I also got a 3D printer a few months ago. I’d been sort of interested for a long time, but I thought they cost $1000 or something like that. When I saw that a highly reviewed one, the Ender 3, was only $239, I went for it right away. It comes assembly required with comically bad, IKEA-esque instructions. YouTube solves that problem though. I don’t know about it being janky, but it is certainly harder than printing to paper, and there was a bit of a learning curve. It really hasn’t been too bad though.
First, you have to make or find a model. Thingiverse has a bunch of free ones online. One day, I’ll learn how to use Blender – you know, maybe.
Second, you have to “slice” the model to prep it for your printer. This got me down initially, but now I’m pretty used to it. That’s what Cura (free) is for. You start from some default settings for your printer, and tweak stuff based on what you’re printing. For example, you might change how much fill will be printed in hollow spaces of your model, or you might add supports if your model has overhannging sections. (Cura highlights these in red for you.) There are hundreds of settings you could change, but the point is you don’t really have to touch most of them.
Third, you have to adjust the printer bed. It’s very important to level it so as the nozzle goes back and forth, it stays at the exact same height above the bed. It’s also important that the printer’s idea of ground level is right up against the bed’s plate. If it tries to print the first layer even half a millimeter above the plate, it’s not going to bind well, and the model could start sliding around. This is fiddly at first, but now I can level the bed in less than a minute, and I redo it every few prints.
That’s pretty much it. It’s painful sometimes, but not too painful. You have to sort of enjoy the process itself though, otherwise it’s not really worth it.