3D printing is a new method of manufacturing that puts custom objects in the hands of individuals and small businesses. 3D printed stuff can be made quickly and easily through the use of 3D printers and small hand held 3D pens.
A 3D printer works by using additives such as plastic to create an object. The 3D printer uses a data file to create an object precisely, and can be used to make everything from gun parts to musical instruments. It is less wasteful than subtractive types of manufacturing, where one starts with a block and cuts the object out of the block of material.
By creating an object through adding materials, you save on materials while still getting something made with great precision. It has changed how many objects are made, allowing prosthetics to be custom designed for an individual, instead of shaping a generic prosthetic to fit.
Types of 3D Printers Available
As time goes on new types of 3D printers become available. Where there was just one type of 3D printer before, now you can enjoy a variety of different 3D printers to fit your every need. Here are just a few of the types available:
One of the first methods of 3D Printing created, Stereolithography was patented in 1986. This concept uses melted plastic that gradually hardens to create the desired shape. This type of 3D printing is useful for any kind of design that allows smooth surfaces.
This method of 3D printing is useful for many different situations, ranging from artists who would like to create models of their work, to engineers testing to see whether the custom part they made will fit where it is intended to go.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
This type of 3D printing uses production grade plastics to create models, making it possible to use this 3D printer for end use products. FDM is the only type of 3D printer that can use this type of plastic, so if you intend to use a 3D printer to produce your own plastic based goods, you will need to purchase this type of printer.
FDM is used today by car manufacturers and food companies to help prototype new products. It is still to this day the number one way to test out new products, and even to finish final manufacturing.
Electron Beam Melting (EBM)
Electron Beam Melting is a method of manufacturing metal parts with the 3D printing concept. The machine takes metal powders and uses an electronic beam to melt the metal together. The process takes place in a vacuum and can involve heat as high as 1,000 Celsius.
EBMs are typically used for creating medical implant devices because of its usefulness in printing using Titanium alloys. 3D printing with Titanium allows for much more creative freedom, and because of this has also captured the interest of Aerospace, as titanium is an extremely light weight metal that can make flights more economical.
3D Pens / Doodlers
3D pens are small 3D printers in the shape of a pen. They use ABS plastic, which is the same type of plastic most 3D printers use, and because of its convenient shape it can be used to create freeform designs. The possibilities are limitless, do not require knowledge of CAD, and are low enough in price to make them accessible to most people.
Best 3D Printers
3D Printers are amazing pieces of technology that make fantastic gifts for eager inventors and entrepreneurs. If you are looking for gifts for someone else (or perhaps for yourself!) These products are the best 3D printers currently on the market.
The Original Prusa I3 MK3
Celebrated by reviewers everywhere, the The Original Prusa I3 MK3 is an award winning 3D printer at a fairly reasonable price. The most updated version has a removable heat bed, improved stability, and a handy filament sensor that can save your work by alerting you to the need for more plastic. Described as a veritable workhorse by many reviewers, it will keep on going long after many lower quality 3D printers have quit.
If you’re looking for a 3D printer that is both affordable and hard working, this is the one to go for.
The Ultimaker 3 has a few more features than the Original Prusa I3 MK3. It allows wireless connectivity, swappable cores for quick nozzle changes, and dual extrusion for faster completion of projects. It doesn’t quite achieve first place due to a few small flaws, such as difficult to access settings and a somewhat dated look.
Overall Ultimaker 3 is a very satisfying machine, and certainly one of the best 3D printers out there. If you are new to 3D printing this might be the ideal machine for you.
Creality Ender 3
This 3D printer comes pre-assembled, unlike many 3D printers which you have to assemble yourself. It boasts simplicity and can print a fairly large amount of plastic items, making it a wonderful choice for those just breaking into 3D printing. Best of all, this simply designed printer is easy to use without a ton of fussy settings you may end up wasting precious filament on just for experimentation.
Best of all, the Creality Ender 3 is the most affordable of all the top rated 3D printers, making it a great choice for beginner 3D printers.
3D printers are a great choice for people who want to create their own custom parts, models, and other items. If you are a pioneer in product creation and want to start creating your own unique items, purchasing a 3D printer is a great way to start. No matter what your idea is, creation is at the tip of your fingertips, no more waiting weeks or months to get back a concept piece from a manufacturer!