Yes, the fact of the matter is that the actual operation of a 3D printer is NOT the most important aspect of 3D printing, knowing how to create 3D objects with 3D software is! It's simple, you can't 3D print something unless you have a digital mesh of what ever it is you want to print. The use of a 3D printer is just the last step in the process of 3D printing. Creating something on in a 3D program is first!
As I mentioned in "part 1" of this blog, a vast amount of the people who run out and purchase a 3D printer soon have the revelation that if they want to print a unique idea of their own they're going to have to quickly learn how to create it first with 3D software. That being said, the task of learning anything 3D can be quite intimidating to say the very least!
It's no wonder that 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) is a scary proposition to get into. Whenever you see a vocational or technical school advertising that they offer training you always see these "technicians" with lab coats making it seam as though 3D knowledge is only reserved for people with high I.Q.'s and experts at math! (Editor's Note: Although my daughter graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Photonic Engineering & Optics and with Honors mind you; She certainly didn't get her math skills from dad! Although I have made a long career from using very math intensive CAD software I myself have always relied on the software to do all the math stuff for me.) The point is that learning how to use CAD software and other 3D programs is not too difficult! In fact, today's 3D programs are so intuitive that all it takes is a little effort mixed with a little patience and you're up and running in no time. The secret as with most things is in learning the basics first and that folks is better left for another blog.
So before you begin down the trail of learning how to 3D print take time to become familiar with one or more 3D programs that cater to your particular interests! A great FREE program to get started with is "TINKERCAD" by AutoDesk. It's easy to learn yet powerful and the knowledge you will gain will pave the way towards more robust 3D programs. You'll soon find that 3D printing is almost as easy as hitting the "print" button.... Almost!