photo by lppicture
3D Printing is now available to the masses as the technology has evolved, become smaller and cheaper. It is now more accessible to the public and is not just once off printers sitting in engineering labs or major research and development organizations. 3D printing, although not yet common enough to be found next to the Laser Jet or InkJ et printers in offices or homes, can be found in good print stores in the major metro areas of the country. This opens up a world of opportunities for hobbyists and businesses alike, as the technology makes for much easier prototyping and cost-effective runs of anything from jewellery to toys.
3D printing is exactly what it says. Printing in a third dimension, taking printing away from documents and photos to something that has height, width and depth. 3D printing lends itself to many industries, hobbies and businesses. Perhaps you are a small design business. 3D printing allows you to generate a single prototype for display or testing. Maybe you are a hobby jewellery designer. 3D printing will allow you to print once off pieces of jewellery for your own use or a limited run of pieces that you will go onto sell. The benefits of 3D printing are vast, from the relatively cheap cost of printing through to the various color and material options that can be used for printing.
3D printing is a simple concept although there are some challenging up front requirements, which means 3D printing is best handed over to those that are proficient in the use of the printers. In order to print an object in 3D, one first needs to have written some printing code to communicate between a computer and printer. It is unfortunately, not yet as simple as clicking print, so if you do not have the necessary coding skills, then quickly visit your local 3D printing store to get advice on what information needs to be provided to the expert so that they can begin the coding.
Once coded, though, the process becomes much easier and much more rewarding as you will literally see your object developing layer by layer as the printer does its job. A 3D printer simply adds layers of a particular material you have chosen for your 3D object. Materials that can be used include plastic and nylon. Color is not a challenge as good printers will allow for anything up to 24 different colors to be added to the object. Composite objects with hard and soft components are no challenge either as the technology will allow for something like a brush with a hard plastic handle and soft nylon bristles. In fact the only limit to what can be printed in 3D, is your imagination.
If 3D printing is a tool that you are exploring for business or hobby purposes, then get down to a good local print store. Good print stores have adopted this service offering and you are likely to find a printer in most large metro areas. Make sure they have examples of previously printed objects and have a range of materials and the ability to print the size you need before proceeding. And then be one of the first to have used this innovative technology.