As mesmerizing and innovative as 3D printing might be, the truth is that this technology is still in a very infantile state. At the moment, the FDM 3D printing market is primarily utilized by engineers, designers, makers, and even some ambitious hobbyists and enthusiasts. This ambition is necessary for optimal use of 3D printing, particularly due to the steep learning curve and required patience.

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that improvements in quality and accessibility are needed to push the industry forward. But in order to do that, every person involved in the 3D printing community should be personally or financially invested in some way, shape, or form.

One of the best ways to do this is to support access to free and convenient content for both beginners and advanced users. There are a number of designers and makers across the world who have created exceptionally functional objects that can be easily 3D printed. While most of these 3D models are freely available on platforms like Thingiverse or MyMiniFactory, these designers still work at great length to bring these digital ideas into the physical world.

It isn’t just designers pushing the industry further, there are also a wide range of makers expanding the possibilities of 3D printing through various YouTube channels. Whether it be how-to cosplay instructional or 3D printer reviews, channels like Maker’s Muse and Thomas Sanladerer make 3D printing more accessible and enjoyable for all.

As we all know, not much in this world is free, and thus these creators are usually in need of support to dedicate the long hours to their craft. Now, you might be asking, “how can you offer financial support to a designer or maker who gives his/her content away for free?” Well, many designers and makers have turned to Patreon, which is essentially a crowdfunding platform but for creators and innovators instead of products.

As for Filaments.directory, we constantly make sure to set aside some of our budget to strengthen the state of the 3D printing community. On Patreon, we’ve already contributed to designers like Agustin Flowalistik and Simone Fontana, as well as YouTube channels like Thomas Sanladerer, Maker’s Muse, 3D Printing Nerd, and JAT.MN. We’ve even supported actual 3D printing platforms like OctoPrint, a 3D printing web interface developed by German coder Gina Häußge.

So, if you’re wondering how you can help make a difference in the 3D printing community and help advance the industry forward, send over some spare change to those who are working diligently to innovate and expand this emerging technology.

If you know of some designers, makers, or products that we or readers should support, feel free to comment them below!