3D Printers

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FAQ About 3D Printers

Industrial design was once the privy of powerful corporations. But now, with a desktop 3D printer at your disposal, you can "clone" your favourite items, create fun new gizmos, "download" physical objects right off the internet, and make your very own replacement parts when things break around the house. Still not sure how 3D printing works? Read on for a quick explainer.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process by which a physical, three-dimensional object is created from a digital blueprint or scan. Want a copy of the clay-model statue your son or daughter made in the first grade? With a 3D printer you can make as many as you want.

How do 3D printers work?

The first thing a 3D printer does is divide the digital file of the object you'd like to create into thin slices. It then "prints" these slices one by one to build the final object up, layer by layer. The actual printing is done with either melted plastic, resin, or liquefied powder.

What can I make with a 3D printer?

Only your imagination is the limit. Have an idea for a product prototype? With a 3D printer you can have it in your (or a potential investor's) hands in a few short hours. Did the battery cover on your TV remote break? Make yourself a brand new replacement, and kiss that raggedy flap of electrical tape goodbye. The possibilities are both endless and endlessly useful.

What features should I consider when buying a 3D printer?

The build area of a 3D printer dictates the size of the objects you can create, while the number of extruders (usually ranging from between 1 and 3) lets you print objects in more than a single colours. WiFi connectivity is a great feature to have when you want to scan items with a compatible smartphone and send them to a 3D printer wirelessly.

Want more info on 3D printers? Check out some of our resources:

 
Plug-in Blog: What will you do with your first 3D printer?