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How To Get Started With 3D Printing

How To Get Started With 3D Printing

Tom Claes from Unsplash

Whether you want to start an art project or a printing business, using three-dimensional or 3D printing is an incredible way to attain your desired product specifications. 3D printing is widely used in many applications such as in the fashion industry, food industry, education sectors, transportation industry, and even arts and cultural heritage.

What Is 3D Printing?

This printing procedure involves different processes, wherein a computer controls the deposition, joining, and solidification of a material (such as plastic, powder grains, or liquids) layer by layer, creating a three-dimensional object.

A 3D print forms a finished product by first submitting a detailed design image to the printer. After which, the design details are converted in standard triangle language or STL, conveying the dimensions and intricacies of a design. In this way, a computerized 3D printer can see the design from all angles.

Steps To Get Started With 3D Printing

You’ll learn how to get started with 3D printing to guide you in starting your 3D project or business by following these steps:

1. Choose The Right 3D Printer

With 3D printing, artists can transform their creative ideas into tangible art pieces. Artists can create new and interesting objects, expanding their design horizons and fostering aesthetic innovation. 

When shopping for a 3D printer, you need to look for the best features such as a heated glass bed, an easy-to-use user interface, and a larger build volume. A good quality printer includes an excellent quality support system with built-in security protocols.

2. Choose High-Quality 3D Printing Materials 

The 3D printing materials are diverse like the products one can create from the process. Because 3D printing is flexible, the machine can easily determine the texture, strength, and shape of a product. You can attain all your desired product qualities with fewer steps than traditional production processes.  

Here are the common materials used in 3D printing:

  • Plastics: This material is commonly used in the 3D printing of household fixtures such as vases and utensils, and 3D-printed toys like action figures. Plastic filaments, like Polyvinyl Alcohol Plastic or PVA filament, are available in transparent and bright colors. This material is flexible, firm, smooth, and affordable option for both creators and consumers.
  • Powders: Latest models of printers use powdered 3D printing materials, in which the powder melts and distributes in layers to attain the desired texture, patterns, and thickness.
  • Resins: This 3D printing material has limited strength and flexibility, which is made of liquid polymer, reaching its end state with ultraviolet light exposure.
  • Metal: This material is the second most popular in the 3D printing industry. 3D printing is used in metal to simplifies parts of construction. Of course, the fashion and art industry benefits from using metals to create gorgeous jewellery and metal art pieces.

 How To Get Started With 3D Printing

3. Create A 3D Design

Every 3D print starts with a 3D model or design that you can generate in a modeling software program. You can choose from a wide array of modeling software options such as a manifold model with all walls having some thickness necessary for 3D printing. 

Open-source software programs are usually free. For a 3D printing business, you can use a paid version that can provide you extra tools to make more intricate 3D designs for 3D printing. You can find a 3D modeling software program for beginners and professionals alike with varying features.

Some 3D modeling software programs allow you to write code. You can describe the dimensions and other parameters of the desired 3D object in a code rather than using a traditional interactive 3D modeling interface.

4. Learn The Best 3D Printing Techniques

You need to learn the various 3D printing techniques to know the best for you. There are many techniques in 3D printing that you can choose from depending on your project.

One printing technique is called fused filament fabrication (FFF) or fused deposition modeling (FDM), a 3D printing technology utilizing material extrusion. A spool of solid thermoplastic material is introduced into the 3D printer and pushed by a motor via a heated nozzle. The head of the printer’s extrusion moves in specific coordinates to deposit the material on a platform to cool, solidify, and form a solid object.

The other 3D printing techniques include stereolithography (SLA) and digital light processing. The former uses photopolymer resin cured by a light source and the latter uses a digital light projector, flashing a single image for all layers at one time and multiple images flashing for larger parts.

Conclusion 

You can now start your 3D printing project or business by following the tips shared in this article. It’s important to hone your knowledge and skills in various 3D printing techniques and applications to get the most of your 3D printer and materials.