3D printing is a revolutionary technology that has profound practical applications ranging from 3D printed biomedical implants to its use in the aerospace industry. Besides its industrial use, 3D printers are widely popular among DIY enthusiasts as they allow them to create exact 3D replicas of the things they put into as digital information. The market for 3D printers is massive. There are a variety of 3D printers with varying sizes, dimensions, and functionality, and most importantly, the type of technology used.
Keep scrolling to know 6 things about 3D printers that will ensure you choose the model that fits your requirements.
Types of Printers
It is crucial to know the different types of 3D printers as each one operates on a slightly different mechanism. Different printer types use different materials ranging from photopolymers to ABS plastics. Here are the 3 most common types you will find in the market.
Fused Deposition Modeling Printers
To print with an FDM 3D printer, you need to feed an auto CAD design into the printer. These printers use two materials, a modeling material used to print the object and a supporting material that will keep the object in place while printing. There is an extrusion nozzle that melts the thermoplastic filament on the build platform and creates the object.
The attached computer can control the printing process by giving commands to the 3D printer. The object is built in the form of layers, When one layer completes, the base platform is lowered for the second layer to be placed. After the object is printed, it is removed from the platform base by soaking the printed object in a mild soap solution or by manually applying pressure on the object.
Selective Laser Sintering Printers
The SLS 3D printer uses lasers and a photosensitive powder that melts when it comes in contact with the laser. The SLS can easily print metal-based objects and produces detailed results.
The 3D printers based on this technology are similar to the SLS in function but use ultraviolet rays which are projected on a photosensitive resin or liquid to create the required object. Knowing the types of 3D printers will aid you in understanding which model would fulfill your 3D printing requirements.
Staying Within the Budget
You might change your mind if you start knowing the costs involved in purchasing and running a 3D printer. However, you don’t need to worry as there are many budget-friendly options you can choose from. Dedicating time to researching the different available options will aid in picking the right one. It is crucial to understand that the cost of the 3D printer you pay might not include the materials required for 3D printing. You need to spend some extra cash to buy 3D printing materials.
The cost of these materials increases with an increase in the 3D printer prices. However, the type of material used varies in cost. Therefore, always consider the total costs of buying and running the 3D printer so you know whether the cost falls within your budget. One more question you need to ask yourself is how much does 3d printing services cost? There are chances that your 3D printer might encounter a malfunction so it is necessary to know the cost of repairs as well. Finding out this information will ensure you stay within your budget.
Benefits of 3D Printers
With a 3D printer, it becomes possible to print the concepts into prototypes. This facilitates the R&D for most manufacturers, allowing them to improve their design instead of producing the prototypes on a larger scale. Besides helping with rapid prototyping of the products, the 3D printing technology can be used to produce custom products and products on demand. Furthermore, people living in remote areas can use 3D printers to fabricate objects that could be hard for them to find. The future use of 3D printers looks promising as this tech is being already used in several projects.
Features of a 3D Printer
Before purchasing a 3D printer, you need to evaluate the features you will be getting. Different 3D printers have varying features so it is essential to know the features before choosing a model. The features you should look for include the build volume, the size of the base platform, the number of extruders attached, and the diameter of the filament used in printing. Other features you should look for include its connectivity features and a dedicated user interface on the printer itself that eliminates the requirement of attaching a computer to the printer.
Uses of 3D Printers
Besides making prototypes, 3D printers are being used to make products like furniture, shoe designs, jewelry tools, toys, and novelty items to name a few. The automotive industry has already jumped on the bandwagon and started producing automotive parts for their latest models.
Artists are using the power of 3D printing for sculpting whereas architects use the tech to produce 3D models of their work.
The field of archeology is making use of 3D printing by 3D printing models of artifacts that have become fragile and could be lost. Artificial teeth, hearing aids, bone grafts, and prosthetics are being printed by the healthcare industry using this revolutionary tech. Research is being carried out to use 3D printers and create artificial organs which are anticipated to work the same as the body’s original organs when the R&D phase completes. You can even find commercial 3D printers that are used for food printing. However, the printing is limited to a specific type of food item.
When using a 3D printer, remember to follow the safety instructions provided in the user manual as the nozzle extruders become extremely hot when used for 3D printing. To avoid burns, use the printer responsibly and avoid touching the hot part of the nozzle. Most 3D printers use ABS plastic that produces fumes when printing with the material. Printing objects indoors using these types of plastics can be harmful to health. Therefore, always use the printer in an open place with good ventilation.
Purchasing a 3D printer not only requires money but also the attention you need to give so you can find a 3D printer that serves the intended purpose. We hope the information we presented has broadened your understanding on 3D printers so you know what to look for before purchasing.