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Why 3D Printing?
3D printing is a speedy and efficient way of creating objects. Instead of using expensive injection moulding equipment, 3D printing allows you to print complex objects at a fraction of the price.
3D printing is also known as rapid prototyping, which is a perfect description for it. It lets you quickly go from concept to creation for a small price.
Almost every application of 3D printing comes down to performance over price. This somewhat recent technology has allowed anyone to become a cheap manufacturer of goods from their bedroom, to fully scaled operation with hundreds of printers in a warehouse.
What can be 3D Printed?
Anything that you want to be made of plastic is the simple answer. Tools, toys and spare parts are all examples of things that can benefit from 3D printing.
Prop makers often use 3D printed parts because they’re strong enough for the application, lightweight and can be cheaply manufactured for a perfect design.
Spare parts that are either difficult to find replacements for or are just simply too expensive to justify purchasing are also where 3D printing shows its strengths.
You can find examples and inspiration from Thingiverse. They have a great selection of user-uploaded models for you to use for free. Feel free to send us a model and we will get it printed for you.
How durable are 3D prints?
3D-printed parts can be made in many different ways using various kinds of plastics. Depending on the application, it makes sense not to pay more for material if the model doesn’t need it.
The most common kind of 3D printing material would be PLA. This is perfect for props, indoor features or low-stress applications. PLA wouldn’t hold up very well sitting outside for a long time or be used for anything that could be under stress.
ABS is what is most often used where structural integrity is concerned. ABS performs well in hotter environments and UV such as being outside or in a car.
You can get a 3D filament that looks and feels like wood or with carbon fibre or nylon embedded into the filament. MatterHackers has a great page to learn more about the differences here.
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