3D printing is the operation of molding three-dimensional solid objects using a digital file. The procedure involves an additive process.
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In this process, layers of materials are laid down in succession to form a model. The layers are seen as cross-sections thinly sliced throughout the object.
- So, Is 3D Printing Hard to Learn?
- 3D Printer Design Software
- 3D Printer Setup – Print Bed Levelling and Other Setups
- 3D Printers and Ease of Use
- Buy or Do Not Buy? The Worth of Buying a 3D Printer
- Is It Expensive to 3D Print?
- 3D Printer Software and the Slicing Software – Ease of Use
- What You Need for 3D Printing
- 3D Printers Use in Different Fields
This technology is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing, where pieces of plastic or metal are cut or hollowed out by a milling machine to form an object.
The same technology allows for the production of complex model shapes with very minimal materials instead of traditional methods.
So, Is 3D Printing Hard to Learn?
3D printing may seem very user-unfriendly since it is still at its infancy stage. At times, it can be overwhelming to beginners because most printers are delicate and meticulous.
Again it needs concentration as you are supposed to transfer ideas from your head to the computer. Depending on individuals’ perceptions, the technology can be viewed to be unfriendly.
First of all, you will have to invest your time if you want to have it clear. There is a lot to keep on the track that the beginners’ might be unaware of. Design software and printer setup are crucial.
3D Printer Design Software
Image editing in Photoshop or MS paint looks so easy. Unlike this, 3D printing demands a little more than that. When designing, you will need to approach your thinking differently, as designing is a whole world of creativity and imagination.
Those with 2D prior experience are more likely to experience a fast and easy transition to 3D printing. Getting to know how to navigate through the design software before you start designing is very crucial. There are many design software available.
Select software that looks user-friendly. Your dedication is what will determine how you will interact with the software.
Fortunately, if the study didn’t work out, you can have the downloadable files with designs sent to your printer.
Here is a list of the best 3D printing design software and links to tutorials:
3D Printer Setup – Print Bed Levelling and Other Setups
Despite 3D printing technology being around for quite some time, 3D printers are still experiencing technical problems.
Before beginning to print, ensure that the print bed leveling and axis alignment are adjusted. Also, remember to check damaged filaments.
Ensure all the settings and adjustments have been correctly made before you leave the 3D printer to run. With frequent and repeated operations over time, your experience of working with the 3D printer grows.
3D Printers and Ease of Use
To many, especially beginners, 3D printing may seem so hard. There are so many things involved in 3D printing that makes it look not very easy. When dealing with a 3D printer, the most challenging part is print designing and adjusting the system settings and parts.
You must be knowledgeable about designs to get unique prints. Your designed prints should be supported throughout the print; otherwise, they won’t hold up.
However, having the required knowledge may make things so easy for you. The fact that the 3D printers come pre-assembled makes them easy and ready to set up and use.
An example of this is the Monoprice Select Mini. This 3D printer is user-friendly and most recommendable for beginners.
Put the filament in, choose your 3D print design, and start printing. The PLA 3D printer filament (check at Amazon) is the most common and appropriate to beginners as it is easy to handle and use with most consumer 3D printers.
If you tamper with your washing machine, you don’t have to call a mechanical engineer or the manufacturer to ship you the spare part. Just log in to the company’s website, download and print the part you need. Many tools are available for download.
Buy or Do Not Buy? The Worth of Buying a 3D Printer
Knowing your goals and possessing the right skills makes the printer very important in our daily lives activities. 3D printing technology has helped the modern generation in the discovery of new ideas and products. Here are some of the reasons that justify the importance of 3D printers.
The human race prefers doing things faster and would always welcome the idea of having things done faster and in a better way.
3D technology has revolutionized many business sectors, including the real estate industry; through 3D printing, we now see projects that would have taken months to finish taking weeks to be accomplished. Amazing!
The 3D printers have a fair market price. This idea can make them mainstream in the future. The quality of the output determines the 3D printer’s market price.
The printers are quite affordable as they retail at under $200 unless for professional 3D printers, which go as high as $2000 like the MakerBot series. In the near future, the prices are speculated to go down with increased quality.
The advantage of using 3D printers is that they eliminate the cost of the machine, workforce, and cost of materials.
Environmentalists will definitely love this. 3D printing makes use of recycled materials like plastic. As we all know, plastic has been one of the major factors of environmental pollution and degradation.
The recycled materials that would otherwise be pollutants are put into use to produce other valuable materials.
3D printing allows the modeling of more complex designs with minimal errors during the production process. This is achieved by creating one layer after another. The designer is also able to visualize the design and model at each stage of the printing process.
Is It Expensive to 3D Print?
Getting the exact cost of 3D printing can be challenging because several factors need to be considered. Mind you, nothing comes for free.
In general, it can cost from $3 upwards. Factors determining the cost of 3D printing are the model volume, complexity, the material used, quality of the material, and post-processing.
3D Printer Software and the Slicing Software – Ease of Use
The slicing software is computer software used in the 3D printing process to convert the 3D models to precise instructions. The instructions include:
The starting point:
- The number of layers.
- The sections of the model should be left hollow or solid.
There is much other software that can perform the same task. Luckily, some software comes with the printer. A perfect example of this is MakerBot’s MakerWare.
What You Need for 3D Printing
You, of course, need to have a 3D printer and a computer to be able to print, but that’s not all.
Before the 3D printer is ready to print, check the following:
The Loading Filament
Before printing begins, the extruder should be set to extrude filament. The loading comes first. The hot end is heated to the filament’s molten temperature, usually above 175 °C, depending on the filament. The filament is then loaded to the heated extruder.
Leveling the bed allows the 3D printer to deposit filaments and complete the creation of the entity in a free manner. The leveling process can be done manually or may be automatic.
The leveling process is crucial because if the bed is far from the nozzle, the first layer will not stick to the bed. This will ruin the whole printing procedure.
Any computer with a good internet connection can print premade files you download. For a 3D design, the computing performance must be high.
The computer should have 8GB of memory, and the CPU should have a high clock speed. The optimal experience requires even more. For such experience, the computer should have 16GB of memory and a steadfast graphics card coexisting with the CPU.
The next is the material to print. The good thing about 3D printers is that they make use of different materials to print. Examples are carbon fiber, ABS (use Fused deposition modeling), and nylon.
3D printers use each material in the form of filament. Each material has a particular purpose. so it’s good that you do your research first
For easy 3D printing, follow the steps highlighted below.
- Find a beginner-friendly printer. The printer should have an easy navigation plane, auto features and be ideally pre-assembled. The printer should be compatible with beginner-friendly software.
- Add filament. The filament can come with the 3D printer, or you can buy it separately. The PLA filament is the most common and easy to use.
- Pick your slicing software and change the settings to auto-fill. Note that some 3D printers like the MakerBot have brand special software.
- Download the 3D file and save it as an STL file. The STL file is native to stereolithography computer-aided design software created by 3D Systems. Generate the stereolithography using cad programs.
- Head direct to printing, and the process starts.
3D Printers Use in Different Fields
3D printing has facilitated the creation of new models that had not been created by prior technology. 3D printing has also improved efficiency in production in many manufacturing companies.
3D printing is applied in the following fields:
Civil Engineering and Construction
The engineers make use of 3D printing to layout their designs. The building is printed in layers with floors, wall thickness, and other details visible as will be on sites. (see the full 3D printed house)
They use 3D models to showcase the designs they create. 3D printing has enabled them to create dioramas for the whole city, which would otherwise take a longer time to create. They save time and materials spend for the project on-site
Medical practitioners use 3D printing to create patient-specific aids like ceramic jaws, medical implants, and hearing aids that have never been created before.
3D printing has increased the production of new complex designs while reducing costs.
The aircraft technology is complicated, and its parts are complex. 3D printing is used in creating titanium and metals model.
The 3D printers use fresh ingredients to maintain food portions, creating a balance between portion and consumption. They also ensure the meal is healthier by controlling preservatives in the preservation sites.
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