5 Things to Know Before Buying a 3D Printer
So, you have decided to buy yourself a 3D printer after reading a couple of perfect beginners guide about it. In fact, you are now interested and want to try printing models of cosplay materials, custom phone cases, musical instruments, figurines, and so much more! Hold your horses and read this buying guide first! Here, I have discussed some of the few important things that you need to know before stepping into the world of 3D printing. Allow me to hold your hand as I guide you along the way.
1. The Types of 3D Printers
What Is FDM?
It’s a process where the model is created through the use of heat and extrusion of plastic which are combined layer by layer.
Other Types of 3D Printing Available:
- Stereolithography: It also uses the additive process, however, it doesn’t extrude the plastic, but uses UV light beam to harden the model.
- Selective Layer Sintering: It’s similar to stereolithography, but the process involves lasers instead of the UV light. This type allows the printing to some metal objects.
2. Should I Build My Own, or Buy a New One?
Considering the fact that 3D printing is usually for makers and creators, there will be some who will be interested in building their own. If you have decided to build one for yourself, there are 3D printer kits available online that you can purchase.
In my opinion, I would say that building a 3D printer is cheaper. However, if don’t have time or the needed knowledge for that, just resort to buying an already made one.
The price of 3D printers usually depends on the quality of output it can produce. Generally, the higher the quality, the more expensive it would be. Professional printers could cost as much as $2000, but the beginner models go for as low as $120.
3. Materials to Be Used
The two materials that are often used for 3D printing are ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). Both are known to be thermoplastics and they become malleable when heated and turn into hard solid when cooled.
Since this is a buying guide, let’s take a deeper look on both materials.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a petroleum-based plastic that’s known for its flexibility and strength– just like LEGO bricks.
- The flexibility of ABS is perfect for creating interlocking pieces.
- It has a higher melting point– no need to worry about your creations melting.
- It takes a longer time before it cools down and solidifies.
- It releases fumes during the printing process.
The Poly Lactic Acid is a type of plastic made from cornstarch. It’s perfect for beginners and ideal for those who are thinking of creating simple household items. Some of its characteristics include the following:
- Environmentally friendly and biodegradable,
- Due to the fact that it cools down quickly, the maker wouldn’t encounter. problems with model warping.
- It’s available in translucent and solid colors.
- Since the melting point is quite low, it could deform under high heat.
- If you need joints and interlocking parts, this material is not for you.
4. Choosing the Best 3D Printer
In order to decide which one is best for you, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the materials that are ideal for the final product. Then on, you can choose which printer to buy. Also, you ought to know that not all printers accept the same materials. This only implies that what works on one type may not work on the other.
There are a few safety concerns to pay attention to when it comes to 3D printing:
3D printers should be set up in a well-ventilated room. During the printing process, especially if you’re using ABS plastics, fumes will be released.
Food Grade Plastic
3D printers can be used to make different types of household items, such as kitchenware. Although both PLA and ABS are food safe, they still have additives in them that could probably be toxic. To make the object more safer, you should coat it with something, or just limit the use of printed kitchenware.
The Future of 3D Printing
The use of 3D printing is a great way to unleash your creative side– you can print toys for your kids, gift for your friends, utility items, and other physical items that you can think of.
These are just some of the basics, yet important things that you should pay attention to when buying a 3D printer. I hope that this guide has given you the knowledge you need before making your first purchase. Good luck and have fun printing!http://laguarida.org/5-things-to-know-before-buying-a-3d-printer/http://laguarida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/3D-Printer-Buyers-Guide.jpghttp://laguarida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/3D-Printer-Buyers-Guide-300x300.jpgDigital