What Is 3D Printing?

3d printing is an additive manufacturing process in which a product is made by adding of raw material layer by layer on machine bed.

3d printing is a non traditional manufacturing method in which raw material in added to make a final product. This is why it is known as an additive manufacturing process.

It is very useful for rapid prototyping as it can covert a design into reality within a few hours right from your desktop. This is reason why 3d printing is considered so powerful and amazing technology.

Types of 3D Printing

There are mainly 8 types of 3d printing:

  1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  2. Stereolithography (SLA)
  3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  4. Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
  5. Digital Light Process (DLP)
  6. PolyJet
  7. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
  8. Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

In these eight types most used 3d printing processes are FDM and SLA. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is the most affordable type as it uses plastic filament.

SLA 3d printing is a bit expensive then FDM but still it is affordable and the quality of final product is extremely good. SLA printers uses liquid resin as raw material which has to be handled carefully.

FDM 3d printers are also quite affordale. The price range of these 3d printers is from ₹ 15000 can go upto 250000.

3D Printing Applications

This technology has a wide range of applications. It is used in following industries:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Construction
  3. Fashion
  4. Jewelry
  5. Architecture
  6. Customised Products
  7. Prosthetics
  8. Dental
  9. Implants
  10. Education
  11. Aerospace
  12. Heathcare

3D Printing Websites

In your journey of 3d printing these following websites will help you to find a lot of useful stuff you can print.

  1. Thingiverse
  2. Printables
  3. Cults
  4. Pinshape
  5. Myminifactory

These websites have thousands of 3d printable models that you can download and print.

Another handy website can be stlfinder.com, which is a search engine for stl files. This website will search the web and find the STL file you want without you searching each website manually. This can be a good time saver for you.

3D Printing Softwares

There are two kind of softwares that you need for 3d printing – 3d modelling and slicing.

1. 3D modelling software: This software is needed if you want to design your own 3d model that you can 3d print. There are a lot of 3d modelling softwares available, below I am listing a few you can use:

  • Autocad
  • Autodesk
  • Fusion 360
  • Onshape

Most of the 3d modelling softwares are paid softwares. If you don’t have software and don’t want to buy one, you can use onshape. Onshape is a free cloud software, so you have to install it you can use it right from your browser.

2. Slicer: A slicer or slicing software is needed in order to convert a 3d model into a program that 3d printer can understand and print the model. Below are some open source slicers that you can use:

Cura is a bit more versatile and comes with presets for popular 3d printers, so it’s my personal favourite.

3D Printing Examples

Below are a few examples of 3d printed things –

#1 Andro phone stand: Below is a phone stand in the shape of an android. It is a beneficial and good-looking print. It can also be customized; this phone stands with names or any other text.

phone stand

#2 Octopus phone stand: Here is another cool looking phone stand made by 3d printing. This stand is in the shape of an optopus tentacle. This is a very unique design of a phone stand.

octopus phone stsnd

#3 Hexagonal pen stand: This is a designer pen stand with hexagonal flutes, and the flutes are also twisted at an angle as they go up; this gives a unique aesthetic look.

3d printed pen stand

#4 Cable catcher: Below is the cable catcher that is custom-made for the Ender 5 3d printer for better cable management.

#5 Hearts: This is a simple yet beautiful heart design printed in just 20 minutes. These kinds of line designs are easy to model and fast to print. It can also be used as wall art, and similar things can be easily designed in any 3d modelling software like onshape, fusion, etc.

#6 Circular fountain: Below is another FDM printed part, which is the lower part of a circular fountain. The printing time for this part was half an hour. You can see the top portion of this part is having a conical structure which shows the accuracy of 3d printing.

FAQ’s

What is 3d printing used for?

3d printing is used for making different things like jewellery, parts, custom products, fixtures, prosthetics, artifacts, architectural models, miniatures, figures etc.

What is 3d printing process?

In 3d printing process, the product is made by adding layer upon layer on the machine bed. In this process raw material is being added and that is why it is a additive manufacturing (AM) process.

What is 3d printing machine?

A 3d printing machine is a called a 3d printer. There are various kind 3d printers available in the market today.

Can I 3d print a picture?

Yes, you can 3d print a picture in form of lithophane. A lithophane can be made in various shapes and sizes.

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