About 3D printers

What is a 3D printer? 

3D printers are the latest generation of machines used to produce everyday objects. They’re remarkable because they can produce nearly anything you can dream of in a variety of materials, all from the same machine. They replace traditional factory production lines with a single machine, just like home inkjet printers replaced bottles of ink, a printing press, hot metal type and a drying rack.

How do they work? 

3D printers use additive production technology. This means that the production of an item takes place by the gradual addition of material layer by layer, eventually resulting in the final design. This is the difference between 3D print and CNC machining or milling production, is that the latter involves removing material, cutting products, and shaping material using moulds. Although both of these procedures are very fast and advantageous when it comes to large-scale production, they require background, finances, professional staff and a lot of training. In less than the time it takes to create a mould for casting, you can have the exact item you need perfectly printed on a 3D printer. When it comes to production itself, 3D printing is slower, but because you can move to the print phase almost immediately, it is an ideal technology for making custom design and home improvement.

Personal FDM 3D printers 

The acronym FDM comes from the English “Fused Deposition Modeling”, but it is a trademark of Stratasy, so although it’s widely used in the 3D printing community, you will not usually find the term used on the manufacturers’ websites. The correct name of the technology is therefore FDM (Fused Filament Fabrication), or Fused Filament Production. This technology is based on the formation and controlled distribution of filaments, or the string of printing material. 

FDM 3D printing works like this: the printing material enters the printers in the form of a string. It is then melted in the printhead (extruder) enough to be pushed through the nozzle and transformed into the layers that make up the final printed product. 3D printing is based on the precise creation of thin layers. The printhead is changed above the print pad (bed) according to a precise blueprint created on the basis of the 3D model and forms the product in layers from bottom to top.

In a nutshell, the 3D printing process turns a whole object into thousands of tiny little slices, then adds each slice together layer by layer to form the whole finished item from bottom to top. Each layer can be very complex. 

The advantages of FDM 3D printing 

Low acquisition and operating costs are the real plus-point of FDM 3D printing. You can buy a standard FDM 3D printer for less than a new iPhone, and you have a wide range of printing materials, colours and properties to choose from. You can print objects that are durable, fragile, solid, flexible, glowing in the dark, conductive, those that imitate other materials such as wood, and more – the options are nearly endless. In addition, printing with an FDM printer is fast – just download the model, create instructions for the printer and send it.

What is needed for 3D printing our designs?

3D printer with slicer software: When you have a 3D model on your computer, you need to create instructions from it that the 3D printer understands. This software is aptly named a “slicer: because it will cut the model into layers on which the printer will build the product. But you don’t have to pay anything for the slicer, the printer manufacturers offer it as a free download on their websites.

Filament: 

These are the thermoplastic material formed into strings that are sold by spools. Our objects are designed for major filaments with a 1.75 mm thickness. Due to aesthetics we recommend that you to use matte filaments and we also encourage you to use an eco-friendly 3D printing filament. There are many types of recycled and recyclable filaments available to meet any level of demand required. But don’t be afraid to experiment. Pick your favourite material and colour and make something that’s truly your own.

Tools: 

Working with 3D printing still requires some dexterity. In addition to tightening the parts of the 3D printer and working with your printed objects, you will probably need tools such as spatulas, knives, tweezers, screwdrivers and wrenches, pliers, a caliper, a flashlight and sandpaper to get the results you’re looking for.