The basics of 3d printing

Do you dream of making your own objects at home? Of pressing a button and seeing a missing object appear in just a few minutes? Of perfectly repairing a broken part without it costing you a fortune? With 3D printing, the future is just a click away.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is not one, but many manufacturing techniques, originally destined for industrial activities. During the last few years this technique has also been adopted by a community of creators and geeks. And with the arrival of more affordable and simple printers on the market, the general public has also gradually begun using 3D printing techniques.

Certain techniques, such as fused deposition modelling (3D FDM), have become more and more affordable and accessible, making it possible to create different types of objects at home: accessories for the house, artwork, decorative objects, mock-ups and models, jewellery and toys.

In concrete terms, 3D printing begins with a digital file. Once sent to the 3D printer, multiple layers of a material are successively placed one on the other to create the required object.

What are the advantages? It is an environmentally-friendly, automated process which only uses the quantity of material necessary to make the object. Once printing is completed, all you have to do is take your object.

3D FDM printers range from €350 for entry-level products to €3,000 for high-volume machines.

Where do I find the 3D model to print ?

3D printing means 3D modelling! First of all, you need a digital file. This can be sourced three different ways: download it from a 3D file platform; create it yourself with 3D design software; or perhaps you would rather replicate an existing object with a 3D scanner.

A short history of 3D technology

3D printing began in 1986, when the first patent called “stereolithography” at the time, was created by Chuck Hull. Since then, other techniques such as FDM (1992) or powder bed fusion were developed. These methods have a common point, as they feature an additive method of fabrication, as opposed to a subtractive method which breaks, cuts and sands a block of material.

What materials are used for 3D printing?

In the same way that a standard paper printer needs cartridges to operate, a 3D printer needs material in order to be able to print.

Personal 3D printers use reels of filaments, like scoubidou threads.

There are many different colours and plastic materials such as PLA (polylactic acid plastic) and ABS plastic (the same as used for Lego pieces), but also flexible plastic or combinations with other types of material (such as metal, wood, stone, linen, etc.) making it possible to play with colour, textures and the solidity of the object.

Consumables range from €25 to €60 per reel of filament, depending on the brand, quantity and material.
You can find some of the filement product on this link : https://www.boulanger.com/c/cartouche-imprimante-3d