Have you heard of the term additive manufacturing? If that sounds too technical, you might be more familiar with the term 3D printing or at least be able to guess what it’s all about from just its name.
This technology is not a new thing, but has been in use for more than 30 years. It is only recently that you and I can simply buy a 3D printer and print three dimensional objects from just a drawing on your computer. Isn’t that exciting?
So what is 3D printing all about?
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is creating a three dimensional object from a digital image by placing layers of material, one over the other until a complete structure is obtained.
A 3D design of the object that you want to print is first created, which is nothing but hundreds of thin slices of the object in an image format. This is then sent to a 3D printer to create the 3D print or the 3D object.
What materials are used for 3D printing?
You will come across two types of thermoplastics that are commonly used in 3D printing, namely, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene ) and PLA (Poly Lactic Acid).
You might already be familiar with ABS as it is used in cars and kitchen utensils. This is an oil-based plastic that is very durable and hence finds use in a lot of applications. Compared to PLA, it is less brittle and extremely ductile making it ideal to be used as filaments in 3D printers.
PLA on the other hand is a bioplastic, which means it is easily biodegradable and is made from renewable resources like corn starch and sugarcane. This is the most commonly used type of plastic and comes in a filament form. It finds use in applications such as food containers, medical implants, packaging material etc.
Whether it is ABS or PLA, white 3d printer filament is commonly used by those building prototypes as they won’t discolor while sanding. A white filament is also great for any objects that will need to be painted later.
Which 3D printer should I get?
The market is flooded with more than thousand different types of 3D printers. So the most obvious question to ask becomes ‘what is right 3D printer for me?’
The answer will differ based on what your requirement is. If you are simply looking to buy a 3D printer as a hobby then you can look for the best 3D PRINTER under 1000. But if your requirement is a little more than just a hobby, say for creating tools then a 3d printer BEST for tooling is what you should think about investing in.
Even if you narrow down your search to the best rated printers, it is wise to look into the following aspects before buying otherwise it can be a very expensive thing to regret about.
1. Type of printing technology (FDM or Fused deposition modeling is the most common)
2. Quality of the print
3. Printing software used
5. Construction and durability
6. Printing filaments used
7. Running costs