What is 3D printing?

By Lonnie Rogers 0 comments

Normal printers print onto paper, 3D printer prints physical objects. They have been around since the 80’s and begun mainstream popularity in 2016. Currently, we can print objects out of solid materials.

The types of filament available, ABS and PLA are the most popular.

As the tech develops; food, electronics, and even human body parts will be printable.

A 3d printed ear that actually is living when properly added to someone’s face.

Keep your feet on the ground, for now, you still can’t print out a working Xiaomi smartphone, but you will be able to in the future.

How does 3D printing work?

The process can be divided into two different steps. Design and printing.

Designing a 3D object

A home designer printing off a floor plan to show a client their draft design.

First, you design the item to be printed, either using 3D software or by using a 3D scanner to scan an original item to be copied. The common software used is CURA, with this free software, you can quickly design 3D objects and then print them directly to the printer. After your design is completed, the printer does the rest of the work.

Do I need to design everything I print?

The advantage of a printer is you can create exactly what you want. If you are just getting started, or have a specific part you need to print, there are already a lot of designs available for free online. Thingiverse and Instructables have a good collection downloadable objects.

The printing process

A normal printer takes ink and uses a print head to carefully spread ink across a piece of paper. 3D printers don’t use ink they use “filament”, which is usually plastic wire-like material. The extruder melts the filament, then prints it out onto a platform called a print bed.

The basic components of a 3D printer.

The printing process is completed in layers, starting from the bottom of the design to the top. When the process is completed your object is ready.

How fast are 3D printers?

The speed of printing depends on two variables.

  1. Size: The larger or more complex the design, the longer it takes to print.
  2. Detail: Higher resolution prints look better but take longer to create.
3D printer resolution.

How do they print different colors?

Original printers were just black and white, then color printers came, they used blue red and yellow colors to mix into any color. 3D is the same, most printers now are single or dual color, but there are a few RGB models.  Multicolor is achieved by using an advanced extruder and hot end that melts different colors together during printing.

Tripple input extruder, for multicolor color printing.

The Geeetech Rostock 301 is an affordable multicolor 3D printer.

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