The rise of 3D printing has created a vibrant and fast-growing community of users. And this community of makers is also playing a big part in the development of 3D printing. As it’s the case with many technical or “geeky” topics, thousands of 3D printing enthusiasts share online everyday about their experiences and challenges with 3D printing. Many platforms have appeared where 3D printer users can interact, from 3D printing forums to online 3D printing communities and other discussion groups dedicated to 3D printer users. These forums and discussion groups are extremely useful resources for 3D printing users. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced 3D printing user, being able to easily ask the community and get instant advice from knowledgeable 3D printing users worldwide is priceless. For example, if you’re looking to buy a 3D printer, getting first hand feedback and advice from existing owners through 3D printing forums can be highly valuable and an important complement to factual data from the manufacturer for instance.
Among the favorite topics discussed on 3D printing forums and groups: technical questions, advice to purchase a 3D printer, sharing 3D prints pictures (sometimes print fails!), sharing pictures of 3D printers and setups, thoughts on the 3D printing industry… No matter the topic, dozens or more of passionate members of the 3D printing community are likely to have something interesting to say!
One thing to keep in mind: among the most visible and active community members, you often find people who have a financial stake in 3D printing. Be that 3D printing equipment brands employees, resellers, 3DP Youtubers, bloggers or writers (like Aniwaa), they are all generating some revenue from 3D printing (or they’re trying to!). It is not an issue per se since these users are most often experts and genuinely willing to help, but it can become one when they use their influence to push their own business at the expense of others. It may sound obvious but as for everything, get your information from several sources to make your own opinion and don’t assume whoever is shouting louder is right! The good thing here is that the collective intelligence usually works well and disguised advertising or simply clickbait links are quickly exposed (we learned that lesson the hard way!).
So, what are some of the best 3D printing forums and discussion groups? There are hundreds of websites where conversations about 3D printing is ongoing and the ones listed below are only the tip of the iceberg. But they are a good place to start if you need information or advice beyond what’s in your 3D printer manual. We focused on general 3D printing forums and discussion groups: keep in mind there are also many forums dedicated to specific brands or 3D printers and these are super useful, too.
We have listed in this article some of the best online 3D printing forums and 3D printing discussion groups. They are classified by category:
- Facebook groups about 3D printing
- 3D printing forums
- 3D printing Google+ communities and Google Groups
- Linkedin 3D printing groups
Facebook groups about 3D printing
Facebook groups about 3D printing are among our favorites resources. They are convenient to follow and there are quite a few of them, devoted to specific sub-topics of additive manufacturing. Some Facebook groups are even specifically dedicated to a 3D printer model or brand, making it super easy to get feedback, tips and advice for fellow owners. Most of the 3D printing discussion groups listed here are closed (you have to join to participate and see the content) and managed by active admins and moderators. We have listed here the two main Facebook 3D printing groups.
3D Printing – 18k+ members
This one is probably the most active 3D printing group we follow. Posts by community members often get a lot of comments and reactions, especially those related to technical questions, making this discussion group a very interesting 3D printing resource. Quite a lot of posts are simply members sharing their latest prints or unboxing pictures: you can really feel the passion and community spirit here! Posting guidelines are pretty strict and follow the “no advertising” rule. In this group especially, rules are enforced diligently and members won’t hesitate to call you up if you don’t follow them, so you better make sure you have admin approval before posting about your Kickstarter. However, most admins/moderators of this group have their own Youtube channel about 3D printing and they tend to promote their content quite often. Which is fine since most of these videos are interesting and useful, but there is a double standard since the “no advertising” rule does not seem to apply to them. Some 3D printing brands are also quite visible on the group, either through contests/promotions or by sending free 3D printers or filament for review to members. That said, this 3D printing group has a great dynamic and it is a must if you’re into learning new things and making the most of what the 3D printing community has to offer.
3D Printing Club – 23k+ members
This one is the Facebook 3D printing group with the highest count of members, but it’s not as active as the one above, especially as of late (or so it seems to us). While this group supposedly follows a strong “no advertising” rule, admins have actually turned the whole group into an actual company, 3DPC.co. Their first business venture was a subscription service for 3D filaments, launched a few months back. We guess it was not so successful because they seem to have stopped this experiment. The risk is that this group becomes more a platform for 3DPC.co than a place where members share experiences and learn things about 3D printing. But as of today, there are still a lot of interesting 3D printed-related conversations going on.
3D Printer Hobbyists – 6k+ members
This is the only “open” Facebook group for 3D printing enthusiasts. An interesting feature is the Sales section where members can buy and sell used equipment. Admins are more neutral than in the two groups mentioned above, since they don’t have a 3D printing business to promote. But the community is less active than in the group “3D Printing”.
3D Scanning Users Group – 12k+ members
This group is, obviously, dedicated to 3D scanning. It is more geared towards professional users, since 3D scanners are less mainstream than 3D printers. As 3D scanner users, we find it to be the most useful 3D scanning discussion group, with lots of active members and conversations. Even if you’re not a 3D scanning experts, it can be interesting to take a look!
The OpenR/C Project – 700+ members
The OpenR/C Project is an open initiative to create R/C products which are almost entirely 3D printable. This project was started by Swedish 3D designer maker Daniel Norée. The most famous R/C model ready for 3D printing they have created so far is this awesome Formula One racing car. And if you’re interested in this great project and want to dive in, you can also engage with the OpenR/C community on Google+.
3D printing forums and discussion websites
We’re now moving a little bit deeper into 3D printing geeks territory. Forums in general kind of belong to a past era of internet, but some of them are still super active and can be extremely useful resources. Especially on specific and technical topics such as 3D printing. No matter the subject, forums tend to host a high concentration of hardcore fans and they are the place where “keepers of the flame” thrive. 3D printing forums are no exception. Indeed, the whole reprap movement started with a community of passionate people who used forums to share ideas on how to create affordable, DIY additive manufacturing solutions.
/r/3dprinting subreddit – 60k+ members
It’s not really a forum in the traditional sense but this subreddit represent an important online 3D printing community nonetheless. Newbies beware: comments can be harsh, in the Reddit spirit. Upvoted posts are very often pictures of very cool 3D prints (or print fails!). Expect some very in-depth conversations on technical topics, too. A must for advanced 3D printing users.
Another very useful subreddit for DIY 3D printer enthusiasts is /r/reprap, dedicated to reprap 3 printers, where around 8k members share tips and help each others out. The RepRap movement is alive and thriving here!
Quora 3D printing topic – 22k+ followers
Quora is a platform where people ask questions and other users provide educated, in-depth answers. It sets itself apart by the quality of the answers provided, which are usually quite elaborated and made by experts. The 3D printing topic is quite active, with a few top users providing the bulk of the answers. Savvy marketers often use Quora to build their online reputation on a given topic. Note that questions on Quora are not often from 3D printer users but more from people outside the 3D printing field asking general questions, so if you got a question about your clogged extruder, maybe that’s not the best place to ask.
Google Groups and Google+ communities about 3D printing
Google+ is often mocked as a dead social network but when it comes to 3D printing, it turns out it’s not so dead! The Google+ 3D Printing community boasts an impressive 310k+ members, which is quite amazing (although if they count them the same way the count G+ active users, we should take these numbers with a grain of salt). That said, this 3D printing group is well alive and can be a useful resource. It is organized in very specific sections such as “General discussion”, “Show and tell”, “Custom-built and reprap”, making it easier to find relevant content and reach the right audience. Overall this Google+ group is one of the top 3D printing resources available online.
Another very cool resource for 3D printing lovers is the Google Group (not Google+) called 3D Printers Tips, Tricks and Reviews. There are lots of active topics and knowledgeable members here. It’s a good place to find/seek help, whether you’re a newbie of a 3D printing expert. You can also find other Google Groups dedicated to specific 3D printers or brands, such as this discussion group only about Wanhao 3D printers.
Linkedin groups about 3D printing
On Linkedin, no one can hear you scream. This sums up well what’s happening in the world of Linkedin groups dedicated to 3D printing and 3D scanning. Despite the high members count of some of these groups, the interaction level is very low and most of their feeds are basically a list of people posting articles without any real commenting activity or interactions. There might be some smaller and more active Linkedin 3D printing groups we don’t know about, so if you know any please share them in the comments section below!