The Six Types of Desktop 3D Printer Personalities

By on June 25th, 2024 in Ideas, news

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There are certain personas that tend to use desktop 3D printers. Which one are you?

Over the years I’ve seen many different people using desktop 3D printers, and today there’s literally millions of people using them everyday. However, these people are not all the same. People tend to use them for different purposes, and for fun I’ve categorized them into what I’ve seen.

Which one are you? Are you more than one?

The Maker

Making some cool parts on a 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

This persona is all about making things. They could be parts for a project, tools for a friend, or household items. It doesn’t matter what they are or who they are for: the goal here is the joy of making things, having things appear out of thin air.

The Tinkerer

Continually tuning a desktop 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

The tinkerer persona is a bit different. They care less about the parts produced and focus more on the machine itself. Their goal is to make the best, most efficient, cheapest, fastest, or machine. They will modify their machine, add parts, tweak parameters, build 3D printer kits and more. Their joy is found in the beauty of the machine itself.

The Admirer

Influencer with fancy 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

The admirer is neither interested in the parts nor the machine’s internals. They merely want to have a machine visible and available. They may not even use the machine often, because their joy is in simply having a machine that others can see: “Look at my 3D printer!!!” They also tend to acquire the flashier and more current models.

The Parent

Parent teaching child how to 3D print [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

The parent persona is straightforward: a parent wants to help educate their offspring by engaging with them through 3D printing projects. It helps children learn project workflows, experience the creative process — and make some toys, too. The parent’s joy is in teaching their children by using the 3D printer.

The Inventor

Inventor using 3D printed parts [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

The inventor cares little about the 3D printer, but merely has one around to make parts for their project or projects. Their joy is found in the inventions they produce with the 3D printed parts, and the 3D printer is considered more as a “cost of doing business”. They may be concerned about the quality of the parts produced, and could easily switch models to improve the quality or speed of production.

The Entrepreneur

3D print entrepreneur in a print farm [Source: Fabbaloo / LAI]

The entrepreneur is a business person that is using 3D printing as a business. They may operate one or many 3D printers, but their goal is to produce parts for sale. They could be printing their own designs, or those of others, but the joy is in receiving cash for the production of the prints. Their interest in machines is mainly around cost efficiency, reliability and throughput.

Are there other 3D printing personas? Which ones have I missed?

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!