Today is the day Fabbaloo finally publishes our 10,000th story and, in fact, this very post is the one.
It’s been a very long time since I started writing about 3D printing in 2007, and much has been learned in that time.
In the early days I would post one story a week, and no one would read it. Only after several months did we begin to gain a bit of traffic and from then on it’s been growth in readers worldwide. Today we publish up to 30 stories per week, and I have to admit they are of far better quality than my original efforts years ago, thanks to the efforts of our numerous guest writers and Managing Editor Sarah Goehrke.
The industry has changed an astonishing amount since our start in 2007. Back then the only 3D printers available were expensive commercial units from a few major manufacturers, who had the entire industry under control via key patents. There were no desktop 3D printers, and in fact the notion of having one was considered science fiction by some at the time.
Today the world is awash in 3D printers, both large and small. New materials have opened up vast new applications in industry. Desktop 3D printers have matured and many are almost as capable as those early commercial devices. Most importantly, those children who began learning 3D printing a decade ago are now entering the professional world, equipped with a new way of thinking about making things.
I hope some of our stories helped them along the way.
Fabbaloo’s Most Popular Posts
Among our 10,000 posts on 3D printing and related technologies, there are many stories that have been extremely popular. Our five most viewed stories ever are these:
This 2015 piece was, I thought, a rather simple story on the difference between the two major types of extrusion systems. I sketched up a couple of simple diagrams to illustrate the difference and explained the advantages and disadvantages of each. It is still one of our most frequently read stories.
This was another explanatory post from 2015 looking at how filament is measured. While the material is most often sold per weight, there are some who sell it in length — or volume. Again, this seems to be a topic of interest in the community.
This is an older story, from 2016, about Carbon’s then-new business model in the 3D printing industry, where machines and materials were offered by subscription rather than being purchased outright. The story explained how to figure out what your true total cost of commitment would be. However, while the concept is still valid, the story’s data is now obsolete and I really should get new numbers from Carbon and recalculate.
This popular 2014 story resonated with the community as it appeared about the same time as MakerBot, freshly purchased by Stratasys, made changes to their Thingiverse policies that upset a great deal of contributors. Many sought alternative public 3D model repositories to store their designs, and I made a list of several reputable options. However, the list is severely out of date, and we updated the story with a new version in 2018.
For a time this was one of our most-read stories. It describes a terrifying 2016 situation in the Philippines where a 3D print entrepreneur was apparently kidnapped and ultimately was never heard of again.
My Favorite Posts
When I write stories for Fabbaloo it’s always quite confusing to me. Sometimes I’ll write what I think is a great story, but few seem to read it. Alternatively, I’ll whip up a straightforward story and it collects massive interest. I guess my thoughts on 3D print topics are a bit different at times.
Here’s a list of five stories that stick in my mind, and some of them you may not have seen previously.
This was our most-read story of 2019, and it dealt with an actual misadventure involving a 3D printer operator getting their hair caught in a 3D printer. The probability of this happening was so incredibly low few believed the story was real and we were repeatedly accused of making it up. But in fact it was real as we reviewed a private video showing the incident in real time, which we detailed in a follow up post. Safety first, folks.
You may not know we receive a truckloads of incoming mail asking all kinds of questions about 3D printing and other matters. Sometimes the emails are so astoundingly silly we like to collect them and provide “virtual responses” once in a while. This particular episode included some of the most ridiculous messages we’ve ever seen. If you want a few laughs, please read this one.
Yes, I know this one appeared only last week, but it sticks out in my mind because it is the single longest story I’ve ever written for Fabbaloo, coming in at around 6,000 words over the four parts of the review. This piece was a huge amount of work to produce and I’m quite happy with the result.
Way back in 2007 when we were just starting we made a post about the then-new MCOR Technologies sheet-paper 3D printing technology. The story was picked up by some major outlets and the post became our first “hit”.
At the very peak of 3D print expectations in early 2014 before the big crash, I attended CES in Las Vegas, which at the time was a reasonable place to present new 3D printing equipment. Upon entering the 3D Systems booth I was captured by their then-CEO and led by the hand through a seemingly endless series of new machines being announced, hence the title of the piece. Color 3D printers, food 3D printers, personal 3D printers and more were all announced at once. What’s notable is that all of the equipment presented didn’t succeed and disappeared from the market only a short time later. One color 3D printer presented never made it to the market, ever, in spite of being presented at three consecutive CES shows.
Our thanks to the many millions of people who have viewed our stories over the past 13 years. Everyone on the Fabbaloo team hopes you gained value from our efforts, and we’re going to continue helping 3D printing technology grow in the future.
Our next 10,000 posts will be delivered a lot faster than the first 10,000. At our current publication rate, that should occur some time in mid-2027.
See you then!