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Best 3D Printing Forums, Boards, and Groups

Picture of Sriram Renganathan
by Sriram Renganathan
Sep 21, 2019
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3D printing is a hot industry at the moment, and there are many places people gather to discuss it. Check out the top online 3D printing forums and groups you can be a part of.

3D Printing Forum Why Do They Exist?

Professionals come together at the Austrian 3D-Printing Forum.
Professionals come together at the Austrian 3D-Printing Forum. (Source: 3d-printing-forum.at)

The 3D printing industry and community have been transforming at a rapid rate. As new processes are being developed regularly, it’s useful for experts and hobbyists to share their experiences to benefit the 3D printing ecosystem as a whole. Discussion in these online communities and forums is generally about:

  • Raw material selection: The choice of raw materials and its effect on the end result.
  • Process variables: There are so many settings to tweak, after all.
  • Optimization: Sometimes, it’s important to track lead time and cost savings. Generally, in 3D printing, the optimization can be done on the design side, process side, or raw materials side.
  • Standards and certification: As 3D printing is still in its nascent stages, there is a need for standardization in some applications. For instance, 3D printed implants should have to adhere to the standards of regulatory bodies so that they’re clinically approved.
  • Training & skill development: It’s always nice to learn from the experiences of others.
  • Networking: Valuable online connections can transform into mentorship and business opportunities.
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3D Printing Forum LinkedIn Groups: Focused and Professional

The iSAME group on LinkedIn
The iSAME group on LinkedIn. (Source: LinkedIn)

LinkedIn has been the preferred platform for professional networking for many years. Though it has low engagement rates, the content here is rated highly among 3D printing experts.

A. International Society for Additive Manufacturing Engineers (iSAME)

The International Society for Additive Manufacturing Engineers (iSAME) was founded in 2016 by experts in Colorado. Currently, the group consists of 3D printing enthusiasts from over 14 countries who actively participate in group discussions. The group mostly has interesting discussions on 3D printing news.

Features:

  • You will hear about the most advanced research areas in 3D printing.
  • The members are extremely professional, which improves the quality of discussion.

B. 3D Printing World Community Club (3D Printing for All)

The 3D Printing World Community Club is a consortium of individuals including influencers, makers, consultants, and researchers. This is a diverse group with professionals from aerospace, medical, architecture, and manufacturing.

Features:

  • You get access to the latest updates on product development in 3D printing.
  • They regularly organize exhibitions to promote 3D printing.
  • They organize an event to recognize the best talents in the 3D printing industry every year.

C. Other groups

Additive Manufacturing (AM) – Rapid Prototyping, Tooling, and Manufacturing is dedicated to people who are interested in rapid prototyping and generative design. This is usually an active group which has updates every hour. Currently, the group has 15,000 members.

Alexander Daniel is a group for connecting networking professionals across the world. The group mainly intends to connect professionals across 3D printing companies.

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3D Printing Forum Facebook Groups: Active and Friendly

Joining is free to anyone!
Joining is free to anyone! (Source: Facebook)

Facebook is an active platform where 3D printing users of all calibers and from all over the world can meet each other and share. There are many regional Facebook groups which help users connect offline as well, which is the main difference between communities on Facebook and elsewhere.

A. 3D Printing Group

3D Printing Group” is the largest and most active 3D printing Facebook group. The interaction level is high, so queries get a response almost immediately.

Features:

  • Self-promotion, spam, and irrelevant posts are not allowed.
  • Very active members, one of the earliest of these groups on Facebook.

B. 3D Printing Club (3DPC)

3DPC is another group where members can ask questions and share experiences relating to 3D printing.

Features:

  • This group has eight sections: Discussion, Announcements, Members, Events, Videos, Photos, Files, and Recommendations.
  • Active at any hour of the day.
  • Commercial posts and advertising are allowed with approval from admins.
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3D Printing Forum Non-Profit Communities: Inspiring

RepRap's 10-year celebration.
RepRap's 10-year celebration. (Source: Wikipedia)

A. RepRap Community

The abbreviation “RepRap” stands for replicating rapid prototyper. It started in 2005 in England as an initiative to develop a low-cost printer that could print most of its own components and thus could spread quickly.

Features:

  • It has two mailing lists, one each for RepRap users and RepRap developers.
  • Local user groups and makerspaces provide local hubs.

B. Ytec 3D’s forum

Ytec3D is a platform which showcases technical projects involving 3D printing. This forum was created by a mechanical engineer to share all the projects he does in 3D printing to inspire people.

Features:

  • Users need to register and log in to take part in the discussions.
  • The discussion board has two categories, one each for 3D printing and projects.

C. 3DPrintforums.com

A relatively engaged group useful for hobbyists who frequently buy and use machines.

Features:

  • Community forums contain news articles, important announcements, website links, and videos.
  • This forum has a separate section known as “Classifields” for buying and selling 3D printing hardware, software, and materials.
  • This group also has discussions for industrial printing solutions, DIY printers, and site support.
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3D Printing Forum Additive Manufacturing Society of Manufacturing Engineering (ASME): Training and Cerification

Five-axis 3D printing concept.
Five-axis 3D printing concept. (Source: Makezine)

SME’s Additive Manufacturing community has specialized advisors who provide timely and expert guidance to its members. In addition, the platform also offers an Interactive Rapid Additive Manufacturing Portal (iRAMP), which allows you to make informed decisions when considering the purchase of 3D printers.

Features:

  • Provides many interesting case studies
  • Provides additive manufacturing expertise specific to aerospace, consumer products, energy, medical, and automotive/transportation
  • Conducts additive manufacturing certification programs for individuals (beginner level and advanced) to realize a long-term career in 3D printing
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3D Printing Forum i-AM Digital: Nurturing Talents

i-AM's personalized articles and courses.
i-AM's personalized articles and courses. (Source: i-AM digital)

i-AM Digital is a professional platform that helps in mentoring, coaching, and educating people. The company is based in Barcelona, Spain, and connects talented individuals to additive manufacturing training providers and companies.

The most interesting thing about this platform is the personalized experience it offers, including tailor-made courses.

Features:

  • Offers personalized experience according to your skills and interests
  • Has an integrated job opportunities platform, which also lists job openings from top 3D printing companies
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3D Printing Forum Manufacturer Forums: Machine-Specific Information

A discussion board from the Ultimaker community
A discussion board from the Ultimaker community (Source: Ultimaker)

A. Ultimaker Forum

Much of the discussion here is centered around Ultimaker machines and products, but since this brand is always on the bleeding edge of consumer 3D printing, you can also expect to find chatter on emerging trends. It’s also a good place to go for troubleshooting technical difficulties.

Features:

  • The forum is divided into several categories: General, The Art of Printing, Community, Hardware, Software & Firmware, Materials, Education, and Language.
  • The most recent information will be presented first.
  • The forum has a leader board, showing the top contributing members.

B. Shapeways

Expect to find discussion on advanced 3D printing technologies and topics specific to Shapeways’ 3D printing service. This is a great place to go if you have questions on professional or industrial 3D printing processes, such as SLS, especially as a creator or designer.

Features:

  • The forum has a section dedicated to the latest news on Shapeways called “Official Announcements”.
  • There is a separate section called “Interests”, which includes applications like jewelry, miniatures, and RC vehicles, among others.
  • A section called “Design and 3D Printing” focuses on trends in design, materials, software, and post-processing.

3. Lulzbot Forum

This forum specializes in the technical: hardware and software topics. Perhaps this is because the discussion centers on Lulzbot machines, which are highly upgradeable and open-source.

Features:

  • The forum has a section that discusses hardware, software, and filaments.
  • The development section consists of documentation of hardware and software.
  • The education section offers a wide range of case studies, research kits, tutorials, and models.
  • The community section provides product updates and a user-populated gallery.
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3D Printing Forum In Closing

A hackathon for the 3D printing community.
A hackathon for the 3D printing community. (Source: Makezine)

These 3D printing forums can help you by connecting you to experts in the industry. It’s best to spend some time picking which forum is best for you so that you not only gain value from the interactions, but also provide value back into the community.

(Lead image source: World Economic Forum / Flickr)

License: The text of "Best 3D Printing Forums, Boards, and Groups" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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