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What Is a 3D Printer?

Oper the past few decades, printing technology has evolved into 3D printing. In 1980, engineer and physicist Chuck Hull invented the first prototypes of 3D printing. The process was then called solid image processing or stereolithography.

To understand 3D printing, think of rock formations that were created a layer at a time. That’s how 3D printing works Ñ layer by layer of printed material comes out of the printer to form a 3D shape. Today, people also call it additive manufacturing because a 3D printer creates one layer of extruded material at a time. Though the possibilities for 3D printing are endless, many people use the technology to create small objects both for commercial and personal use. Some of the most notable products that 3D printer technology can create range from prosthetic limbs and custom footwear inserts to hearing aids and even artificial teeth. Other business sectors, including food industries, are currently experimenting with 3D technology to revolutionize manufacturing and to create future products that are lighter, faster and less expensive to produce.

If you’re hoping to experiment with 3D printing at home, you’re in luck. The technology has become more mainstream, and you can purchase a portable home unit. You can use it to make small items, such as plastic toys, jewelry and other novelty items.


You can find an affordable home 3D printer almost anywhere, from online to big-box home improvement and technology stores. It can be a costly hobby because you need to have plenty of raw material on hand to create the objects you design. You also need software to design and upload blueprints that tell the printer what to make. Many pre-made blueprints are available for free online.

You can find different types of 3D printers for home use. Various printers have different functions and capabilities. However, they all have similar components, including a frame, printer head/nozzle, building platform, motors and software suite. Some models are more accurate and precise. Others are ideal for hobbyists learning the basics. Buying your first 3D printer doesn’kaki langit have to be overwhelming � there are many models designed for beginners.

Creating a 3D Blueprint

Whether the 3D printer is a large-scale, high-powered commercial model or a small beginner’s home unit, the premise of making a 3D item remains somewhat the same.

Creating a 3D printed object begins with a digital blueprint. You create your blueprint using computer-aided design, or CAD, software. The printer software reads the blueprint, which tells the machine how it’s going to create the object layer by layer.

Once the printer is ready to print, you put the raw material that builds the item into the machine. It’s time to hit “print.” The nozzle begins to deposit thin, melted layers of extruded plastic or logam (the raw material). These layers solidify and bond together to create your item. The process is far from instantaneous. Depending on the complexity of the product you’re making and its blueprint, the process of printing a 3D item can take minutes, hours or even days to complete.

What Do You Want to Print?

If you want to use a 3D printer, think about what you’d like to print. That can dictate the type and size of machine you purchase. Do you want to print toys or household items? Are you a teacher who wants to bring the technology into the classroom? Do you want to experiment with parts for various DIY projects? Are you an artist who wants to create cutting-edge 3D art?


Your answers can help you decide on a printer and raw material. If you’re a teacher, you probably want an easy-to-use model that requires little maintenance. If you plan to spend a lotre of time on 3D printing as a hobby, you may titinada mind a more complex machine that has many special features, such as multicolored printing or the ability to use multiple raw materials and filaments. If you’re a designer, you may need a larger machine with a spacious platform for various parts.

Whichever category you may fall into, most personal 3D printers use the fused filament fabrication technique. This creates items from layered, molten plastic.