You are well-advised to operate your 3D printer within the guidelines given by the manufacturer. Often, the use of the wrong filament can result in damage done to the hot end of your 3D printer. Generally, make sure not to heat the nozzle to temperatures above the given guidelines and only use filaments listed by the manufacturer.
For example, carbon fiber infused filament will erode the nozzle, if the nozzle is not made of material suited for carbon fiber. (But as 3D printers are modular, you can of course replace a worn-out nozzle.)
To prepare an existing 3D model for 3D printing, you will at least need a 3D slicer. Most 3D printers come with their own slicing software. The most popular open source 3D slicer is Cura, the most versatile Simplify3D.
If you are also interested in designing 3D models yourself or in modifying existing models, you will need 3D modeling software.
3D printing is the automated process of building a three-dimensional object by adding material rather than taking material away (as in drilling or machining). The process, also known as additive manufacturing, was first introduced in the late 1980s. It was first commercially used as a rapid prototyping method in the aerospace and automotive industries. Charles Hull, who later co-founded 3D Systems, had a patent issued for a stereo lithography system (or SLA for short).
In 1988, 3D Systems sold its first industrial 3D printer utilizing the SLA technology.
In the early 1990s, many industrial 3D printing companies were founded; they all came up with newly invented processes. Only three of the major 3D printing companies from that time when 3D printing’s only application was industrial, are still on the market. The most important ones are 3D Systems, EOS, and Stratasys.
It wasn’t until 2009 that 3D printing became commercially available to the masses. The RepRap open source project opened the door to affordable desktop 3D printers utilizing the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. Then, and in the years following 2009, new and other companies started innovating, creating and improving the consumer/desktop 3D printer to the point where today, we have high-quality, affordable and also expensive desktop 3D printers utilizing the FDM technology (and others).
To create a 3D printed object, you use an “additive process”. The three-dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is finished.
Yes. It 3D printing food is possible and is already being done. All you need to do is make the food inextricable. The food paste is then loaded into a syringe-like container and pushed through a nozzle onto a plate or build platform.
There are some drawbacks, though. Even if you can create great looking food, it’s nearly impossible to 3D print a whole meal for several people – the printers are simply not fast enough. Still, chefs are embracing the 3D printing technology very fast.
You are going to want to download and install a 3D modeling software. You don’t have to go and buy the most expensive one on the market. In fact, you don’t need to buy one at all. There are lots of good, free 3D modeling programs out there that are perfect for beginners. Start with simple models, like a cube, then work your way through more complicated objects.
Here are step-by-step tutorials for learning 3D modeling using
3D printing is being used in the aerospace, automobile, medical, architecture, consumer goods/electronics, defense, and education industry.
Since there are many situations in which 3D printing is cost efficient, 3D printing has found its place in many industries. Think of the time saved by 3D printing an architectural model as opposed to constructing or milling one.
This sounds pretty standard but could be quite difficult if you have no experience using 3D modeling software. Many 3D modeling platforms have a function to use text, even in different fonts. It is important to note that with 3D printing, you need a suitable base. This will keep the letters in place and from falling over.
Here are some tutorials covering the basics in different 3D modeling software’s:
If you do not know anyone who knows how to handle a 3D modeling software (CAD software), e.g. architects or 3D designers: Look up your local 3D printing service bureau and have them design a specific object for you.
Yes, chocolate can be 3D printed. Perhaps even better than other foods. Since chocolate can melt, it can be pushed through a heated extruder and cooled to a solid much like thermoplastics. Unfortunately, there’s no chocolate 3D printer available on the market – but you can resort to all-in-one printers like the Zmorph.
Thingiverse is a large and popular 3D file sharing platform. By number of available designs, it is the largest 3D file sharing platform. Anyone can join to upload 3D models and anyone can browse and download files for free.
Although it is already deeply implemented in the world of prototyping, 3D printing is still some years away from having a breakthrough in the world of manufacturing. This breakthrough would allow 3D printing to spread from just prototyping, with the exception of select components already being manufactured by 3D printers, to being widely implemented in everyday manufacturing processes all over the world.
The main aspect keeping this from happening sooner is the relatively long time it takes to 3D print something that can just as well be manufactured using traditional methods (and we all know that time me money).
3D printing is also limited by the size of the 3D printer. Although there are some pretty big units 3D printing with cement, for example, high-quality and precision parts are limited to smaller machines which can also be very expensive depending on what they are designed to be capable of.
Printing is possible with a lot of materials. Most commonly known, desktop 3D printers can print with any number of thermoplastic and thermoplastics mixed with other materials like wood fibers, metal powder, glow in the dark compounds and much more. But beyond that, scientists are even experimenting printing with biomaterials in an effort to eventually be capable of 3D printing human org for trplants.
More on 3D printing materials:
The short wer is no. The term “3D printing” comes from the use of inkjet printer heads (in the first 3D printers) to deposit, either layers of UV-curable photopolymer resin or a binding material onto a layer of powder in a powder bed process. However, the term now universally encompasses all additive manufacturing technologies.
The more technical, or correct, way of referring to the automated process of building a 3D object from scratch using a digital file is “additive manufacturing”.
A 3D printing service bureau is a local business or outlet that will handle anything 3D printing for you. If you want something designed, you can ask your local 3D printing service bureau. If you want that design 3D printed as well, you can have your 3D printing service bureau do that for you. They will often also offer a 3D scanning service. Using a 3D printing service bureau can be very cost effective for your needs. It depends on how often you would like to do 3D printing.
3D printing stores are located in large cities like New York, Amsterdam, and Berlin. They sell 3D printed goods and some even offer 3D printing services with industrial-grade 3D printers.
The first 3D printing store is located in Amsterdam and is called “Printed in Space”. The owner of the shop started out selling 3D printed objects from a Ultimate printer.
The Resolution of a 3D printer is divided into two parts. First, there is the XY resolution which is the smallest movement the nozzle can make on the X and Y axes. Secondly, there is the vertical resolution which is the minimum layer thickness the 3D printer can be set to. That is the case for FDM 3D printers.
Maximum resolution (quality) varies deeply depending on the 3D printing method being used.
You can modify existing 3D models by importing the file into a 3D modeling program. From there you can make all the changes you want. When you are done making changes, remember to save your progress and export the 3D model if you want to.
There are also special tools for editing STL files that are not full-blown CAD programs – and therefore are easier to use.
Yes, some 3D designs are copyrighted. The UK government has just extended the copyright for industrially manufactured artistic works to the life of the designer plus 70 years (it used to be 25 years before). This prohibits individuals from freely copying a design and 3D printing it with their own tools and resources.
The current Guinness World Record holder of the title “Largest 3-D printed object” is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). They have 3D printed a tool that will be used in the production of the Boeing 777X, a new and improved version of the popular and successful Boeing 777 airplane. The object is 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall. According to the definition of the record title the object is solid.
The best way to have fully functional parts printed in good quality is to use a professional 3D printing service. To ensure the service can actually produce your design, it would be a good idea to contact the company’s customer support.
Here is a list of professional and community-based 3D printing services.
Many believe that 3D printing will indeed have a major impact on the world of manufacturing. Decentralized and local manufacturing combined with mass customization will certainly change the products are designed and manufactured along with the logistics of the processes. More on how 3D printing could change the world.
“Water tightness” in a 3D printing model refers to the mesh of the 3D model. The mesh itself must not have any holes. Otherwise, the 3D printer may not be able to print the model. This kind of problem can be fixed using a 3D model repair tool.
As 3D printing has only begun to see global acceptance and implementation in recent years, it is too soon to know for certain whether 3D printing will be a life-changer comparable to the internet. After all, when computers were first invented, no one knew the tremendous impact they would have. The same goes for the internet. Growing numbers in the 3D printing industry suggest that the technology is going to be huge, but only time will tell- if the impact going to be “internet-size”.
3D printed things can be purchased almost in a lot of places. First of all, many major cities have 3D printing stores where you can buy 3D printed objects and even 3D printers. Perhaps the most popular place to buy 3D printed things is through an online service. These services let you upload an STL file and have it printed and delivered. Many other similar services exist.
Also, ALL3DP offers a 3D printing price comparison service that makes uploading your file and selecting the material and printing service a snap.
There are many ways to make money with 3D printing. If you have a 3D printer, why not make money 3D printing things for other people while you’re not printing for yourself. Services like 3D Hubs are there for that exact purpose.
Another way to make money is to design 3D models for money. Use your creative and modeling skills to make money with it. Online services like Shape ways allow you to sell your designs. The service 3D prints the model when someone orders it and you, the designer, get a portion of the price of the object. There are a number of comparable services.
First, 3D models can be made using 3D modeling software or real life objects which are then scanned and turned into 3D model files with specialized software often provided by the manufacturer of the scanning device. After that, the 3D models need to be passed through a 3D slicing program to become a 3D printable model.
You can have objects 3D printed in full color at a variety of 3D printing services, the most popular being Shapeways, i.Materialise and Sculpteo. The largest industrial full-color 3D printing service in the world is white clouds.
There are 3D printers on the market that do full-color 3D printing but they are still very expensive. Other processes like computational hydrographic printing use a special coloring technique which is a cost-effective, post printing alternative to other methods.
More on hydrographic coloring: Hydrographic Printing: Affordable Full-Color Prints for Everyone.
There are many different kinds of 3D printing filaments. First of all, they come in two conventional diameters: 1.75mm and 3.00mm.
The most common materials used in FDM 3D printing are PLA and ABS. They are popular for their ease of use (ABS being a little more complicated to 3D print), and their affordability.
But as far as what materials you can print with are concerned, there are almost no limits. It is possible to print in pure metal, food and all sorts of thermoplastics whereby metal and food don’t come in filament form for obvious reasons. But don’t be confused, if you see a spool of filament that says metal on it. In this case, metal dust is mixed with thermoplastic material for use in desktop FDM 3D printers.
Giants like Stratasys, EOS and 3D Systems both offer professional and industrial 3D printing solutions for businesses.
Charles (Chuck) Hull, co-founder of 3D Systems, invented the solid imaging process known today as stereolithography (SLA). This was the first commercial 3D printing method. He first thought of the idea in 1983 while using UV light to harden tabletop coatings. In 1986 he received the patent for the process.
By the way, Charles Hull is also the person who invented the .STL file format, which is the most common 3D printing file format.
One major benefit of 3D printing compared to injection molding is the cost advantage. Injection molding requires a mold to be manufactured or formed first, which is a costly and delicate process. However, since injection molding costs decrease with increasing production volumes, there usually comes a point where injection molding makes more sense.
Also, some geometric shapes that are 3D printable simply can’t be manufactured using injection molding.
A 3D printing model is a file that a 3D printer can read and interpret. It is used to tell the 3D printer where to put the nozzle in order to create the physical object. The model file contains geometrical information that will have to be interpreted by a slicing software that turns the geometrical input into commands the printer can process.
The major difference between 3D printing and CNC milling is the starting point: With 3D printing, the manufacturing process starts from nothing, objects are built by adding material layer by layer. In CNC milling, the process starts with a block of material and is finished by removing material until the desired shape has been formed.
Here is an article explaining the differences between 3D printing and CNC milling.
The best way to sell 3D printed things on the internet is a place where people look to buy 3D printed items. Popular platforms include Etsy (jewelry and art), Shapeways, i.Materialise and Sculpteo. 3D designers use these platforms to sell their 3D printed creations.
The advantage of Etsy is that the designer is responsible for having the product made. This way, the entire end product can be shipped with all its accessories. Shape ways, on the other hand, ships the raw 3D printed object directly to the buyer without accessories.
3D printing companies are no different than other companies when it comes to trustworthiness. The same precautions should be taken when looking into using a 3D printing company’s services as with any other company. To be safe, use Google to do some research on the company and look for customer experiences and reviews.
These 3D printing companies are beyond doubt: 34 best 3D Printing Services of 2017.
Any company or organization may 3D print medical devices. However, any medical devices either manufactured in the USA or imported from outside the USA must be approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).
4D printing is a subset of 3D printing. In “normal” 3D printing, the end product is static, unless some flexible material is used, and it is meant to stay in that form. 4D printing is a way of “programming” the material/object to change form or functionality when given the correct impulse.
For example: running shoes could be designed to change the way they feel or fit depending on the activity of the wearer. Also, clothing could change its functionality depending on the weather. Although these products and solutions are not yet on the market, various research institutions like the MIT Self-Assembly lab are working on improving such technologies.
According to statista, the 3D printing market is worth 7 billion USD in 2016 and is estimated to reach 21 billion USD by 2020.
There are quite a few 3D printing file formats. Here are the most common ones.
There are several ways to reduce your 3D printing costs. Variables such as material, size, and infill of your print can make a huge difference in price over time, if they are optimized.
What also makes a difference is deciding whether or not you want buy your own 3D printer or use a 3D printing service. For one-time prints it will be cheaper to use a service. But if you want to do a lot of 3D printing, it might pay off soon to buy your own 3D printer and materials.