What is 3D Printing?
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the automated process of adding material to build up a 3D shape. This can be done through many different techniques.
Check out how we use 3D printing to make our jewelry and accessories here at Sci Chic!
Types of 3D Printing
3D printing can come in many forms and can be complted using a variety of materials ranging from plastic to metal to chocolate! There are also different types of printers that use a variety of techniques to achieve a 3D printing process.
Some of the techniques include fused depostion modeling, stereolithography and laser sintering. Fused deposition modeling is the technique used by most desktop 3D printers. It extrudes material one layer at a time out of a nozzle onto a platform in order to form a defined shape. To do this the material is heated to extremely high temperatures (190-250 degrees C) requiring the user to be cautious while the printer is running.
3D printers are made up of many parts, but these are the essential 4:
Filament Spool-The material used for printing is loaded onto the printer. This is where the material and color are selected.
Extruder- The part of the 3D printer that the filament feeds into. Inside here the filament is prepared into a form that can be used to print.
Hotend-The material comes out of the hotend and is transferred onto the print surface.
Print bed-This is where the item is formed. Some print beds are heated making it possible to print additional materials.
Future of 3D Printing
Every day brings new advances in 3D printing ranging from 3D printing glass to entire cars. 3D printing is changing every industry from medicine to costuming. Here are some articles showing its future:
Want to try out 3D printing for yourself?
Even if you do not have access to a 3D printer, you can still try out 3D printing! Shapeways will print any .stl file (Standard Tesselation Language, the most common 3D printing file format) you upload, or you can choose from a selection of models designers have already uploaded. You can check out Sci Chic's Shapeway's designs here!
3D Hubs provides another option. People that own 3D printers will list their printers on this website and you can send them your models to print. This allows you to support local 3D printing owners.