Have you heard ‘3D Printed’ or ‘3D Printing’ some time or somewhere in the last six months?
Yes? You aren’t alone. If not that’s ok, we can all learn a little bit together.
Whether you are familiar with 3D Printing or not, there are not many people who truly understand what 3D Printing is and how It works. When probing to learn more about more what others know regarding 3D Printing, most answer with some version of ‘Yes, it prints things in 3D right? While this is technically correct, the process goes like this: 3D Printing is the process of using a printer to print, layer by layer, from the base up, almost any object you can imagine. All you have to do is create a Digital File. These 3D digital files can be created in a variety of open-source programs such as Google Sketch-Up, Mesh Lab, and others. Once you have your STL file created (This is a type of file that the 3D printer can read, decode and then take those instructions to guide the creation of the object on the printer). Once created, they go through a quick compression program to prep the files to be read by the printer before being loaded onto a Mini SD card and put directly into the 3D Printer. The 3D printer itself than takes a spool of plastic-like substance, known as PLA (Polylactic acid), heats it up to around 200 degrees and then proceeds to move around the nozzle that dispenses the melted material on a 4 axis head and distribute the material in even lawyers until the object begins to take shape and density. I know that sounds confusing, so you can take a more detailed look at the process in the video below https://youtu.be/Vx0Z6LplaMU
3D Printing: The Future
After gaining a broader understanding of 3D Printing recently, I am convinced that it will be one of the technologies that change the world as part of the ‘smart home’ transition that will be accelerating in the coming century.
At the moment, the ability to create a wide variety of truly useful products is a bit limited. Many 3D Printer owners use their printers to create fun and unusual objects just for the fun of it. (See picture below) There are, however, plenty of both individuals with 3D Printers and large companies using 3D printers for a wide variety of useful purposes such as producing 3D printed parts for toys, bikes, and other common items.
With the recent rise of the Corona Virus Pandemic that swept the nation, however, more practical uses for the technology have been emerging out of Americans home using 3D Printing! Many 3D printing enthusiasts, non-profits, and companies throughout the state of Maryland began producing 3D Printed Face Guards and Masks (Check them out in the picture below) to be given out during the viruses spread. Although a bit rudimentary, for being in the early stages of the technology and development, this shows the potential possibilities for everyday people, in their homes, to be able to PRINT things they need instead of even having to order them.
Just as the transition from two-day shipping to one-day shipping shows, people now and days want things faster and faster. I see 3D Printing as an integral and natural progression of faster consumer fulfillment as the demand from customers to receive the things they want; faster and faster, puts a strain on any companies ability to keep up with the demand. Why order a new handle for your stove or a cover for a light switch when you can just print one yourself?
PIVOT Co-Working Spaces has 3D Printers available for free for all members to use. Whether you are a small business working to create a sample product for development reasons, or you just find the technology interesting and want to print something fun for one of your kids!
3D Printers start as low as $175/each. As with everything these days, there is a wide variety of types & qualities of a 3D Printer. Higher-end versions can go for upwards of $4000.00. Larger 3D printers, used by the military and government agencies push into the $100,000+ range!
If you have any questions or want to learn more about 3D Printing feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org