3D Printers Rapid Prototyping Reaches the Home Toolbench
3D printers have become more and more affordable. Now thanks to Kickstarter.com and the “PrintBot”, the possibilities are endless, and the printer can fit just about anywhere!
Your imagination and your willingness to learn are the only things holding you back from the fantastic world of CAD 3D printing! Don’t have room for a 3D printer the size of a small microwave? You don’t need to have one, you only need access – and there are companies out there just waiting for you to upload your file, and then they will send you your finished product, see this here!
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is a process where you create an area of solid material, add successive layers above it. This can be accomplished by heating a powdered material, then lowering the solidified material and adding more powdered material above it and repeating the process (also known as “selective laser sintering”). Most higher end prototyping machines have employed Selective Layer Sintering (SLS), while Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM has become more prevalent with the home users
Fused Deposition Modeling / Additive Layer Manufacturing
Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), or Fused Depsotion Modeling (FDM) heating the intended material (like plastic) and squeezing it out through a nozzle, where the nozzle places the material within a three dimensional area. FDM has a couple of limitations: the smaller the nozzle, the finer the detail, but also the slower a model, prototype or part can be created, and the type of material that can be melted and deposited by the nozzle. While Lasers can selectively heat anything from plastics to metals, most FDM printers can only use plastics of different types.
Why do I want one of these?
- Have you ever had an idea and thought, “someone ought to make one of those, I’m sure they’d make a fortune”?
- Had some object or toy, maybe a kitchen appliance, that got dropped, and one little component broke that you couldn’t replace?
- Had an idea for a cool piece of jewelry, or perhaps wanted a custom skull button for your macabre Halloween Tuxedo?
- Wanted to make a custom toy?
- Had a friend that was getting married and wanted the ultimate Wedding Cake topper – with their faces?
- Customized party favors?
3D Parts Already for Sale on eBay!
Parts for creating 3D printers as well as other parts are already being sold on eBay!
I Don’t CAD – Can I Get the DXF Files From Someone Else?
If you google “.dxf”, you can find many different files available. Some may NOT be compatible with your intended 3D printer, this will depend on what printer you decide upon and what you intend to create. The resolution of your machine will also play a part in how smooth and accurate your creation will be.
Also, if you search for something specific, say “skull.dxf”, you can come up with many custom files, both free and to purchase.
I just want the finished product – is there anywhere I can get it made?
There’s a great place for creating one – offs out of many different types of materials – including 3D printing from .dxf files. Ponoko.com has everything from fabrics to metals, plastics and more available to create your design! Check out some of the fantastic creations people have made there!
KickStarter – The Home of the New Entrepreneur!
Want to see the new frontier? Head over to KickStarter.com and see! Have an idea? Make it a reality!
New Patent Laws on the Horizon?
Do you think that industry will allow this new threat to reach your household? What if people make their own repair parts and sells them on the internet? What if someone makes a gas tank out of a plastic that reacts with gasoline and they get maimed, injured, killed? How do you think industry will react?
What do you think Industry will do?
I think Industry will make it illegal to upload, download, create or sell any parts that resemble theirs.I think Industry will simply add a clause: you make a part that screws you up, we’re not liable.