3D Printers are becoming even more popular, I have been following this trend for a little while now, and has become increasingly viral with the announcement that some people have been able to create weapons using these devices.
You’ll be surprised to know that 3D printers are now available via your local Highstreet (Maplins) – and long gone are the days where 3D printers were custom built kits with the release of MakerBots Replicator 2, which allows you to start printing pretty much straight out of the box – Long gone are the days where 3D printers were just a sheet full of parts you required to build yourself a fully working printer, now companies are providing fully built kits which will be able to set up in minutes, not hours.
What are 3D Printers?
For those of you who have been asleep for the past few months, and have not seen them feature on the news, these are machines that will produce any type of plastic part a designer throws at it. Using ABS or PLA plastic reels which is then melted in a head (much like a glue gun) is then pushed out at of the “extruder” a particular speed, then with the function of a 3D type plotter, the head is moved in x, y, and z dimensions to create any object you could possibly design.
Why are 3D Printers So Great?
Imagine this situation, you are in the process of doing some DIY, and a plastic piece you are working with snaps, now the manufacturers will not just sell you the one plastic part to replace the kit, you probably will have to purchase the whole thing again. Well why not just replicate that part using your 3D printer?
Another use would be to create your own part design, like me, I have an idea for a great place to have a phone holder in the Focus next to my Parrot, but there are no mounts out there which would do what I was after… Well why not create a 3D print design and create the part yourself?
There are a few websites out there which allow you to download designs straight off the net, and start printing. Sites such as Thingiverse, where I found a couple of great in car mount ideas:
Home & Commercial 3D Printers
3D Printers don’t just stop at plastic extrusion printers, here’s a nice video from Ford displaying what they can do with a 3D printer that actually moulds sheet metal into any design they throw at it, which will save time and a lot of money.
But these systems are not something you can have sat in your office at home, which is where the plastic small platform 3D Printers are key to becoming a replacement to a home paper printer.