Having a 3D printer at your disposal is so much fun, isn’t it? You can go to town and print anything your heart desires! But this expectation is not technically realistic. Why? Well, 3D printers are very different and there are limitations to each model’s capability. Nevertheless, the market is rather big all over the world, there are places like Dibbsto 3D printers UK has to offer, as well as many others. Here you can find different models that will suit your 3D printing needs. But simply owning a printing device isn’t enough. What comes next?
● Obtaining STL files
First of all, if you are skilled in 3D design, you will hardly need any more guidance, but the rest of us mortals need certain instructions on what to do with the printer. Well, first of all, you are going to need a “.stl” extension file, which is basically a 3D model that can be printed. Thankfully, there are files you can purchase from different websites, or even find for free in open libraries.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
An STL model is created using computer-aided design software (CAD). It is pretty much a geometric presentation of the surface of the object you are planning to print. The information on some details is rather limited. As you can guess, a complicated object requires more expertise to design and is subsequently more expensive to purchase.
By all means, roam the web in pursuit of the designs you find appealing, and remember, it’s never too late to learn something new. So if you are planning to make 3D printing a steady part of your life in the near future, it’s a good idea to invest your time in obtaining some CAD skills.
● Slicing software
You have the model of the object you want to print! But now you have to feed the info to the printer. That’s where the slicing software comes in handy. It makes sure your printer takes the info from the STL file and uses it as instructions to print exactly what you wanted. How? It “slices” the 3D model into horizontal layers and makes it a “step-by-step” representation of what the printer should do. Usually, this software comes with the printer. But if you are not happy with it, you can always find another option to better suit your needs.
● Material limitations
As much as you’d like to print very complicated and multi-colored objects, your 3D printer might not be appropriately equipped to do that. The models that are used outside of large-scale manufacturing have certain limitations in the size of the potential object and the smoothness of the surface. Plus, good quality materials are not always available. So be careful with where you purchase your materials and be aware of the changes in the market.
Once you have your STL file, the slicing soft and the materials ready, you can finally start printing! The process of additive manufacturing is truly captivating, and the results will be fulfilling if you do all the research. Choose your 3D printer carefully and make sure you choose the software and the models that are right for your device.
So print away and don’t forget to share the results!