We are nearly entering the year 2022, and there was a time when people thought we’d be living on Mars with flying cars by now. No, we can’t download our dinner and see it materialize on a digital plate in front of us. What we can do is 3D print physical objects – and while that won’t impress the Jetsons, this technology is improving lives every day.
Before you buy a 3D printer, there are some basics that you should know. How does a 3D printer work? What can the best 3D printer do for the average consumer?
Read on to learn a little bit more about how 3D printers work, and what they can do for you in the year 2022 and beyond.
What Is 3D Printing?
This fairly straightforward technology is one of the top business tools this decade, and it’s making it possible for even more new technology to thrive. The 3D printer uses range from modeling to creative problem solving, and have implications for nearly every field imaginable. In essence, 3D printing allows designers and innovators to create tactile models without putting in the time to build them by hand.
3D printing goes beyond models, too. Innovators have been using 3D printers to design hard-to-source parts for machines. Charitable designers have even found ways to use 3D printing to create custom prosthetics for those in need.
The average business user will use 3D printers to create quick and affordable prototypes. They call this process rapid prototyping, and it is making it easier to put ideas into practice on an expedited timeline.
How Does a 3D Printer Work?
A 3D printer is much like an inkjet printer, only instead of printing an image on a screen, it starts with a 3D CAD drawing created by a designer. The printer processes this data and then recreates it one layer at a time, from bottom to top.
The type of material used to create models varies by machine. Most will use molten plastic or powder made of thermoplastics, chosen for the way they behave when exposed to light or heat. As the printer constructs the model, UV light or special adhesives fuse the material together.
Each layer must dry for a time after printing so the machine can print the next layer on top. While it might take a few hours for a 3D printer to generate a complete model, this is much quicker than it would take to create a prototype from scratch!
Should You Buy One?
A 3D printer is a good investment only if you will be using it regularly. While the printer itself is a one-time purchase, you will need to replace the material used for printing, just like you might replace an ink cartridge.
Before you run out and buy a 3D printer for sale, consider using a printing service. This is a great way to ensure that a 3D printer will do what you need before you make a major investment.
Printing for the Future
We may not be able to print a hamburger, but we can print parts of the machine that might help us make them! Technology is evolving by the day, and 3D printers are going to be around for years to come.
How does a 3D printer work? That answer is going to change rapidly, and this is your opportunity to become proficient in a brilliant technology while it’s new. What will you create?
Since you started reading this article, technology has already begun to change! It’s not too late to catch up! Check out the rest of the blog for the latest tech news!