With the growing popularity of 3D printing, we have been made to believe that whatever we can draw, we can make. This might be easier said than done but with some practice, anyone can fabricate almost anything with a 3D printer.
— brianlawler (Brian Lawler) (@brianlawler) Mon Aug 6 2012
In the latest episode of Always On, CNET’s Rich Brown, ventured into 3D printing to print his own Phone case. Here is a brief overview of the process of 3D printing.
- Acquire a 3D model file via download, by designing a model yourself, or by scanning a physical object.
- Send that file to the 3D printer, generally via your Windows, Mac, or Linux-based computer.
- The printer then draws from a spool of 1.75-millimeter or 3mm plastic filament, printing your design by building up layers of heated, extruded plastic.
- Bask in the glow of having brought into existence an actual 3D object.
Unless your line is into serious prototyping, anyone who wants to print 3D things will have to shell out at least $1,500 for a good machine. You will also have to deal with maintenance, mechanics, and programming language.
One popular option is to just outsource your 3D printing job to companies like Shapeways. You just have to upload your design to them and they will take care of printing it.