Are you increasingly interested in 3D printing and its possibilities? You are quite right! But you don’t know where to start? This is completely normal! 3D printing is a complex field and is not strictly speaking independent. So how to do 3D printing? The Modern Gentleman helps you see more clearly on this subject.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing consists of producing three-dimensional objects using a specific printer. Thanks to this method, you will be able to model the objects of your invention using software. Then, these can be materialized thanks to a little material and a few skills.
In general, there are at least 3 steps to 3D printing:
- Modeling your object, or acquiring an already ready file.
- Cutting the object in software and transforming it into G-code for the printer.
- Printing the object in 3D
After these three main steps, you can move on to other steps such as finalizing the details or coloring your 3D object. Thanks to that, head to geeky decor and a well-decorated apartment!
What steps and materials are needed for 3D printing?
You will have understood, it is not enough to have a 3D printer to do 3D printing. You will need to master several preliminary steps, and also certain software. Let’s find out together what it is.
Create or download an object to open on your modeling software
Firstly, to be able to print an object, you must be able to model it. Here you have two main solutions:
- Either you create your 3D object, using modeling software like Fusion 360.
- Either you download a file from the internet, which gives you access to a 3D object already created. Sites like Cults3d or Thingiverse will be useful for this.
In all cases, your object must be in a compatible format for the future. In the case of 3D printing, choose. Obj or.Stl formats.
Prepare the printing of your 3D object using your printer software
Your 3D printer will be provided with printing software. On this software, you will need to integrate a g-code format so that you can visualize your object, but also prepare its printing. Thanks to this software, you can configure other elements for printing your 3D object:
- Its print size,
- His subject,
- Its finesse and detail,
- Adding printing support…
It is also at this stage that you will be able to estimate the printing time. If, however, your printer does not have integrated software, be aware that there is free software on the internet. Among the best known, we recognize Cura or even Repetier. These are compatible with most printers.
This step is much more complex and important than it seems. Indeed, incorrect configuration of your printing software can have enormous repercussions: excessively long printing time, printing failure, etc.
The 3D printer and its cartridges
First of all, it is important to know that there are already two main types of printers:
Filament printers, also called FDP (fused deposition)
Very versatile, they allow the printing of useful objects, decorations, or figurines. However, they do not allow a high level of detail. Many materials and colors are possible and can be mixed on the same object. Simple and clean to use, with little storage or cleaning to do, but working on the details of your parts will be more difficult.
Few different materials or colors, and which cannot be mixed on the same object. But, faster printing, and much greater detail. The print quality is higher than on a filament printer. Ideal for figurines and highly detailed objects. Easier to work with later in terms of detail, but requires many steps following the end of printing.
As you will have understood, the choice of your printer will depend on your use, although they are complementary. So, if your budget allows it, it is beneficial to get both.
For a filament printer, you have a large choice of material. The most used is PLA. It is a plastic available in many colors. But there are many others: polypropylene, ABS, nylon, PET, POM…
For a resin printer, you will need to stick to the resin. There are several types depending on the purpose of your future 3D object. Medical, dental, jewelry resin… However, you will quickly be limited in terms of colors.
In addition, the equipment for 3D printing
The printer and software are not the only materials you can acquire to work on your objects in 3D. Here are some materials that will be useful to you:
- The 3D scanner allows you to analyze objects and shapes to quickly model them in 3D using appropriate software.
- The laser cutter, to engrave objects if your printer does not support this functionality,
- In the case of filament printers :
- A spatula, to remove the object from the tray
- Beveled pliers, to cut the end of the filament
- An adhesion spray on glass tops,
- A box of acupuncture needles to unclog the nozzles without having to change them,
- A few spare nozzles in case of problems
- For a resin printer :
- Gloves because the resin flows,
- A mask to avoid breathing resin vapors,
- A spatula and precision pliers to cut the creation support,
- Paint filters to recover the remaining resin,
- A UV lamp to complete the solidification of the resin,
- Isopropyl alcohol to rinse resin parts after printing,