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What is 3D Printing?

Chances are you have heard about 3D printing and is wondering what the hype is all about. Well, much of what you heard is true but to know exactly what 3D printing is, below are some fast facts.

From the term itself, 3D printing is the process of fashioning a solid physical object based on a digital 3D model. Because the assembly process is similar to putting ink on paper, the word “printing” is included in the term. Many 3D printers in use have base materials that are laid down in layers to subsequently complete the finished product. It is an additive process which starts by printing the bottom layer and adding the other layers on top of it until the object is rendered.

You may not believe it but 3D printing has been used in industrial application for quite some time now. It has become more mainstreamed as the hardware got smaller and less expensive, and the software became more user-friendly over time. 3D printers have never been easier on the pocket than they are now and are compatible with a wide range of 3D modeling programs. The printer is sought-after by do-it-yourselfers who want to create their own custom products and parts.
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3D printers may seem like something out of a science fiction novel for ordinary people now but that is changing. There are efforts to come up with a 3D printer and copier that can replicate physical items and print them easily for anyone to do. In the near future, 3D printing will become as ordinary as photocopying that can be done by anyone.
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There is a printer now that can print in 3D whatever you imagine in chocolate. There is also a printer that can 3D print yourself as an action figure. Medical doctors and hospitals are venturing into 3D printed prosthetics. At home, do-it-yourselfers’ printing projects include custom mounts for webcams, smartphone cases, and broken appliance parts to extend the life of an expensive equipment. 3D printing gives anyone the capability to print their own objects, the parts of bigger items, or even complex and ambulatory gizmos.

If you see yourself doing 3D printing in all seriousness, buying your own printer is the way to go. While it may still be expensive, it is not as costly as it used to be. But if the price of ownership is too steep for you, you can search for a local hackerspace that has a 3D printer for use by paying members. There might be a chance also that your local library, community college, or vocational school owns a 3D printer you can avail of.