We might not live in the future where 3D printers are as common as microwaves, and that makes sense. Most people don’t really need one, and they’re rarely worth the expense even if they could be useful for you. However, I’ve found one exception to this rule: the Elegoo Mars. Especially if you’re a big nerd like me.
The Elegoo Mars series of 3D printers are a bit different from the 3D printers you might’ve seen before. Instead of using a nozzle that melts filament to trace out an object, these are photocuring resin printers. They work by using ultraviolet light from a screen in the base of the printer to harden specific spots in a pool of liquid resin—layer by layer—until a full product emerges.
The technicalities might sound dry and boring until you see the results. Resin printing provides much more highly detailed prints than you’ll get from filament-based printers. This not only cuts down on all the sanding and post-processing work you’d otherwise have to do, but it also makes it possible to print smaller, more intricate things that other printers would struggle with.
This level of precision makes the Elegoo 3D printers perfect for, say, building out your collection of Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. Model-generating tools like Hero Forge let you customize minis and download the corresponding 3D files. Sure, you can order physical copies from the service, but a resin printer lets you make as many copies of the mini as you want. Your Warhammer army is just a few hours away.
Now, I’ll admit Warhammer isn’t my nerd kink. In fact, I’ve used my 3D printers for … weirder things. But one of my favorite uses is making cosplay bits. Say you wanted to go to a con as Doctor Strange. There are plenty of models from helpful community members out there who have already designed the Eye of Agamotto he wears around his neck, and you can download them and print them yourself.
This, in my opinion, is the real reason to have a 3D printer in your house—not as a utility to bring down the cost of mundane products, but as a creative tool. There’s no world where buying and learning how to use a 3D printer will save you enough money on pencil holders to justify the cost from a practical standpoint.