3D Printers: What is the hype about?
The world of technology and science is expanding and changing exponentially. Futuristic inventions that were talked about for generations have arrived. Telephones you could carry around with you, computers in every home, and the ability to see your family when you talked to them on the phone. That future has arrived, and the things of science fiction are a reality. Printers have evolved from the mimeograph machine, with a roller and purple ink, to electric copiers, with black ink that didn’t smell funny. Now they collate, staple, print photographs and send faxes. Enter the world of 3D printers and pens. No paper or ink required.
What is 3D printing?
In a normal printing process, information is fed to a printer, via computer generated instructions. Ink is laid onto paper, and your 2D document is generated. With a 3D printer, an object is scanned or created in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program. The object is then divided into .15mm thick slices, hundreds of one dimensional layers. Each layer is a set of instructions that are fed into the 3D printer. A layer of powdered polymer is distributed evenly across a platform. Infrared lasers scan across the layer creating the pattern from the first layer of instructions. The laser melts the polymer. A second layer of powder is applied, crystallizing the materials. The process is repeated until the object has been completed. The excess powder is removed, and the completed object emerges.
What can be made with a 3D printer?
With a 3D printer, a company can design and create their own prototypes. Something that looks good on paper may not actually look as nice, or work as well, in reality. By creating a prototype, a manufacturer can look at a physical representation of their final product, and make changes to their products. The cost associated with prototypes and new product development can be greatly reduced with the purchase of an affordable 3d printer.
In the world of science, archaeologists can use the 3D printer to recreate artifacts, dinosaur bones and fossils. Forensic science can recreate objects destroyed at a crime scene, enabling them to reconstruct what may have happened. Crime television and their fictional experiments meet forensic pathologists using 3D modeling.
In modern medicine, they are using layers of living tissue to recreate organs and body parts. Organ printing, or Computer Aided Tissue Layering is in development. One day, in the very near future, a limb will be regenerated with help from 3D printers. The applications are endless limited only by the imagination.
Why would you want to own a 3D printer?
Hobbyists and cottage industries, are embracing the affordable home 3d printer. As with most technology, the prices are going down, and they are now more affordable than ever. The beginning 3d printer price starts around $500, going up to $200,000 for manufacturers. From wearable clothing ideas that you make at home for personal wear, or develop as a cottage line, go to eCouterre. What you can create with a personal 3D printer will knock your socks off, and then you could make a new pair! 3D printers are the next great thing to come along. Did you know there was a 3D printer that will print itself, so you can give one to a friend? A 3D printer does not print with ink, but it does print with a wide range of materials from plastic, to metals, glass and yes, human cells. There is no limit to where the 3D printer will take you. For a more in-depth 3d Printing explanation click the link.
What is a 3D pen?
The 3d printer pen allows you to take your 2D drawings and turn them into three dimensional drawings. On paper, you can draw a square when you use an ink pen. With the 3Doodle Pen, one of many 3d pen for sale, you can lift the pen off the paper, straight into the air, and draw a box; a three dimensional box. Plastic strands are inserted into the end of the pen, similar to a glue stick inserted into a glue gun. The pen heats the plastic and melts it. With a press of a button, you dispense the melted plastic that hardens quickly. At $99, this is a fun gadget for creating whimsical jewelry from rings to earrings, to necklaces. You can create sculptures, one of a kind decorations and clothing, given enough time and supplies. www.ThinkGeek.com has a short video demonstration of a 3d pen.
The world is three dimensional, and now you have access to 3D printers to recreate it. From the size of a pen, to larger printers used in manufacturing. If you are looking for 3d printer for sale Makerbot.com has desk top digitizers starting at $800, and printers starting at $1300. There are sites that share their programs. You can also share the designs you have created, or offer them for sale. Start a small business out of your home, create a line of toys or personal accessories for your family. Hospitals are rapidly developing the technology to print body parts. In the world of fashion, you find yourself wearing a printed garment. What was futuristic science is now available. The future, has arrived.
What You Need to Know Before You Buy a 3D Printer
Before you start buying a 3D printer? Read these helpful tips and hints below.
If you want to buy 3d printer, now is as good a time as any since they’re more affordable than ever. While these printers have been gaining mainstream popularity, first time buyers might still be unfamiliar with some of the terms used in product advertisements, so let’s take a look at the essential features.
Here are the features you need to check out:
• Build area: this refers to the maximum dimensions of the object the printer can build. Measurements are in XYZ inches or cm (X width, Y depth and Z height). Most affordable 3D printers have builds measuring 5 x 5 x 5 inches 13 x 13 x 13.
• Extruders: the majority of 3D printers have just one extruder and can print only one color.
• Filament Width: most consumer 3D printers employ plastic filaments. These are available in 3 mm and 1.75 millimeter widths, the latter being more widely used. The majority of these filaments are sold in 2.2 lb. sizes and with most of these printers you can buy from different manufacturers and not worry about compatibility.
• Speed: Due to the way 3D printing works it can take a while before it completes a task, especially if the object you made is complex. Even so the speed of these printers is improving, so don’t settle for anything less than 20mm per second.
• XY Resolution: this refers to the amount of detail that the 3D printer can set on the object you’re printing. The smaller the XY resolution the more details will be visible. For the best results get a 3D printer that can do 0.01 inches (0.03 cm) minimum.
• Vertical Z Resolution: the smaller the number, the smoother and more realistic the final printout will be. Most consumer 3D printers today have a 0.2 or 0.3 mm layer thickness, but if you can get your hands on one that can do 0.1 mm or smaller, that’s even better. The tradeoff is the smoother the printout the longer it will take to finish.
• 3d printer software: they’re bundled with the program and you can find some online as well.
If you’re wondering how much is a 3d printer, refer to the section below.
Entry-Level Filament 3D Printers ($350 to $1,500)
The most affordable 3D printers are capable of printing small objects using the fused or filament deposition manufacturing (FDM) process. These are low cost printers and the ideal starting point if you’re new to 3D printing. These printers are mostly set out of the box and relatively easy to configure.
These printers can usually print just one material or color at a time, and the output size is around 10 x 10 x 10 centimeters (4 x 4 x 4 inches). Most of these entry level 3D printers come with software, but even if they don’t there are free 3D printer software available online. These 3D printers typically use 3mm or 1.75 mm filaments and are in different colors.
High-End Filament Printers($1,000 to $3,000)
3d printer designs from these devices look better for the simple fact they’re more powerful. These printers have all the features of the basic and entry level 3D printers but have additional features like thinner layers (0.1 millimeters or 0.0039 inches) and several extruders.
High end 3D printers have larger build areas and thus can produce bigger prints, and the presence of multiple extruders means you can print an object with several colors. However this comes at an additional cost. These printers may also come with more complex parts, but if you are after multiple colors and higher resolutions, they could be worth the price. The build areas on these printers can go up to 10 x 6 x 6 inches (25 x 15 x 15 cm).
Other Types of 3D Printers ($2000 and up)
If you check some of the 3d printer video content online, you’re going to see that some newer printers can print using other types of materials other than plastic. While they’re more expensive, these 3D printers come with special extruders that allow them to print on air-cured plastic Sugru, clay Plasticine and other materials.
Plasticine is especially good for printing out flexible models, while Sugru is ideal when you’re looking for elasticity in models. While these 3D printers cost more, their support for other types of materials apart from plastic makes them attractive for users with advanced needs. For instance you can use these materials to print air-dried clay dishes or pots.
Stereolithographic Printers ($3,000 kit, approx. $5,000 assembled)
Also known as SL printers, these work by using a digital projector or laser along with a photosensitive resin. The light shines on the resin in the pattern layer, leading to solidification. The build surface is set down and the light creates another layer. The process is repeated again and again until the final object has been created.
The main attraction of these 3D printers is the final product has very high resolution, though the resin colors are still a bit limited at this point. However the high resolution output can provide details of as much as 0.012 inches (0.030 cm), and you can get layers with thickness levels of 0.001 inches (0.003 cm).
Reminders for First Time Buyers
If you’re buying a 3D printer for the first time, you should go for the entry level 3D printer. They are inexpensive, easy to use and will give you an idea of what it’s like to sue a 3D printer. These use either PLA or ABS plastic, and while kits are available, most of them have the major components assembled in the box. You’re also going to benefit from reading reviews of 3D printers and see what people have to say about it in terms of speed and performance.
The home 3d printer has finally become a reality, and advances in technology is bound to make these printers more powerful, affordable and accessible. When looking for a 3d printer for sale the buying process might seem a bit daunting if it’s your first time, but if you have the proper knowledge it’s not going to be hard at all.
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