What Beginners Need to Know About 3D Printing

You’ve probably heard about the potential of 3D printing, but ever wondered what it is like to get on 3D printing? Whether you’re new to 3D printing technology or you’re simply looking to learn more, this post will give you insights into the reality of 3D printing.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing. In 3D printing process physical objects are created by laying thin layers of material on top of each other from a three-dimensional digital model. Additive manufacturing technology was first introduced in 1986 but it was not until the 1990s that it drew attention in the tech world.

How 3D printing works

To create an object 3D printing fuses together layers of material. Use your computer to send commands directly to the 3D printer. Here is how your 3D printer works

  • Materials- the materials used include polymers and resin, plastic and metals.
  • Elevator- 3D printers create objects through layering materials. The elevator moves the object accordingly during the process.
  • Laser- This is used to fuse and solidify the material together.
  • VAT- This is the reservoir for the material.

3D modelling techniques

Here are the top 4 techniques to help you create unique and stunning objects

Polygon Modeling

This is a technique you have to master if you want to become a 3D artist. This approach is used to create 3D models for video games and movies. It requires you to use hexagons, triangles and cubes. You have to determine the number of hexagons to use for the model to appear realistic. The higher the number used, the more realistic the model appears.

NURBS modelling

NURBS stands for Non-uniform Rational Basis Spline. It is used for designing and modelling surfaces. The downside of using this model is once you have created the image, you cannot alter it.

NURMS modelling

NURMS stands for Non-Uniform Rational Mesh Smooth. This helps you achieve the greater details you want on your objects. It allows you to make round and curved edges.

Digital Sculpting

Digital sculpting is a disruptive technology that has enables you to create 3D models more efficiently and faster. As opposed to older technology that restricted modelers in edge flow and topology, digital sculpting enables modelers to work with high-resolution meshes that contain innumerable polygons that create higher levels of surface detail. Remember, the higher the number of polygons, the better the appearance of the model.

3D printing applications

You probably are wondering whether 3D printing is suitable for your industry. Well, 3D serves almost every industry out there and it is only your imagination that can limit you. This technology has been used to create lighter parts for planes, vehicles, and home appliances. It is an excellent method used in education. It is used to create realistic models for educational items, such as internal body organs.

You can use your 3D printer to create your favourite film characters and action figures such as Iron Man. You can also print games such as Zoo Apocalypse, Seej, Castle Checkers e.t.c.  Fashion designers can also use this technology to design outfits for their clothing lines. The Smoke Dress and Addidas are examples of fashion in 3D printing.

Types of 3D printing processes

Stereolithography and Full Deposition Modeling are most common types of printing processes you may encounter. Full Deposition Modeling is used for prototyping, production applications, and modeling. It creates objects by layering materials. FDM is easy to use and it is most suitable for offices.

Stereolithography is the pioneer process of 3D printing processes. Unlike FDM, SLA uses an ultraviolet laser which is directed to the liquid plastic. The printer works from the top and pulls the object from the liquid.

How big should your design be?

The size skews up or down depending on the 3D printing process involved. Different materials have different outcomes on the dimensions of a model. Look at the printing sizes in the manual and determine what will suit you best.

Getting the right printer

You may be flummoxed on which printer to purchase due to the high number of printers in the market. Which one is better? Is it a cheaper model or an expensive model? Here are some important factors to consider before you agree to that purchase


Ask the manufacturer how often you may need to tighten the belt or the cost of replacing something that may break in the printer.

Online community

Before purchasing a particular model, check whether there are existing online communities that dedicated to that particular model. This is a great source of information.

Print speed

Get a machine that prints slowly. Slower machines tend to produce high-quality models.

3D printing whether at a personal, local or industrial level, brings a myriad of benefits that traditional methods of manufacture cannot.  These are some of the basics you need to know about 3D printing.


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