How does 3D printing work?

Special software is used to create print files that tell the printer how to proceed and make things. If you are not a seasoned user of a 3D printer, a 3D printing service can easily help you manipulate objects in 3D space to help see the possibilities.

What are some helpful vocabulary terms of 3D printing?

Some key terms are:

Build Plate – the tape used to cover the glass upon which the 3D printed object will rest. Non-heated print beds normally need to be covered in blue tape (painter’s tape). The object needs to be firmly fixed to the print bed for best results.

Filament – there are several different types of filament, including: PLA a food safe plastic, ABS a strong filament used for logos, PLA/PHA strong filament, Co-Polyster rubbery filament and Composite PLA, made of shavings of organic material.

Extrusion or Print Nozzle – the nozzle from which the filament emerges – also known as the “hot end.”

Extruder Arm – the arm to which the extrusion nozzle, where the filament is distributed from onto the build plate, is attached. The arm moves in the predetermined design, laid out in layers.

What can I realistically print?

You can print literally anything you have a design for. For more complex designs, it will be necessary to print each component of the design and then assemble it. Work with a 3D design firm to design something, or create the design yourself using 3D printer software, such as TinkerCAD or SketchUp.

What are some of the costs of 3D printing?

The best way to estimate your 3D printing project is to work closely with a 3D expert – someone who will ask good questions and help you determine the extent of your 3D needs. By thoroughly examining your project needs, you will end up with the most efficient solution.

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