- Arts and Design
3D Printing Was A Novelty, Now It's A Nescessity
What Can 3D Printers Do?
It's an answer that is both incredibly easy and difficult to understand. 3D printers are amazing little (or bag) machines that can make anything your imagination can think of.
Want some covers for your keys to tell them apart? Easily done.
Want to make a plug for the sink that fits properly? Easily done too.
Want to make your own toys that would put a Kinder Surprise egg to shame? Easily done as well.
Want to make a fully edible cake that is custom built to the pixel? Not so easily done, but still doable.
3D printers are an open invitation to let your imagination run wild and create objects you never knew you wanted, or never had the chance to create before.
In this Hub I'll show you some great examples of 3D printed work, why it's such an important thing and how it's helping people all over the world. And most importantly, you'll get to see how much fun owning, working with and operating a 3D printer can be.
Printing Is About More Than Paper
Why is this important?
Trying to explain 3D printing to someone who has never heard of, or has no concept of it, can be difficult.
If you wanted to explain how a normal printer works you can just say something like 'put paper here. ink here. hit print, magic'
With a 3D printer though you have to say 'think of something, design it, hit print. magic' This little change confuses most folk because it doesn't have the same level of limitations or restrictions in place. That's the fundamental difference (and massive positive) which 3D Printing has going for it.
If someone has an idea of a pen design they want to make, it is now possible to get it done at a relatively cheap price. Maybe a person wants their phone case to be shaped a certain way to fit with how they use it when working. A quick design and hey presto a custom case is possible. Maybe a baker wants a custom shape plastic blade for shaping cakes a certain way. Or maybe a plumber has a million dollar idea in his head for a product that can fix every broken sink in the world but doesn't have the time or money to act upon it. A quick talk with someone who works a 3D printer can change all that.
In this short Hub we'll be looking at some cool things 3D printing has, can, and will continue to do.
3D Printed Shoes!
You Can Make Anything (With The Right Materials)
If you did a quick search for 3D Printer News, you would find two constants in every story.
1. The object printed performs a unique function.
2. It has completely changed how future related projects will be carried out.
If you think of yourself as something a wiley investor and are saying to yourself 'I should invest in 3D Printers' by all means go ahead and buy one, but invest in the one constant needed tp make these printers do their job: the ink.
We've all been there when the computer's printer suddenly runs out of ink and we get in a fight trying to take out the cartridge, figure out what exactly it is and then get a new one. In most cases, the cartridges for printers are worth more than the printers themselves.
Because 3D printers were made to be versatile, they also have to have as wide a range of printing options as possible. This has seen inventors try to make ink from all kinds of metals, plastics and even food stuffs (yes 3D food is a reality!)
As these printers get easier to make, the materials needed will too. For now though, I'd recommend to sticking with the basics if you're new to 3D Printing; you wouldn't want your first experience to involve melted plastic all over your worktop.
Do You Like 3D Printing?
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3D CAKE? 3D Cake!
Should We All Be 3D Printing?
In one word: Yes.
this type of technology is a mixture of old manual techniques with cutting edge ideas. If you have a relative who isn't great at using their touch screen phone or tablet, work with them on making something as simply as a bookmark or little figurine on a 3D printer. The mixture of virtual and physical is a great teaching aid.
And in a wider sense, 3D printers can help save time and money fir those who need it most. In the video below, you see how 3D printed arms have helped make synthetic limbs for children in Sudan. Africa surprisingly is making the most of this technology, with the water pump as a great example.
In the past, a small village or town would've had to have tools and supplies delivered to dig and build a functioning water pump. If the pump broke down, the town would have to wait until someone came to look at the pump, assess what the problem was and then get new parts delivered. Nowadays, a problem can be fixed in a matter of minutes with a 3D printer. A person can check the problem, ask for details on the broken part and get the design template emailed to them. But that info in the printer, wait a few hours and you have a fixed pump.
It drops the reliance on aid being everything from used shoes and tools to just a document only a few kb in size that can have a lifetime effect.
Exciting, isn't it?
3D Printing Helps People
3D Printed ObjectsClick thumbnail to view full-size
3D Printing Links
- Thingiverse - Digital Designs for Physical Objects
The no.1 resource for 3D templates. If you need any inspiration to create something, visit this site and see all the amazing objects people have made using their own printer at home.
- 3D Printer
The subreddit for 3D printing. I often go on just to look at some of the amazing things people have created. The best part is many share their design templates to let others have a go and make their own custom versions too.
- Your Own 3D Printer
If the whole concept of 3D printing is foreign to you, but you still want to give it a go while avoiding breaking the bank, I highly recommend this printer. It comes as one unit so you don't have to do the whole screw A to Slot b nightmare.
- 3D Printing News (@3DPrintGirl) | Twitter
A really good Twitter account that highlights some of the amazing things these printers are capable of. You might get envious if you're only starting out seeing people 3D print cars and houses!