The Ins and Outs of 3D Printing

You might be asking what is 3D printing, how does it work and how can I incorporate it. In this article I'll explain all these concepts so that you can fully understand the capabilities of this new and exciting technology.

Your Guide to 3D Printing

3D printing is a process whereby users create a model using software such as Cura, Autodesk, Blender, TinkerCad, etc. to create an object. These objects are made of polymer plastic materials such as PLA and ABS.

After creating a 3D model in one of the various softwares available, the file is sent to a 3d printer and printed. The printer operates by heating the loaded plastic material and begins laying down small layers of material over and over again until it creates an object. This process usually takes a few hours or days depending on the quality, and size of the object.

Advantages:

  • Ability to create an on demand product
  • Cost effective prototype production
  • Excellent for custom made models and designs
  • 3d printing files are able to be easily loaded between machines
  • Material cost is often cheap

Disadvantages:

  • Printing can often fail if 3d models are not adequately supported
  • Not ideal for large quantity production
  • Printing surface must be leveled before printing which can be time consuming
  • Stringing or ghosting can occur based on speed of print
  • Size of object is limited by the size of the 3d printer and printing bed

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