By now you’ve probably observed what your regular HP printer can do. You slide in the paper, add the ink cartridges, click print and watch as the printer deposits ink onto a sheet until a final image in ejected out. No frills and pretty simple. As in the case of 3D printing, you first design a file using CAD software or download a file that’s already been designed, load in the filament, click print and wait until the file has been entirely deposited onto the print plate. As in the case of a regular 2D printer, the 3D printed deposits material layer by layer until it has created a solid 3 dimensional shape.
To understand why 3D printing is a greener and less wasteful form of manufacturing, you would have to delve into what processes are involved in the general manufacturing of products.
‘Traditional’ manufacturing is a form of ‘subtractive’ manufacturing which involves cutting down or hollowing a piece of metal or plastic with factory machinery. Although being more time efficient, the amount of manpower and capital required to fuel the manufacturing process is large in number.
In comparison, 3D manufacturing is more of an additive manufacturing process as it involves creating successive layers of material until the object is created and thus includes a lot less wastage than traditional forms of manufacturing where all the leftover and rejected material is usually discarded off. Using 3D printers gives you the freedom to make objects of almost any shape or geometry as per your requirements.
Currently the main concern that exists when it comes to 3D printing is the time involved in the creation of the objects. Like with any form of sustainable manufacturing, buying a 3D printer is a one time purchase and is pretty easy to maintain and a more future proof option than any other form of manufacturing. With new advances being made in the industry everyday, it is no doubt that 3D printing is growing more productive and capable as days goes by.
Unlike the gargantuan manufacturing equipment used in most factories, modern day 3D printers are portable and desktop compatible. They can easily be placed on your desk and can replace whatever basic item you would need to buy from the store. Need a door stopper at a cheaper price point? Just 3D print it. Want to design an elaborate figurine of Cthulhu for your cousins birthday? Just 3D print it. Last minute wedding invitation and you can’t afford fancy new jewellery? Just 3D print it. Rather than wasting time scrounging through different stores for the most basic of items, one can just get it 3D printed and customised as per your taste for a fraction of the cost. From your most basic necessities to your most complicated ideas, 3D printing has got you covered.
The only thing you really need in order to become a 3D printing wiz is software and a propensity to learn new things. There are loads of online tutorials available to help you get started with 3D printing. You can get started by viewing Autodesk Fusion 360 tutorials.
Besides Autodesk Fusion 360, you can use
or even https://freecadweb.org
Most 3D printers have a warranty of at least one year and manufactures often provide round the clock service.