In the early days of desktop 3D printing, getting and giving technical help wasn't just an emergency thing. It was the heartbeat of the entire experience. These days, thanks to vendors who paid close attention to customer feedback to help them produce better and better machines. Having a catastrophic failure with your printer is not a daily, weekly thing, it is a sometimes treat. In this video, I will share with you the wide range of resources online local and regional that you can take advantage of in order to have a much more successful experience with a desktop 3D printer. And this list extends well beyond emergency repairs and troubleshooting. In here also tips for grabbing technical data, safety tips, third-party add-ons, performing preventive maintenance and participating in online communities. Elements that are not break in case of emergency options, but are in my opinion entirely integral to fully engaging in the desktop 3D printing experience. Online resources, online resources are a critical component of desktop 3D printing and will be emphasized here. Head in to the website for the machine manufacturer, you can find product details, source files and assembly repair instructions, tutorials and techniques, sales and technical support. Probably you or someone else checked out the manufacturers site before you bought the machine to give you a sense of what would be possible with the choice. Now you explore these resources again with a very different eye. What are they useful resources? The onboarding troubleshooting guides, the best practices and advanced techniques that I need to use for my projects. Most manufacturers will state their customer and technical support offerings as well as provide contacts you can use to initiate a technical support ticket. With the ultimate career ecosystem, the resellers have been trained to provide the direct help needed for those just getting started. And you can contact your reseller for help, to steer you in the right direction. Depending on the project your most critical first visit might not be to your equipment manufacturer, but instead to the manufacturer of a specialty printing filament, for example. It should come as no surprise that most filament manufacturers have websites too and while some of these are rather more bare of details and I would like. A number of them have excellent applications guidance as well as specific profile settings for the various slicers. At a material manufacturers site, you might find technical data sheets, TDS, and material safety data sheets called MSDS. General and machine specific settings, adhesion strategy suggestions, temperature suggestions, best practices to achieve specific effects such as transparency, conductivity, high strength and mold release. These days many of the online resellers themselves are excellent clearinghouses of information. Because they sell and service a range of machines materials and accessories, they need to really know their stuff to serve their customers well. As a result, their sites tend to offer excellent machine agnostic as well as machine specific tips and tricks. And if they sold you equipment or material, they will be particularly eager to help you. Some ways resellers and online shops can help you, third-party accessories and tools including adhesion strategies, parts removal tools and post processing tools, paints, materials, etc. And also support and replacement parts. Local and regional resources, next local and regional resources. If you are lucky enough to have one of the remaining 3D printing stores in your area, those can be great places to visit to see the latest printer models materials and accessories. They offer many of the options that resellers and online shops offer, but with the added value of granting you physical access to seeing the items for yourselves. Probably the most useful element offered by local stores and showrooms are access to technical demonstrations and training. And sometimes, those who are not local to your area who will travel to area in order to offer technical demonstrations and training for those who are interested. People often ask if there are third-party service centers for 3D printers. And as of this taping, there aren't that many for desktop despite my best efforts to get entrepreneur really inclined customers and resellers to go for this as 3D printers play a more and more critical role in businesses. You'll see the return of this service bureaus concept for desktop 3D printing. But even if there isn't a store or reseller showroom or other specialty 3D printing focus place, here are some other local places you might want to check. A local school are university academic makerspace, hackerspaces, makerspaces and fab labs, meetups and 3D printing hobbyist groups. Local and regional conferences and conventions around 3D printing, cosplay and other things that touch 3D printing. Individual consultants, experts and enthusiasts. And if you strike out with the above, you can get a lot of help you probably need for post processing and working with these materials by reaching out beyond the 3D printing field. Ask a machinist, auto body repair shop, cynic, carpenter, fabrication shop or foundry. Online communities, online communities are a critical component of desktop 3D printing and I've emphasized them throughout this series. The primary reason for this is that to some degree, informal research sources such as community forums, blogs. And even social media are often the only viable routes to accurate information for field that hasn't yet benefited strongly from deep scholarship and trade leadership. Nor are there as many means such as public and trade policy to collect all of the field data for all these manufacturers and vendors. So that true field wide assessments can even be made. Most of the real on the ground information is with the people and the people who share it tend to do so online so that others can benefit. Let's start with online forums, news groups and communities. Most of the critical information for this field appears here before it appears anywhere else. Desktop 3D printing's history would have been far different without these sorts of resources. And hunting back through the archives, you can glean most of the history of this field rolling out in front of you live. There are official and authorized sources, usually maintained by a hardware or software manufacturer. And there are also unofficial and active user driven online communities. Some of them are 3D printing specific. Some of them are within larger online user communities such as Reddit. And some of them are within subfields and circles of expertise, cosplay, replica props, scale models, sculpture, robotics, engineering, electronics. It goes without saying if you are familiar with online communities that the most courteous way to engage with them is first to perform a thorough search for answers to your questions before you post your own. Otherwise, the resulting response is maybe more needlessly cranky than you really need. Finding the real gems of advice there may require you to wade through the murk to find solutions and allies. This is one of the more annoying things about joining the conversation at an online community late in the game. However, if you switch your strategy to noticing which responders are more measured and helpful, you might quickly find a more direct route to getting the help you need. In every case I've ever seen, when the moment comes for you to share a question online, you want to be mindful. To include all of the pertinent context so that your question can actually be answered. Don't just shout, it doesn't work, into the void. Take the time to tell the story of what you intended. What equipment, material, software you have, what you have tried and what has resulted. Share pictures, please, if you can, video, even better. If you hit all of those key marks, the resulting responses should be much more on the mark and helpful to you. This area is also one of the best means of getting help with project challenges. In many cases, searching forums designer operator blogs and other social media can be the best way to obtain useful information. In the absence of other traditional information sources in particular. Depending on how protective the IP around your project is, you may need to anonymize the project to a degree. If your needs are very specific and cannot be shared in public, reaching out to specific members of these online communities can be an excellent means to get what you need. Some may even allow you to hire them as consultants for a conversation to keep the details of your project private. The other wildly active online component of the 3D printing ecosystem is no surprise, social media. Anything a list about this route will be wrong weeks after I record this so no need to go into how to embed 3D printed models in your Myspace Pages or how to join Google+ Communities here head online to The Usual Suspects such as YouTube Twitter Facebook and Instagram find what excites you and follow those. Otters back to their online presences and listings of where they are active and why Beyond emergencies online communities social media online courses moocs blogs podcasts feeds and even magazines are also excellent sources for things that will really make a difference in your design and 3D printing practice. They deepen your understanding and Mastery of the component elements of the activity and the related skills that prepare you to best solve the problems. You're solving the 3D printing these Beyond emergency repairs and troubleshooting sources are not break in case of emergency options. And are integral to fully engaging in the desktop 3D printing experience. They help you to collect and master technical data more gradually offering you better tools to analyze and assess good routes the offer immediate and long-term safety tips for engaging this work not available with any single resource. They introduce you to third-party add-ons and unauthorized methodologies for using and setting shot policies around the equipment software and materials and they help you tune in perform preventative maintenance to Certainly, improve your efficiency and your 3D printing experience. Best practices while you navigate all these resources. I have the following best practice recommendations first create a resource cheat sheet for each machine. You will be using aggressively add the official support contact details collect resources. You need at Hand Solve your own problems add links to community forums both official and unofficial collect contact details for users. You come into contact with who have been helpful to you. Maybe this is something I do because I'm used to Being set up printing Labs, but I have always found these resources speed up onboarding improve early progress with new operators and encouraged Advanced users to share their knowledge and improve the use of the equipment for all who can benefit. The next best practice is to perform a weekly scrape of online resources. You can practically automate this process and sift quickly through the results like you do flipping through social media. It's great news related to your equipment and software scrape for news related to Advanced Techniques and best practices such as post-processing. Joinery and new materials. It's great for use cases and application details from projects in your field. If you do this, you'll be letting the world beta test your software and equipment for you. So you can stand on their shoulders and focus your real energy and attention to applying these discoveries to actually solving problems design and Engineering challenges with this technology. Those are the resources that have proven themselves time and time again as points of inspiration as well as helping me solve day-to-day challenges and remember that even if you can't find the immediate help you need from the desktop 3D printing community. There are quite a few other local and Regional experts who might not only help you with your specific challenge. That might be an excellent source for gaining a deeper understanding of the Core Physical and Technical challenges related to fabricating an object. I strongly suggest that when the opportunity presents itself you find a local machinist fabrication shop or Foundry staff member willing to hear about your challenges. These folks might not know your equipment but their background solving similar technical challenges might be brought to bear on the sort of part you were going to produce you're likely to leave a conversation with one of these seasoned experts with a better understanding what your technical challenges are and some details that will help you identify field-specific. Jargon, you can use to search through desktop 3D printing specific resources online.