When you first google and research 3D printing you are introduced into a world of innovation and engineering. A place where people are pushing the limits of the technology to change the world. But as an average Joe you might be looking at it to make fun toys, little fixes around the house or to develop your own projects on the weekend.

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The original Benchy [Source: Thingiverse ]

As soon as you begin following 3D printing forums and Facebook groups made by the community for the community you will begin to find trends. A lot of people are printing the same objects and showing them off. Things like Benchy, Baby Groot, Hairy Lion and the Yoda head. The community thrives off these trends. This community is always hungry for new content and new projects.

Once you have committed and bought yourself a machine the best thing you could do is actually print out these popular models… even if you are not into Guardians of the Galaxy. The reason is simple — and no this isn’t click bait, this is some sound advice. I swear!

Every printer that is manufactured is not 100% the same as others. These can be down to the manufacturer, the material you use and the environment in which you print. A good example is your 3D printer prints at its optimum at 197°C while another will printer best at 205°C. That’s why these models are perfect to help tune your printer and find any flaws.

Benchy is probably the most popular and widely used benchmark model. (Hence the name Benchy.) This model, designed by CreativeTools, is made to push the limits of your printer and show you the full capabilities of your machine. It features some gnarly overhangs. Smooth curved surfaces. A few arches and bridges and thin areas. Printing this will allow you to see the capabilities of the machine you bought and is the first step to getting on your feet 3D printing even greater things. Maybe even a Giant Benchy!

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Me and a Giant Benchy at SOLIDWORKS World 2017

Now if the unfortunate were to happen and it fails miserably you can then take pictures and ask the community what went wrong and why. As the Benchy is a universal benchmark amongst the community and almost anyone in 3D printing has made one or seen one and so will be able to identify the problem and give you some sound advice. I’ve used this model to find and show problems I had with my own machine and learned how to fix it by asking the community.

Other popular models that get released, such as Baby Groot and Yoda head, are fun projects which push your printer’s capabilities even further. Both these models follow their respective pop culture trends. For example, the Baby Groot model was released soon after the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer. Both models feature extremely high detailed surface area and some even crazier overhangs. Similar to the Benchy you can use these models to see how your machine compares to other people’s printers and swap tips and techniques. Also printing a Baby Groot for that special someone is the perfect gift leading up to the release of the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

The latest trend that has emerged in the community is the hairy lion. This model shows off a new way to use your machine. Creating a fan out of bridged material. Once the print is finished you remove the support cylinder and then use a hair dryer or heat gun to style the hair of the lion. Taking full advantage of the properties of the filament where you can style the hair once heated a little. This will make each lion different.

While big companies are making huge strides with 3D printing and innovating the technology, the maker community is making their own innovations in smaller, fun strides. A few years ago the models created for 3D printing were a lot different than they are now and it shows that the more people entering the industry the more minds we have to create better and exciting things. So remember to follow these trends. Use them to their full potential. The community is there to help you out as they will benefit from it too. Discuss in the Popular 3D Models forum at 3DPB.com.

 

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