Your Introduction to 3D Printing
Chances are you have heard about 3D printing and is wondering what the hype is all about. While a lot of it is true, you may want to continue reading to have an idea of the things you need to know.
From the term itself, 3D printing is the process of fashioning a solid physical object based on a digital 3D model. The reason “printing” is in the term can be attributed to the assembly process which is similar to printing ink on paper. Many 3D printers in use have base materials that are laid down in layers to subsequently complete the finished product. As an additive process, 3D printing starts from a bottom layer with subsequent printed layers added on top of it until the task is completed.
3D printing is actually not a recent invention for it has been in use in industrial settings for quite some time now. The surge in its popularity can be traced to the accessibility of its present software and the cheaper and smaller hardware it uses. 3D printers have never been easier on the pocket than they are now and are compatible with a wide range of 3D modeling programs. The printer is sought-after by do-it-yourselfers who want to create their own custom products and parts.
Ordinary people may not see much use yet for a 3D printer but that is changing day by day. There are efforts to come up with a 3D printer and copier that can replicate physical items and print them easily for anyone to do. It may be a couple of years away yet, but 3D printing is going to become as common as the office copier for everyone to use.
There is a printer now that can print in 3D whatever you imagine in chocolate. There is also a printer that can 3D print yourself as an action figure. 3D printed prosthetics are being tested by doctors and hospitals. At home, do-it-yourselfers’ printing projects include custom mounts for webcams, smartphone cases, and broken appliance parts to extend the life of an expensive equipment. With the use of 3D printing, the average Joe can print his own items, parts of a bigger thing, or even intricate and moving objects.
If you want to do 3D printing in all seriousness, your best option is to purchase your own printer. It is still pricey but not as much as in previous years. But if the price of ownership is too steep for you, you can search for a local hackerspace that has a 3D printer for use by paying members. You might get lucky and even find a community college, vocational school or local library that has a 3D printer you can use.
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