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What Is 3-D Printing?

By mnovak

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Although 3-D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing (AM), has been around since late 80's, it gained popularity a decade later when desktop 3-D printers became more widely available for consumer usage.

How does 3-D printing work?

Printing a 3-D object requires a digital 3-D model. 3-D models can be made using computer assisted design (CAD) software or downloaded from the vast database of objects available on the Internet. Before being printed, the digital model is processed within the printer. The printer splits the model into cross-sections called layers which are then laid successively on one another from the bottom of the project to its top. This process is called additive manufacturing, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing where an object is made by controlled material removal.

3-D Printers

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Even though prices for desktop 3-D printers are dropping each year, with price for a basic model being as low as 120AUD, more complex models are still considered quite expensive, as their price can equal as much as 3,000AUD. Still, it's nothing compared to prices for advanced 3-D printers for professionals which can cost even 350,000AUD.

Alright, now that we know a little bit more about this 3-D printing thing, let's see what can an average desktop printer print.

What Can A Desktop 3-D Printer Print?

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While there are even houses being built using 3-D printers, an average home 3-D printer has its limitations, but the array of things it can print is still quite impressive.

With a home 3-D printer you can print a great variety of small plastic objects beginning with toys, gear wraps, figurines, mobile phone cases, game pieces, and ending with things such as, for example, 3-D shoes.

The list of objects you can print with a home 3-D printer is of course much longer than just the above mentioned articles; there are plenty of Internet databases from which you can download interesting models, alter them according to your needs, print them out, and have on your desk within a few minutes.

3-D Printing for Business

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Currently, the biggest potential of 3-D printers is still in the industrial area. Both small and big companies can now create prototypes of their new designs without hiring third parties to do the job. This solution not only saves these companies money but it also saves them time which would otherwise be wasted on outsourcing the manufacturing process of the prototype.

With the possibilities of 3-D printing in areas such as medicine, fashion, jewelery, art and sculpture, aerospace, etc., businesses can benefit from 3-D printing technology in ways which were out of reach in the past. Things once considered sci-fi like, for example, this bionic arm, are becoming commonplace with 3-D printers, which only proves just how important this technology is.

3-D Printing Services

You may be thrilled with the idea of printing various objects at home or at office, but do you need to buy a 3-D printer to experience the first thrill of 3-D printing? Luckily, no.

There are many companies which offer on-demand 3-D printing services through which you can print your own projects made in CAD, or one of the many projects available online. 3-D printing companies can also scan an object for you and print a duplicate of it if you so desire. Moreover, if you have a certain project on mind, but don't know how to use CAD software to create it, they can help you out as well.

If you're interested in 3-D printing technology for your home or for your business our specialists at BuzzAGeek will be more than happy to advise you on the matter of 3-D printers. We can help you set up the hardware and install all of the necessary drivers and software. Just give us a call and let's talk.

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