Whether you think the future of 3D printing is freaky or amazing – when you see it in action and inspect the printed product, you can’t help but be impressed and wonder what else it can print. At least that’s the reaction we’ve had since our 3D printer first appeared in our coworking space, Workether.
Can you print a 3D printer with a 3D printer?
Can a human being give birth to another human being? If the 3D printer is made of plastic, then yes, of course you can print a printer with a printer. In fact, that’s how our Prusa i3 came to be.
We hosted a 3D printing event at Workether, organized by impresoras3d, who supplied the printed materials (and the metal pieces which can’t be printed – yet), guided participants in building their 3D printers, and provided a tutorial of how to use it.
So here we are; like kids on Christmas morning, getting excited about what we can do with it.
How does a Prusa i3 3D printer work?
First you need a 3D file of your desired product on your computer, either personally designed, taken from an online stock, or a scanned version of an already 3D shape.
Next, prepare the printer; allow it to heat up to the necessary temperature (depends on the plastic), and keep the surrounding temperature consistently warm (a good idea is to keep the printer in an enclosed glass case to ensure a consistent temperature).
To print, you feed the plastic cable (either PLA or ABS) into the printer, it comes out as thinner, hotter flow of plastic, layering it into whatever shape you’ve selected.
3D Printer Lifehacks from personal experience
Sticky hairspray: spray on the glass where your print will take shape – prevents sculpture from slipping as the bottom cools even though the top is still printing. Personal experience.
Acetone: good for cleaning off the hairspray and plastic residue between printing, if needed.
Seeing it in action makes it a lot easier to understand. Here’s a quick video of our little guy at work.
Looks cool, but what can you actually print?
The options are literally endless.
Here are some of the things we’ve printed so far;
This post was initially inspired by an article that one of our coworkers had shared with me, so here are some of my favourites from that list, along with some others I stumbled across. There are so many possibilities, some life changing, some pretty cool ones, and some that I’d consider slightly… questionable.
braille prints of Hubble images
mini wheelchair ramps
The idea of 3D printing plastic pieces doesn’t get you going? How about printing metal (including gold, silver, bronze, copper, steel).
With all the variety and possibilities that this technology offers, I think it’s safe to say that 3D printers will now be a regular part of our lives. And now that they’re becoming more affordable, and with homemade versions available, they’ll soon be as common as any household appliance.
Because when small parts of those other household appliances break, where else will you get those tiny replacement pieces? Why, you’ll 3D print them, of course!
Do you have a 3D printer? If so, what are some neat things you’ve printed? Don’t have a printer, but have a suggestion for what we can print next? Do 3D printers freak you out? What are your concerns?
We’re so excited about the 3D printing possibilities, we’d love to hear what you think!
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