Printing mythbusters: 3D printing is taking over the world

February 14, 2014 · Print This Article

With all the talk and hype of 3D printers, the biggest printing mythbuster is that we no longer would need to buy our products from stores, but be able to produce them in the comfort of our own homes cost-effectively. It is said that a new level of piracy will emerge as consumers will be able to reproduce not only digital media but also consumer goods.

How advanced are 3D printers designed for personal use?

First things first, 3D printers are not cheap, with basic models such as the Afinia H-Series, costing up to £ 1,200 excluding VAT. Other popular models include the Ultimaker, the RepRap Project and the MakerBot Replicator.

Now for the technical complication – starting up a 3D printer is not easy. In the case of the Afinia H-Series, installing the drivers of the 3D printer onto the existing Windows systems may involve rebooting and manually directing Windows towards the necessary printer driver files. The actual structure of the printer also needs some level of expertise with assembly and calibration.

Next, comes the safety aspect. While in its process, the 3D printer can heat up to about 260° C, which can cause third-degree burns. Consumers are advised to wear heatproof gloves as well as goggles during the operation.

Now, to come to the actual printing process. Consumers need to understand that currently the print technology can only produce plastic. Thus, there is no way to produce rubber, metal and other materials, other than plastic.

The 3D printer needs full digital 3D models to operate. So, if you are looking to produce an original item, you will need to have the expertise to work with a CAD package so you can design it yourself.

3D printing is also highly close and time-consuming. For example, the production of a Lego brick that requires more than 70 layers or plastic takes about 25 minutes. Imagine how long it would take to produce an entire box of Lego bricks!

Finally, like regular printers, 3D printers get clogged or stuck too!

Thus, we have tried to give you as much information as we could on printing mythbusters related to 3D printing. Of course, the sky is the limit for 3D printing in the future.  But right now, it is definitely not taking over the world! Contact Minuteman Press inPort Elizabeth Newton Park us today for more information.

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