Friday, September 16, 2016

3D Printer

I recently purchased a M3D Micro 3D Printer.  While there are cheaper 3D printers on the market, it offered what I considered to be the best options for someone who isn't interested in doing a lot of setup and maintenance.  I'd read enough reviews and watched enough YouTube videos to determine that this was going to be a good solution for my 3D printing needs.

A few things I've learned along the way:

3D printing is an inherently slow process.  Small models could take hours to print, even at the lower resolution settings.

Not everything you can download from 3D model sites like Thingiverse will print well.  I've had much more success with models I've designed myself using software like Autodesk's excellent free software called 123D.

3D printing requires quite a bit of "post processing" if you really want something that looks nice because of the way 3D printers create objects.  A nozzle lays down plastic filament that is extruded through a nozzle so any model will have a striated look to it.  This can be either sanded away or painted over to create a smoother looking model.

3D printing has some environmental impact.  You are working with plastic and if you've even smelled melting plastic then you might be turned off by 3D printing.  Thankfully, there are different types of plastic that minimize the "smell" and the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Many 3D printers can print with ABS filament which produces a hard and strong plastic shape.  Unfortunately, it smells like melting plastic and potentially sends contaminants into the air.  Proper ventilation is a good idea with ABS.

PLA plastic is a better alternative when printing items in your own home.  PLA is produced from corn starch so its (supposedly) bio-degradable and even better, it doesn't really smell when extruding from the print head.  Some PLA has an aroma but its more of a "sweet" smell and it's safer to breath.

I'll be posting some things I've made in the near future!


Guillaume Lavoie said...

Would love to see some of your designs

Guillaume Lavoie said...

Would love to see some of your designs