to sort the data and arrive at a point where you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Sponsored by Z Corporation, the article goes through the big areas – say, initial and ongoing costs — as well as small areas that can become big when not properly vetted before you buy, such as materials and installation considerations. (My friend bought a car that didn’t fit the garage, resulting in an expensive, surprise modification.) The article also comes with a brief but handy checklist to get you going. Not in the least does it beat you over the head to buy a Z Corporation unit, although it has a small sidebar offering one company’s impressions — with numbers – of their Z Corporation 3D printer.
One of the trickiest things in life at home and work is reining in the “gimme it now” impulse. Our attics and storage areas are filled with fully operational stuff that just didn’t make the grade. I mean, geez, whole businesses – think eBay – are devoted to selling you my dumb purchases. The solution is to take the time to map out the angles and consequences of what you intend to buy before you write the check. Today’s Check It Out write-up has some handy tips to get you going developing the right methodology for buying a 3D rapid prototyping system. Hit the link and see for yourself.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering