April 22, 2020Leveraging 3D scanning, 3D printing and artificial intelligence in product development See the article
Today, we have decided to write our very own 3d printing for dummies ticket. Although relatively new on the market, 3D printers are multi-faceted tools that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. For instance, as we discussed in one of our previous postings, you can literally 3D-print a firearm that can be used subsequently in real life. But when it comes to accessibility and price, how much does a 3D printer cost and how do you make it work?
What is the Price of a 3D Printer?
First of all, it is important to mention that access to 3D printers had been fairly restricted up until recently to large firms that used them to create prototypes or generic products for everyday life. You can now procure a 3D printer at a price in the vicinity of $1,500. While there are more standard models out there such as the MakerBot, you can go all out and purchase the Stratasys, which, unlike the MakerBot, can actually be leased (for a hefty price though). Indeed, the Stratasys model retails at a whopping $10,000 if you want to go ahead and empty your bank account, or the leasing cost ranges from $200 to $300 per month. Not convinced yet? You don’t have that type of money to spend on 3D printing? Just download or create your own 3D model and have it printed at a center set up for that very purpose. Simply upload your file to the website of the 3D printing center and a few weeks later your creation will be shipped to your doorstep.
How does a 3D Printer Work?
Operating a 3D printer is not that complex when you understand how it works. First, you must create a computerized version of what you wish to 3D-print. If you don’t have a knack for such a thing, you can always download the virtual model of your choice or use a 3D scanner to that effect. Lo and behold, after being printed layer by layer, out comes the physical version of your 3D design. Although plastic is the most common material used in the process, metals and alloys are employed from time to time. As this phenomenon is still in its nascent stage, the open-source community is probably your next step in discovering the virtual and physical realms of 3D printing should you wish to dig deeper into it.