3D printing is an ever-evolving manufacturing technology. If you are a newbie at 3D printing technology, you will realize that there are several possibilities and applications; it can be pretty overwhelming on how to print and how to use the maker machine, and where to get them, especially on black Friday deals for 3D printers. The article will explain what exactly 3D printing is, how it works, and various materials that are commonly used.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is developing three-dimensional objects systematically layer by layer on top of each other. The 3D printer reads the digital file from the computer, which dictates how to layer the material to build the object. 3D printing is also known as additive fabrication.
How can you 3D print?
The steps to follow when 3D printing depends on the specific print you plan to do in your process. But in general, it involves the following steps;
- First, the steps start on a computer, whereby you create a design using 3D design software, typically CAD (Computer-aided design) software. But if you need to be more creative in making your design, don’t fret; you can also find many free resources online with free designs. Or you can get some designers from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with the designs.
- Once you have created the design or chosen one, you should export or download the STL file. This file is what stores the information about your conceptual 3D object.
- You should choose the material you want, which you can select before printing. Several kinds of 3D printing materials offer different properties, so you can choose based on the properties you want your project to have.
- The next essential step is considering the different parameters of your objects and the printing process. Primarily, it will include the size of the object and the placement of your print.
- Once you have created your file, import the STL file into the slicing software. The slicing software will convert the information from the STL file into a G-code, a specific code with exact instructions for the printer.
- After all these steps, the printer will create the object layer by layer. Depending on the printer, the size of your object, and the materials used, it can do the job in a matter of minutes or several hours. At times there might be additional post-processing steps after printing depending on what you want your final product to be or the material used.
What are 3D printing filaments? These are thermoplastic materials used to 3D print, called filaments. Each filament has its property, so what you choose to 3D print will depend on many factors; some of these factors include the following;
- Do you want a heat-resistant filament?
- Do you want the 3D print to be flexible?
- Does it need to be very durable?
There are several kinds of filaments, and most beginners start with PLA filaments due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of printing with a standard configuration. On the other hand, PETG filament is another beginner-friendly material with a bit of technicality. However, it is quite a suitable filament for engineers and manufacturers; it is a beautiful material for functional prototypes since it can withstand higher temperatures and has a different chemical makeup that is perfect for these uses. So, every filament is ideal for a specific application, knowing their properties will fit the needs and requirements of your project.
Having these reasons in mind will help you make wise decisions when it comes to choosing the best filament for your project.