Posted on Leave a comment

What is a 3D printer and how it fits in our lives today?

people discussing 3D printing

Introduction

In our ever changing and fast-paced world, we need to keep up with the latest technologies so we can be competitive in the modern world as well as to make our lives easier, processes faster, and simply be in the loop of today’s realities. 

You have surely heard of Adidas making 3D printed sneakers or other companies using recycled materials to make clothes, shows, as well as jewellery and many other things. 

Whether we want it or not, this new technology has entered our lives and is here to stay, as 3D printing provides not only innovation but also aids in environmental issues, as it can use recycled materials.  

What is a 3D printer?

For those of you who don’t know this technology, and never heard of it before, let us give you a bit of a background in this technology and show how far it has come in a considerably short period. 

3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making 3-dimensional  objects from a CAD/digital 3D model.

So simply put, a 3D printer, is a printer that prints objects that have three dimensions – the depth, the height and the width. 

A bit of history

Additive manufacturing or 3D printers were invented not so long ago. The first concept of 3D printing technology was laid out in 1974, and as early as the 1980s, the first 3D printer was built. 

The first-ever manufactured 3D printer used Stereolithography method, or simply SLA, which is basically using a liquid resin and UV laser to build the object layer-by-layer. It was created in 1983 by Chuck Hull. 

Later on, many other different technologies have been created, to accommodate different needs and provide a variety of materials.

How does a 3D printer work?

As we have mentioned before, a 3D printer is a machine that prints objects, rather than flat images on things.

It is also called additive manufacturing, as the objects are printed layer-by-layer, adding the material as they go, rather than all at once. 

Many different materials are used in this technology and called a filament. Each 3D printer filament may be different, as technologies of printing differ. 

There is a great variety of 3D printer UK has to offer due to the different technologies available, and each of them brings something unique to the table. 

3D Printing Technologies

Here are all the main technologies used, some of which are more suitable for home and others for industries, however knowing what is out there will help you in the decision of how to choose the right 3D printer for your specific needs. 

  • Stereolithography (SLA) 

As stated earlier, this is the first and oldest method of making 3D printer designs, using liquid raisin and UV ray to solidify the plastic, building the model layer-by-layer.  

  • Digital Light Processing (DLP)

This method is very close to the previous one, with one significant difference, being the light source. In SLA there is a UV Laser, and in DLP there is a projector, which trajectory is controlled by mirrors. 

  • Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

This is one of the most commonly used technologies for commercial 3D printers. This method uses plastic filaments to build structures through heating them and putting them through an extruder that builds the object on a heatbed. 

  • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

This process is very similar to the SLA, but instead of liquid resin, it uses powdered material that is later on sintered into the needed shape in subsequent layers by a laser. 

  •  Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Just like the previous method, this one also uses powdered material, but unlike it, it melts it all the way with a laser to put it in the desired shape with a laser. 

  • Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)

This method is very similar to the previous one, with one big difference – instead of a laser, it uses an electron beam to melt the filament into the desired shape. Both technologies of SLM and EMB are powerful enough to melt the powdered metal. 

  • Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

This is a rapid way of 3D prototyping. This technology fuses together layers of the material, that is each coated with adhesive using pressure and heat, and then cuts the object into needed shape with a knife or a laser.  

How can we use a 3D printer?

This technology, as you can see, is very diverse, has many 3D printer models available, and depending on what you want to do with it, can accommodate any needs, no matter how complex and varied. 

The 3D printer has found its way into our lives on so many levels, that it is a very common and normal aspect of many people’s lives. 

Let us give you an idea of where 3D printer UK has to offer is used today, some of which will surely surprise you. 

Industrial use

This one is probably the most anticipated use, as any technology is mostly created initially for industrial use, and then later it enters the everyday lives of consumers. 

There are many different industries that today have adopted this technology and are using it very successfully to innovate old processes, become more competitive with new technologies and bring something new to the table, simplifying otherwise complicated processes of production. 

Medical Industry

Wouldn’t it be amazing, to be able to save lives through organ transplant, without having to wait for human organs in huge lines? Just take a tissue sample, 3D print the needed organ and implant it. 

Sounds like a scene from a futuristic sci-fi film, doesn’t it?

Well, that reality is closer than you think.

In the past rears, hearings aids, and hip replacements have been widely 3D printed. 

Moreover, the dental industry has benefited a lot from this technology, with mainly 3D printing dental moulds, dentures and crowns. 

Automotive Industry

This industry has taken 3D printing technology and widely uses it for a while now, printing anything from spare and end-use parts to tools and fixtures. 

3D printers made the on-demand manufacturing possible, which has lowered the costs of design and production and putting an end to stock problems. 

The racing industry, which is also a part of Automotive as a whole, uses 3D printer UK has to offer to make their cars more competitive by printing the needed parts with new and innovative materials, making the parts lighter and more rigid, thus giving the car advantage of a lighter weight, consequently providing it with more speed. 

Aviation Industry

Much like the automotive industry, aviation is using 3D printers to make parts of planes, like fuel nozzles. Other papers used both onboard and as a part of the aircraft are being 3D printed, lowering their cost and increasing efficiency. This fact is due to the new materials used, which makes the parts lighter and more durable at the same time. 

Aerospace Industry

This industry took this technology to the next level, making rocket engines and parts on a 3D printer. What has been said before, is also true in this industry, as in materials and the production speed has been improved, making manufacturing father, much more waste officiant, guaranteeing lighter and stronger parts as an outcome. 

There have also been “crazy” ideas floating around, like those from the University of Ottawa. Their researches have proposed a concept of 3D printers that can self-replicate and that are able to process lunar soil. 

Of course, the latter seems like something from a fantasy novel now. Still, technological progress has been tremendous in the past decades when it comes to 3D printing technology and 3D printer software so that it might be our very normal reality in the next decade. 

Construction Industry 

There has been a great development in the construction industry with innovative 3D printing technologies. 

It has been possible for a while now to print parts of buildings, like doors, walls and even floors, as well as full houses. 

There are even full buildings being 3D printed, the first one of which went up in Denmark, but the biggest, of course, in Dubai.  

A lot of the 3D printed houses have been constructed in the 3rd world countries, as it is much more affordable housing combined with high-speed construction time, as you can import already printed parts, and simply assemble them on sight. 

Consumer Industry 

The footwear, accessories, clothes, jewellery, you name it, use 3D printers for mainstream, large scale manufacturing and the numbers look very promising. 

Eyewear, for example, is estimated to become a 3.4 billion-dollar industry by 2028, based solely on the 3D printing technology.  

Adidas and other companies are already making their footwear using 3D printers. 

The use of 3D printers is only predicted to grow, as the production quality increases and the investments and manufacturing time decreases. 

Today, you can even buy a 3D printed reproduction of famous paintings, that will look much more realistic, than a printed reproduction, as it adds texture to it, making it more real-like.  

Home use

As much as production industries have adopted the 3D printing technology and mastered it, home use of 3D printers is also on the rise. 

There are no real limits to the imagination when it comes to the growing minds of our younger generation. 

If your kids are interested in making their own things, rather than conforming to the realities, we have today. If you want to encourage their creativity and curiosity, there is no better way then getting them a 3D printer. 

There are ones that are very affordable, simple in use and are ideal for home use, even leaving your teenagers with it unsupervised, won’t be a big problem. There are ones that are compatible with organic filaments and do not emit any harmful fumes or other substances. 

You can have 3D printed toys right out of your kid’s mind. Not only that, but you can also easily have a vase in the exact shape you want, a keyholder, a bowl, cell phone or tablet holder and so on. 

They are of course smaller in size, compatible with mostly only plastic filaments and only some support multi-colour printing but are affordable, have easy-to-use 3D printer software and can support the needs of creating toys, moulds, models and such. 

Educational use 

As the students are the ones that will lead industries tomorrow, create innovation and only better all the processes and change standards, they must be familiar with the most modern technologies and know them in and out, to be able to invent, innovate and modernise production. 

3D printers are widely used in the classroom, especially for dental, architectural, engineering and other departments’ students, that need to test their theories, make models to showcase and make sure their theories work in the real world. 

The days that students had to make their models by hand in the lab is over. Now, creating the CAD model and printing it has enabled for shorter design time, easily troubleshot blueprints and fast created prototypes. 

Also, knowing the software and tools, which needs to be used for such new technology as 3D printers, is crucial, as they need to create the models right in the software, and not waste time transforming the paper blueprint into the digital world. 

Parting words 

As you can see, 3D printing has a vast potential that is important not for the big production industries, but also for the small, everyday uses thighs, that, hopefully, will make our lives easier and more fun, giving a personal spin on everyday things, like printing a phone case of your design, printing a key chain as a present and so on. 

The effects of technology are controversial at times, and each has its pros and cons, but 3D printing, has definitely revolutionised the way we see materials, manufacturing processes and has enabled us to set ambitious goals and reach them, as there are numerous materials and printing technologies, that can accommodate even the most demanding individuals. 

Thus, do not be afraid or reserved to introduce a 3D printer to your child, or students, as this technology is here to stay and make sure they are armed with the necessary knowledge to flourish using it in the future. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Which is the Right 3D Printer for You

3D printing specialist

Are you looking for the right 3D printer for you? Whether you need it for personal, educational or business use, they have come in as lifesavers and made the manufacturing process much more exciting and manageable. They have come in to help minimize mistakes in the manufacturing industry and enhance customization.

However, there are a variety of 3D printer kits in the market for you to choose from. Some are made for beginners while some are best if you are already an expert in using the machine. In this article, I will be guiding you on selecting the best 3D printer that will suit all your needs and budget.

You will get a guide on why you need to get a one and help you select the best 3D printer for personal use. Let’s have a comparison of the different printers.

3D printer models come with a range of benefits, and apart from the common ones that they help you save money and time, there are lots of ways in which you can use these machines to better your life. If you are wondering whether you should get one for personal use or you are not sure if you need one, here are some ways in which it could be a lifesaver.

Make money – Did you know that 3D printers are a potential source of income? You are probably looking to increase your revenue and earn more besides what you get from your primary job. Getting it is a perfect way to make some extra money at the comfort of your home. You can use it to process 3D prints for people then sell them remotely or online. This will help you get your printing skills to perfection while making extra bucks out of it. Other than the prints, you can make money by teaching people how to use the printer itself at a small fee.

Educate your kids – Technology is always advancing, and it can only be best if you help your kids keep up with the changes. There are new ways of doing things now, and learning using 3D printing technology is one of them. This kind of learning is fun, interesting, and engaging. Naturally, you may wonder, what can you make with a 3d printer at home? For example, you can print items such as educational models to help you illustrate different concepts. Take an example of planets or atoms. These are among the models that you can make; rest assured that whatever the kids from them will stick in their minds. It is a perfect way of empowering the kids to understand concepts and stick with them quickly.

For games and puzzles – If you are a lover of games, then you understand just how good it feels to have a range of your favorite games right at your access. If you do not wish to use your 3D printer for financial gains, then you can use it as a hobby. You can use it to create a range of unique designs and fun objects that you can use with your family to solve puzzles. This will not only help you enjoy your favorite games but also, it gives you a chance to better your skills and master new ones. It is an excellent way of spending your free time maybe after work or on weekends.

Now that you know that you need a 3D printer, it is time to select one that will suit your needs. Below are some of the common personal 3D printers and their features to help you decide which one is best for you.

Anet A6 3D printer

If you are a fan of 3D technology, there is no doubt that you have noticed the increasing popularity of Anet A6 printers. The printer is famous for a range of reasons, the main one being that it is wallet-friendly. The A6 printer is an entry-level 3D printer that is excellent for both beginners and advanced users who are looking for a way to customize and put a personal touch on their products. This printer is highly recommendable for personal use due to its affordability and the fact that you can use it to perfect your skills. If you are new to this and looking for the perfect machine to help you create fun designs and print outs to help you make some extra money, this is the right printer for you. It comes with a range of attractive features such as open source, a revamped design and has a build area. Ideally, Anet A6 3D printer is the best for individuals who are looking for a low budget 3D printer that lets them customize and personalize their printing while offering a large print bed so they can print as much as they want and from this, it is clear that it is a good investment if you want to print items to sell.

Anet A8 3D printer

The main reason why people love this printer is due to its excellent performance, which makes it great both for the beginners and 3D experts. However, the printer can be such a challenge when it comes to assembling and building it up, but its printing capacity is A1. This is unexpected considering that it is super affordable and among the cheapest. When you consider the price, and it’s surprisingly high printing capacity and quality, it is hard to leave this printer behind. However, the main downside is trying to figure out how to assemble it, especially if you have not done that before. The assembling process is not only complicated for beginners but also, its calibration takes a certain stoicism level. This is an excellent 3D printer if you are looking to make printer outs and unique designs for sale. It allows you to make quality designs that will definitely attract buyers attention. Also, you can use it for educational purposes whereby you can teach people how to use it at a fee or make printouts to teach your kids some school concepts. It comes with super amazing features such as 3D enhancements that let you customize the print. What’s more? It is super affordable and the performance is super amazing. You would not need to break the bank to acquire it for home use.

Geeetech A10 3D printer

For anyone looking for a classy but straightforward machine, this one’s for you. The price is affordable, but the specs are amazing. It has come in to beat most of the high-tech 3D printers as most individuals find it convenient, flexible, and affordable. It has a great build volume and does not require expertise to use. If it is your first time using a 3D printer and you wish to use it to learn new skills, this one will do. The best part is that it comes with a slicer to ensure that you do not make mistakes even in your first project. With a few hundred dollars, you can get your hands on this machine and make a living out it. You can also use it for games and fun at home and also let your kids learn a thing or two from it. Its flexibility allows you to make a range of designs and you can therefore take advantage of that to come up with numerous print outs for sale. You can actually create a website or advertise your products on social media platforms, let people make their orders online and make them to their specifications. Make your life more interesting as you make extra bucks from this.

Geeetech A20M Mix-color 3D printer

For an exciting and well-built 3D printer structure, this is the machine for you. The best part about this printer is its classic and easy-to-built design. The device is specifically designed to give users an uninterrupted view, thus giving them an exciting and enriching experience. It entails a super safe power supply which makes it safe to use at home and around kids. Also, it has a mix-color printing, which you can take advantage of to come up with unique and beautiful designs for sale. People are going to love your print outs due to uniqueness, which will, in return, help you maximize your sales. You can also take advantage of its large printing feature to come up with large items, either for sale or for display in your home. Even better; you can take advantage of the fantastic features to come up with great learning models and make your children’s learning worthwhile. This printer is the go-to choice if you are looking for a high-edge 3D printer, but you cannot reach the price. Although it is not as big, it is a dual extruder 3D printer with a single nozzle, and sturdy base and the price is quite attractive. Compared to other Geeetech printers, A20M, is in the middle in terms of price. It is quite bigger and more expensive than A10M, but if you use it correctly, the 3D printer price will be worth it, and you will be able to get the returns even before you know it.

Anycubbic Photon 3D printer

Resin 3D printers have become a buzz with more and more consumers loving their performance and specs. People are in love with the 3D printer’s printing capacity and affordable prices, and Anycubic Photon is one of the hits in the market. Its price is slightly below $500, which is quite a steal, especially for home use. Users can print a lot with it, and if used correctly, the profits are incredibly impressive. Imagine if you can use this to make $10 per day. You will have your money back in less than two months, and the best part is that the more you use it, the more you can perfect your skills. In a matter of three months, you will be in a position to make high-end designs with it and will have loads of orders coming your way.  Photon 3D printer is the ideal choice for anyone in search of an educational printing machine or a 3D printer to help them make extra cash at the comfort of their homes.

Anycubic Chiron 3D printer

For a flexible, convenient, and large 3D printer, Anycubic Chiron is the best choice for you. It features the best bed to make your printing experience the best. Of all the Anycubic printers, Chiron could be the winner in terms of speed and functionality. It is quite expensive, but it is all for the right reasons. Its HUGE Ultrabase print bed is what makes it a buzz not to mention the incredibly great control and intelligence.

If you are looking for a large-sized, intelligent, safe, and fast operation home 3D printer, then this one got you covered. You can use this machine for educational purposes as well to help you make designs for sale and for displaying at your house.

These are the top reviewed 3D printers that you can choose from. When choosing the right 3D printer for you, it is wise that you put some factors into consideration. For starters, check the features and usability. Does it require expertise to use? If you are a beginner, go for a straightforward machine that you can comfortably handle. The next thing to check is the features. Ensure that the features match what you are looking for. Check if it is safe. The other and most important element to check is the cost. Make sure that you can comfortably afford to buy whichever 3D printer you choose.

These are the top 3D printers that you can choose to make your experience while at home super amazing and improve your living. You can find them at Amazon or specialized 3D printer shops like 3D Printer World at the best price offers and get started with your earning. The most recommended way to get your 3D printer is by purchasing it at a specialized shop. This way, you will have access to expert customer support, and they can guide you on how to choose the best printer that will meet your exact needs and budget. All the best!

Posted on Leave a comment

3D printed toys from your child’s imagination

people discussing 3D printing

Child’s imagination is endless, limitless, so creative that most adults would dream about such a wonder. Kids come up with the craziest ideas for games. Back in the day, it would have to stop there, or you would have to have a very dedicated and creative parent as well, to sit with you and build a ship or a car. And believe us, that wasn’t easy and sometimes you didn’t have the parts you need, so you had to improvise and make it work with what you have. Some people still argue that creativity and ingenuity blossom in such conditions. What do you think? Are handmade toys better than ones created with technology in your living room? 

Today the technology has gone so far, that many things are accessible for the general public, like 3D printers, when 20 years ago they were mainly used for industrial purposes. Today anyone can buy 3D printer, and make whatever they want on it – a vase, a bowl for fruits, a bracelet, the list goes on and on. There is even such a thing as 3D printing for children and there are special kid-friendly printers, with simple design software and ease in use. 

Some parents’ job is made easier with a kids 3D printer when you can have the toy right out of your kid’s imagination – a car that has squares for wheels, a helicopter, that is also a submarine, a Barbie dress, that is designed by your little princess and so on. It is also a great source of learning practical implications of engineering and math, it is engaging and makes learning so much more fun!

Let’s look a little closer at the history of 3D printing, which is much older than one can imagine. 

Overview of 3D Printing

3D printers: a bit of history

First, let’s see what are 3D printers and what they can do.  

The first one was invented in the mid-1980s by an American scientist Charles W. Hull. and it was used to print medical aid and medical parts. The technology used in the first 3D printer was stereolithography, which transforms digital data into tangible objects. First, you need to create the 3D digital model, so, later on, you can transform it into a live model.  

Later on, between 1990-2010 3D printing was used widely in medicine to print human organs, and mainstream 3D printing was introduced. Nowadays, 3D printing is aimed at making cars, aircraft, even affordable housing for developing countries. Of course, it is not ideal yet, however, all these projects will surely be perfected and implemented soon.

3D printing technologies

Let’s talk a bit about the different technologies used in 3D printing. Taking into account the evolution of technologies in general and 3D printing in particular, these days there are so many different ways to 3D print your desired object.

Despite what one might think, not all them out there work with the same mechanism.  

The first 3D printing process was Vat Polymerization, which includes such technologies as Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP).  Those printers are commonly used to print hearing aids, in dental work and jewellery.

Another process is powder bed fusion – metal and polymers. This process is used in Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printers, which sinter polymers, and is commonly used to print functional parts and hollow objects.  

Metal 3D printers or 3D printing technologies that use metal powder bed fusion process include Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Electron-Beam Melting (EBM). Those are used to make functional metal parts in automotive and aerospace industries, as well as medical.

Another common process for this technology is material extrusion, and for example, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology operates with it, and the parts printed are mainly used in fixtures and jigs, electronic housings, fit and form testing and so on.

There is a jetting process, that is also used in different 3D printing technologies. There are 2 main types of jetting: Binder Jetting (used for casting, full-colour models and metal parts) and Material Jetting that also include Drop on Demand (DOD) technology (used to create medical models, product prototypes in full colour and so on).

We will not go any further in detail about all these different technologies and processes used to create 3D printed objects since they really matter only to professionals that are trying to make functional parts for sale or their own use.

When it comes to printing toys: existing or completely invented by your very creative and inventive child, the process doesn’t really matter, but what matters is the safety, affordability and the size of the 3D printer, that you decide to get for your household.

Price and speed

All these technologies listed above are similar yet different in materials they use, how fast they can print the desired object, the quality of the product they produce and how much they cost. Each of these technologies is also used in specific industries, taking into account the type of objects they produce best and the needs of the industry itself.

When it comes to 3D printer cost, it varies from $200 to several thousand dollars for a high-end machine.  

While industrial printers are the fastest, giving up to 1000 millimetres per second, the average consumer 3D printer for home use prints at a speed range of 50-100 mm/s. The slower speed will give you higher quality in the end product.

3D printer for kids

Why you need a 3D printer for your child

Technology has made its way to our everyday life so much that teaching the kids technology early on is a good idea, to give them an advantage and a kick start in our highly competitive world. And when do learning, building, and technology come together? Yes, you are right, in a 3D printer, that is mainstream enough today, that families can afford to buy them for their children for educational purposes or simply for fun!

Sometimes children want toys that are too expensive or they want so many of them, that buying is just not an option anymore. Also, when you think about it, even though there is a sea of different toys available for purchase, sometimes your child wants something so very specific, that is unfortunately just not out there for you to buy. Here is where 3D printed toys come in.

They are also a perfect purchase for families with very creative children when they love to invent and build things. Plus, it teaches them to think through all the details before building, since if your 3D digital model has a flaw or error, your printed object will have the same flaws or simply won’t come out the way you expected it.

When it comes to choosing the best 3D printer for kids, there are many things to consider.

Safety

When we think about our kids in combination with any kind of machine or technology, the first thing that comes to mind is safety. No matter what we buy for them, no matter what they want to play with, the most important thing for any parent is the safety of their child.

The most crucial rule to follow when operating a 3D machine – NEVER, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE WITH IT! It is not a toy and can be quite dangerous if not properly used.

When it comes to a kids 3D printer, safety issues are threefold.

Firstly, there are the materials used to print. There are some printers that can create an object using edible materials, playdough, clay and so on. However more often than not plastic is used for 3D printed kids toys. Most often used ones are ABS and PLA plastics. PLA is a non-toxic bioplastic and ABS is the plastic used in making LEGO blocks.

Secondly, printed toys can pose a hazard themselves. The printers can be used to create dangerous objects, however danger for kids come from printing small and sharp objects as well. Thus making a 3D printed toy a choking hazard, or a sharp object, making it a stabbing hazard. Another hazard can come from the fumes that the printers make since they use a great amount of heat to melt or fuse the plastic. So make sure to use non-toxic plastic raw materials when choosing toys to print and make sure that space is well ventilated.

Thirdly, if you choose a DIY or a Kickstarter 3D printer kit UK has to offer, you will most likely have to assemble it yourself and the small parts can pose a threat as well. They are not toys to be played with, thus need to be kept away from the reach of children.

3D printers made for kids vs. normal 3D printers

There are printers that are made specifically for children which means that they are safer than normal ones. However even those are not toys themselves, so again, do not leave your children alone with them.

Kids 3D printers usually come in enclosed casings, they offer a much simpler design software, which is easy to use for beginners and kids. Another big plus of those printers is that they use much lower temperatures to extrude filament. You will surely find a perfect 3D printer for sale, out of the sea of them out there.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? However, those printers are also very limited in the materials that they can use to create the object. No glow in the dark, sparkling alumide or recycled water-resistant PET filament. Most of them also come with limited designing software, which is not what you want for your creative, imagination-run-wild child.

On the other hand, the normal printers offer a much bigger variety or filament, as well as end products. Always think about what you want to make in those printers and the size of the objects you want to have in the end.

Best 3D printed toys

As we already know, there is pretty much nothing that 3D technology can’t print for you and your child to enhance their creativity and imagination. The implications in the house of such a machine are great since they cannot only create objects that are for play but also objects used in the house, like personalized cups, plates, bowls. Your child can also prepare presents for the family and friends for holidays, which are custom made, special, and are the fruit of their imagination. Wouldn’t you want a cup that says “#1 Mom” or a necklace that spells the same thing for Mother’s day?

Some ideas for 3D printed toys include robots, legos, dolls, drone parts, customized toy cars, bottle rockets and so on.

Another way to go is to create and design your object – a musical instrument, a monster or, for that matter, anything else that comes to mind.

Which 3D printer to choose?

We have discussed many different options that are available on the market today and it is up to you to make a decision which one is the best budget 3D printer UK has to offer?

There are many options to choose from and you need to weigh all pros and cons before deciding to get one and see which one would be the best 3D printer for children in your particular case and household and which 3D printer shop uk you need to visit.  

Decide on your price range first and go from there. Choose the one that fits your needs when it comes to speed and precision, as you see that they vary drastically in that department. Some are more professional, some are homemade, whereas others are more kid-friendly.

Here you have all the information you need to make an informed and well-thought decision on which would be your first 3D printer for kids. Just know that whatever you choose, it would do a great job in printing children’s toys and will drastically enhance your children’s creative thinking, imagination, and personality by adding a bit of extra flair to their toys through personalizing them and combining learning with pleasure.

Posted on Leave a comment

3D Printing – A Comprehensive Guide To The Rise of 3D Prototyping

3D printed red dinosaur

3D Printing used to be something of a craze, a short-lived infatuation that was never predicted to become dependency on reality. However, the development of its technology is now becoming essential to the overall manufacturing business. The biggest brands and companies within manufacturing operations are now increasingly dependent and prominent on adopting the 3D Printing industry, due to its increased accessibility and advancement to mass-produce products and there is more scope of what companies expect.

Its popularity has risen exponentially personally and professionally for the past two to three years and is now thought of as an efficient production method for business and operations.

When Was 3D Printing First Heard Of?

3D printing was first known back in the 1980s with the name of “Additive Manufacturing”. No matter what kind of printer you use, a ceramic 3D printer, a 3D laser printer, objects are firstly created from a digital file and then the printer develops and places subsequent layers of material to complete the object. Thermoplastic material is used most in particular which is heated plastic that turns to liquid and solidifies once cooled. It is expected that further materials will be identified that are edible within its development for 3D printing. It is now a common operation used in various stages of mass production.

What Are the Benefits Of 3D Printing?

There are many benefits for businesses to use the 3D Printing industry for prototyping. Although it is often determined that this method is generally used for small-scale solutions, its technology is important for prototyping of products, something that has been utilized for a number of years. Some of its benefits include:

  • Swift Turnaround Upon Request and Delivery – The availability of quality 3D printers allows for the creation of various prototypes for product designs in a shorter timeframe.
  • A Reduction in Costs – The process reduces cost and still allows businesses to meet their demand and objectives.
  • A Wide-Range of Material Choice – The wide range of materials that can be used continues to exponentially grow. Various materials can be used and tested for the production of their parts.
  • Simple and Swift Adaption in Its Iteration – A prototype is not created and used in its first instance. The products used are typically tested and revised before finalization.
  • Speed of Production – Additive manufacturing is faster to develop than traditional manufacturing methods. This, in turn, helps with rapid verification and development. Prototypes usually took ages to design and develop.

Time is money with 3D prototyping. The faster your testing of solutions is complete, the faster the production line. 3D printing has now become an essential technology. There is a low cost of labour as the majority of the printers nowadays only require the press of a button to produce the part with its automatic process.

The 3D Printing Process

Even nowadays, 3D technology in a practical sense is still difficult to understand in regard to what real-world objects look like within all of its glory. Within manufacturing, companies that use 3D printer kits are required to demonstrate finishing products, also known as a prototype, the use of a testing procedure of materials and its final development without utilizing valuable materials.

Scott Crump's original 1980s FDM printer design from US Patent 5,121,329.
  • Step 1 – Preparation: The preparation part before printing is the first step. This is the design of the file that needs printing. CAD software is available to develop the prototypes which can be obtained safely online.
  • Step 2 – The Printing: The second step consists of the printing process. The identification of the materials to use for its testing is the first step immediately before the printing begins. Choose from materials such as plastics, ceramics, metals and other textiles. They are all capable of re-use for its testing to develop that all-finished product.  
  • Step 3 – The Finish – The object is printed and now needs a polish before it can be delivered or presented to customers or clients. You may sand or paint a product to give it that final polishing look.

The Common Types of 3D Printing Technology and Processes

Additive Technologies is the common name used for the vast amount of technology available for 3D printing. Methods typically range from melting or softening the material to extrude layers. There are five popularly-used methods for 3D prototyping:

  1. Stereolithography (SLA) – The most commonly used technology which employs ultraviolet curable photopolymer resin and an ultraviolet laser. These elements help to build the object’s layers sequentially. Each sequential layer has a laser beam traced a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. The ultraviolet laser light helps to solidify the traced pattern on the resin to join it to the next underlying layer. Parts can be fitted with an existing design or plastic prototypes can be printed fresh. The plastic hardens before moving into the next layer. Once all printed, the item is put into an ultraviolet oven to complete the process.
  2. Digital Light Processing (DLP) – Also known as DLP is a printing method used with light and photosensitive polymers. An identical process to stereolithography, however, the difference is the source of the light where DLP’s usually use arc lamps. Each sequential layer is projected on liquid resin where each layer is consolidated as it moves up and down in direction. DLP is thought of as the quickest form of printing as it processes each underlying layer.
  3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – A build plate is used to form parts for every sequential layer, one at a time. A laser is used to sinter the power media. The advantage is that there are no supporting structures needed as it is fully functional on its own.
  4. Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) – FDM is currently the most popular choice of technology method for 3D printing. High in performance, it’s beneficial for engineers and manufacturers due to the components where engineering-grade thermoplastic can be used. Sequential layers are constructed individually from bottom to top. The plastic layer melts and hardens appropriately and moves onto the next layer.  Very useful for prototyping.
  5. Selective Laser Melting – SLM requires specific conditions for successful results. This is a technique which uses high-power laser beams to produce 3D objects. It also helps melt metallic powders. It is usually thought of as a second-hand SLS to melt the material to a solid-dimensional 3D shape. This form is more a preferred method for parts which are extremely durable, strong and complex and the results are ideal and supportive for aerospace, automotive and medical industries.  

So, what are the most common real-life examples of 3D printed prototypes? These examples have been thrown-in as “competition winners”. Competitors must be taken advantage of and it is these example prototypes that are classed as an innovative technology for exceptional manufacturing quality.

Car Racing Prototyping

3D Prototypes are efficient in helping car companies speed up the process of wheel changing within races. Team Penske is an example of being involved within the car industry for more than 50 years that specialise in stocking cars and wheels for racing teams. Winning races requires speed and efficiency, and Additive Manufacturing is what was necessary to stay ahead. Speed of production is essential for automotive manufacturing for its productivity at a lower cost due to mass customisation. For example, the BMW Additive Manufacturing team is now managing more than 25,000 orders every year of 3D printed prototypes. These are manufactured at a rate of almost 100,000 components within BMW.

Jewellery Prototyping

The manufacturing of jewellery transforms into the design of jewellery products. 3D files are printed in plastic before the metals are requested for development of the products. From testing to production, 3D printing increases its efficiency and speed of development with its rapid prototyping concepts. Most common materials used for designers within jewellery is metal. 3D Printing materialises the following materials to develop its products: Brass (Gold, colour and PU plating), Silver (Gloss and high gloss, satin, sandblasted and antique) and Gold (14k or 18k and polishing).

Motorcycle Prototyping

Additive manufacturing 3D printing plays a key role within the production of motorcycles, in particular, electric motorcycles. The process checks the visuals of the design and the parts are printed in full scale. This demonstrates that 3D printing uses additive manufacturing to assist in the reliability of its production right from the generation of the idea to its development. An example development is a firm BigRep created FDM printed 3D electric motorcycles, with its production line reduced to 12 weeks.

Eyewear Prototyping

Eyewear benefits from Additive Manufacturing with the use of different materials for the production of its glasses. The prototypes speed up the production process. The eyewear industry is now growing in demand due to the mass customisation element of 3D printing technology. It is expected to generate billions of dollars every year due to mass customisation. Its production uses power bed fusion for its internal parts and for a smoother surface finish.

Architecture Prototyping

Rapid prototyping is routinely used within architectural companies to save money. It helps initiate the functional, social and artistic properties of projects. Architecture realizes beautiful design and innovation for the development of new things. A model can be tangibly created in any form. It helps build complex shapes for high-detailed designs including interiors and environmental elements and use laser cutting for large floor surfaces. Designers are more prone to using 3D printers to accelerate the design process with faster iterative design. Examples of high-quality architectural prototypes include exterior living and entertainment space such as swimming pools with multiple types of raw material including metal and polyamide. Thus, metal 3D printer helps to construct structural elements accurate for buildings.

Furniture Prototyping

The design process of manufacturing required significant investment. Using 3D printing technology drastically  reduces costs and fast-streamlines the design of products. This helps designers maximise creations and is a sustainable mean to create furniture. With additive manufacturing, designers are able to produce visual models rapidly. It enables companies to focus on crucial aspects of furniture design such as aesthetics, ergonomics and structure. Models such as lightweight chairs and tables, armrests, lamp bases are basic functional requirements and it is the furniture aspects listed which will be used as the driving force in the design of its basic models.

Dental Prototyping

3D printing has revolutionized the dental industry. Dental 3D printers have helped develop applications to fix broken teeth and assist with flossing. Stereolithography is the most common form of 3D printing used with different resin materials. It has helped with the development and design of aligners and night guards, using 3D printing to model a patient’s teeth. It also helps create crowns with resin and CNC technology to carve the porcelain out. The length of processing has significantly reduced from several weeks of development to one hour at a lower cost.

Conclusion

This report aims to illustrate a concrete definition of the 3D Printing industry and how it has become a phenomenon in the global manufacturing business. 3D printing has an old-fashioned name known as “Additive Manufacturing”, which is a process of producing 3-dimensional objects through a digital (or CAD) file. It was a mere dream before technology began to take over operations as a means of maintaining a competitive advantage. Technology is essential to manufacturing business and is a huge dependency on brands and companies and the way they operate for the development of its products. The benefits of 3D Printing have been broadly explained in the report. Briefly, this includes operations that are able to create various prototypes for product designs in a short timeframe upon request all at lower costs. Various materials are continuously being used for testing pre-production. Due to 3D printing technology, prototypes sped up in their development which allows for more time to update designs based on recommendations faster. The common 3D prototypes used within organizations is explained along with the elements used. It is proven that Stereolithography (SLA) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) are the two popular common choices of the production line for manufacturers, due to its high performance and the ability for materials to be developed for a wide range of industries such as engineering, furniture and medical. Real-life examples of the key industries which use 3D printing are explained along with theoretical examples who mock production lines to demonstrate the type of products developed. The 3D printing industry is  currently very young within its development in the manufacturing production line. Companies are only now looking at how it will be embedded within their strategy and where to buy a 3D printer. Although companies have invested in 3D printing on a limited scale, there is potential within it, but it currently remains hidden and is still growing as an option. Business leaders must determine how this technology will be invested within their business model, knowing a competitive advantage that it will bring.