3D printing has been around for a while. Over the years, the technology has matured and 3D printers are no longer playthings of the rich. Nowadays, 3D printers are commercialized and sold at an affordable price. If you wish, you can easily order one online and create your own DIY 3D prints.
What can you do with a 3D printer?
3D printing technology is applied in multiple industries. Some common fields include medicine, manufacturing, architecture, art and design. In Hong Kong, some companies offer 3D printing services and supply these industries with printed parts. With a 3D printer, you can do the same thing too. It is possible to start a side business and earn a second income based on 3D printing commissions, or selling printed design products on online platforms.
Alternatively, you can simply print objects for personal use. From plastic to food, you can print out spare furniture parts, customized figurines, ornaments, favorite dishes etc. Not only does this help you save on buying costs whenever you need to replace a missing screw or broken doorknob, but you also gain the freedom to customize your items to your liking. For example, you can make your own accessories to decorate your home with, without having to waste hundreds to commission one. Or, if you are an avid figurine collector, you can print your own characters instead of having to order them online.
What software can I use with a 3D printer?
Today, a lot of 3D design software support 3D printing. Some common choices include Fusion 360, Tinkercad and Blender. These software all have their pros and cons, so feel free to check each one out and see which one suits you best. In this article, we’ll focus on Blender, which we think is the best free software choice for designers.
Blender is open source and hence completely free, with a clean and easy-to-use interface. It also supports multiple file formats like USD, OBJ, FBX, STL etc., which is more than some of its competitors. In addition, Blender enables the creation of detailed models using polygons, so there is no need to learn coding before you pick up the software. 3D modeling beginners and professionals alike will definitely be able to make their desired objects and figures using Blender at minimal cost.
To 3D print your Blender files, first install a 3D slicer software like Cura and PrusaSlicer. Then, all you need to do is export your Blender file as a STL file, let your slicer software convert the file code to ‘instructions’ for your 3D printer, and you’ll be all set. For more detailed steps with examples, as well as practice opportunities, we offer courses on Blender and 3D printing. Take a look if you are just starting out, you won’t regret it!