Technology

What is a 3D Printer?

With the advancement of technology, a lot of high-tech inventions are being developed such as electric vehicles, solar devices, and more. And one of those amazing inventions we have today is the 3D Printer. But what exactly is a 3D printer?

A 3D printer is a machine that will allow you to print a three-dimensional physical object from a 3D digital model. The 3D printer shapes three-dimensional prototypes and then create the end product by directly building them using a computer-aided design or software-created 3D design diagrams, figures, and patterns. Hence, 3D printing is a manufacturing process which creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials layer by layer based on the object’s 3D digital model. 3D printers are also known as additive manufacturing printers or fabrication printers.

What is a 3D printer used for and what can you create with it?

3D printing is used by people who want to easily manufacture complex objects even at home. Unlike machines that can be found in factories, 3D printers, especially modern desktop ones, are smaller, cheaper, and easier to install and to use.

3D printing started in the ‘80s under the name “rapid prototyping” since its purpose is to prototype products and physical objects cheaper and faster. This field evolved more and more throughout the years, and today, 3D printers offer amazing end products and let you create anything you can imagine. The 3D printers eliminate the need for further machining or subtracting processes which includes cutting and grinding. You will be able to create three-dimensional items without wasting any materials.

There are lots of people who have already installed a 3D printer at home. They use it to print toys for their kids, print items to fix their homes, or to print custom designed teacups as well. They find it cheaper, faster, and more customizable compared to purchasing items from the store.

At first, it’s kind of difficult to imagine what you might do if you had a device that could create things. If you’re wondering what things you can create with a 3D printer, well, some of the people who have it said they were able to create personalized coffee coasters, plastic handles for jars, and toys. If you have a good 3D digital model or a great imagination, you can probably create limitless items using a 3D printer.

What materials can be used with a 3D printer?

Since we’re talking about creating things using a 3D printer, you might also be wondering what materials you can use with it. Most of the time, people who have 3D printers use plastic-like materials. But that is not all that 3D printers can handle.

Aside from plastic, there are more options you can choose from. If you will be using a desktop 3D printer, you can use materials such as nylon, metal, and wood. But remember that if you buy wood or metal filaments, these are still plastic filaments that are coated or fused with metal or wood particles. It means that they are not 100 percent metal or wood but they will still look amazing.

Industrial 3D printers, on the other hand, are much bigger and more expensive. These type of printers can print with ceramics, resins, wax, sandstones, and paper. However, machines as big as these cannot be used at home for DIY projects.

Applications of 3D Printing

3D printers are being used by different kinds of people, organizations, and industries. Here are some of them:

  • DIYers

People who love to DIY things have an urge to solve their own problems in a cheaper and ingenious way. They are the kind of people who can probably build a computer out of its components. This is why they are one of the people who has embraced 3D printing. They use it to easily create replacement parts for broken things at home like door knobs and cabinet handles.

  • Designers

3D printers are also beneficial for designers because it allows them to quickly create product models, and it can also be used to create final products as well. Some of the items made with 3D printers are shoe designs, furniture, and wax castings for jewelry.

  • Car and Airplane Manufacturers

Formula 1 racing teams are also using 3D printers to create prototypes for testing and for creating customized car parts. GE Aviation and Safran, on the other hand, have developed a way to 3D print fuel nozzles for their jet engines. It allows them to replace complex assemblies with a single superior part.

  • Medical Practitioners

3D printers are also beneficial to doctors and dentists because they use it to create aids and replacements that are needed to be customized for their patients. Some of these are dental braces, hearing aids, and prosthetic hands.

  • Food Industry

3D printers are also very useful in the food industry because it allows food makers to print edible materials and explore customization of mass-produced and commoditized products. There are now pasta and chocolates that are created using a 3D printer.

  • Architects and Construction Firms

Before 3D printing was invented, architects used to construct scale models in a strenuous and manual process to communicate the design they want. But when 3D printers are invented, architects can now easily create 3D printed scale model directly from their existing CAD data to develop blueprints. It can also be possible for 3D printers to be used in making future buildings because there are certain countries like China that are experimenting with 3D printing in construction.

A 3D printer is indeed an amazing invention. Imagine, in the future if you have one at home, you will be able to save money by cutting out inventory and transportation costs that come with everything you buy from stores. It will allow you to get a replacement part for a broken item faster compared to waiting for the part to arrive from a distant place. And more than that, with a 3D printer, you will have freedom in creating personalized items that will match your taste and preferences.   It will also almost be like the replicator in Star Trek.

Are you interested in 3D Printing?  Check out some of our great posts covering this amazing technology:

 

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