Rigid.ink has launched “The Institute of 3D Printing” to help those new to 3D printing become more successful.
Rigid.ink is a long-time filament supplier based in the UK, so it may seem strange that they are offering educational services. However, filament producers are among those that perform the most unusual 3D printing due to the amount of internal testing required to certify products, thus they likely have a significant knowledge base in this area. It seems that the company is branching out to add another product line with this venture.
This project resonates with me, as many years ago I was in the precise scenario Rigid.ink is attempting to address: owning a new desktop 3D printer and having no idea where to start. When I started working with 3D printers around 10 years ago, however, there were virtually no resources to assist, aside from poorly prepared device manufacturer documentation and intermittent discussion forums filled with contradictory and confusing data.
Somehow I struggled through all that and became more-or-less competent at 3D printer operation. But it was not fun.
Over the succeeding years things have changed, somewhat.
First, the machines themselves have gotten far easier to use, and have greatly increased their printing reliability. In other words, its a bit harder to make mistakes.
That said, there are still many mistakes to make, even on the most advanced equipment. Failures can happen in so many ways that it is challenging to know every situation. There is no substitute for experience and knowledge.
Another improvement that’s happened over the past few years is the preponderance of a large number of online resources providing information about 3D printing, specifically tutorials. These are a terrific resource for those new to 3D printing, and even for those who are experienced but have encountered an unusual situation.
But there is a problem with these now-comprehensive resources: they are not organized in an easy way. Yes, there are plenty of them, and more than likely a tutorial video that shows exactly what you need to know, but the problem is finding them.
They are produced by different individuals for different purposes and given the large number of online learning points these days it can be quite challenging to navigate your way through them in an optimum way. Certainly it is possible to do so, but again, it is becoming not fun.
Enter Rigid.ink’s “Institute of 3D Printing”. They explain their motivation, which echoes my thoughts above:
“If you’ve ever independently learnt how to 3D print you’ll know that it can be just as difficult as it is satisfying. There’s a lot of helpful content out there, and a lot that’s not so helpful. Plus, the sheer amount of educational resources (both online and offline) can leave a learner feeling more confused and overwhelmed. You end up spending half your time on a forum working which commenter really knows their stuff and which ones are just giving it a good guess.“
And what might their solution be? They have launched an online educational portal with a complete set of educational videos prepared in a consistent manner, and “drip-fed” to you on a monthly basis. This is perhaps one of the best ways to learn: step by step. There would be little need for searching for other resources.
In addition, the Institute offers a private forum in which members are allowed to post their specific questions. These would be answered by experts, likely members of Rigid.ink’s team. They have significant experience in 3D printing as they have been supplying well-regarded filament to the world for many years, and no doubt performing constant tests of their products on different 3D printers.
There is a catch, however: access to the Institute is by subscription only. Currently it’s priced at US$27 per month, or US$270 for a 20%-off one-time annual payment.
Unlike other subscription services where an initial foray into the services quickly turns into a lifetime commitment (we’re looking at you, Adobe), I suspect the Institute’s subscriptions would be temporary, since members would at some point learn a sufficient amount to competently operate their equipment without the need for such assistance.
That being so, it would appear that the Institute could offer a great deal for those looking for easily-accessed 3D print learning services.