3D Printing: 5 things about 3D Printing
Home 3D Printing is Now a Thing and This is How You Get Started
Medical 3D Printing
3D printing may seem like it’s out of this world, but it is very much an earthly thing. There is a lot of hype surrounding the advancement of the technology, especially in the medical sector where the printers are used to create prostheses and even organs. While this may sound like something out of a medical science fiction movie, it is very real and so is the now developing trend of home 3D printing.
Home 3D printing has been around for a while, but it is gaining momentum as 3D printers become smaller and more affordable. Exactly how much money you spend on a printer depends on the features you want. The features can be the difference between paying hundreds and paying thousands of dollars.
Why Use a 3D Printer at Home?
3D printing allows you to create a 3D model of an object on a computer screen and the printer then creates that object. The printer is able to follow the specifics of the digital model with great precision. If you create a 3D model of an elephant, the printer is going to spray its base material – typically thermoplastic filament – laying it down in layers from the bottom all the way up to the top until the object is finished.
This function used to only exist in industrial settings. You would be amazed at how many things you have already held in your hands that were created with large 3D printers. The differences between the large industrial printers and home 3D printers are that home printers have smaller hardware, a lower price, and software that is much easier to operate. As a matter of fact, there are now multiple 3D modeling programs that people can choose from. The variety of programs are useful to the DIY community because they can find one that hones in on the parts and products that they want to create.
Nonetheless, some people may not see a use for 3D printers yet, but they are getting there. Say you are working on your car and you need a small plastic piece just like one that is missing. If you have a 3D printer, you may be able to turn to your printer to create the piece rather than having to run to the auto parts store. This is just an example.
There is also the fact that the technology is being fine-tuned to become more user-friendly. The idea is for anyone to be able to 3D print items that they need. If you are wondering whether or not 3D printing technology is useful to you now, you need to ask yourself if you are a do-it-yourselfer, a maker, or a hacker. If you are any of these, you most likely have a need.
The Benefit of Do-It-Yourself 3D Printing
If you are into DIY projects, then a home 3D printer is going to be useful. You can go ahead and purchase your own printer and create thousands of objects. You can print single parts or the components of an object so you can put them together and create a larger object. You can even print moving objects. Imagine being able to print appliance parts so broken ones can be easily replaced. That’s a great way to get more mileage out of an appliance before replacing it and it’s something that people are doing today. This means there is an economic impact to owning a 3D printer.
But what if you can’t model something with the software?
It is true that there is a learning curve. If you find yourself having difficulty creating a model, you can find someone else’s online and tweak it to your specifications. If you need to copy an item, there are 3D scanners designed to do this. However, you can use a webcam to scan an item for 3D printing.
Different Materials are Available
Also know that you aren’t limited to plastic. You can print objects in metal, as there are metal 3D printers. There is even a 3D printer that prints whatever you want in chocolate. If you want that aforementioned elephant printed in chocolate so you can eat it, you can print it in chocolate.
How do You get Started?
First, you need to realize what you want to print and if you can do it with one material or if you need multi-material 3D printing. Second, research software programs to find what is going to work for you. If you are new to 3D printing, you want a program that is as user friendly as possible. Third, decide what you want to print and either create it on the screen using your software or scan it for copying. Fourth, you tell the printer to print and let it do what it does best.
Once the printer is finished, you will have a product, part, or other creation that you would normally have to order or go to the store to buy. Think about the money you will save. It is this personal economic impact that has created quite the 3D printing fuss and the enthusiasm surrounding the technology isn’t expected to subside.