3D Printing at Home

I've been wanting a 3D printer for several years now, but have always been intimidated by the learning curve associated with Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software, as well as the price tag on even the cheapest of the consumer grade printers. However, since beginning this hobby, I came to the realization that even though it is fun to sculpt and build things by hand, much of what I want to build ultimately requires perfect (or near-perfect) symmetry and precision to look great. 

For those unfamiliar with 3D printing, it is a process by which a machine builds objects in a way similar to how a hot glue gun works: a thin plastic string is fed into a metal nozzle (extruder) that is heated to  temperatures of over 200 degrees celsius. The plastic instantly melts, and is pushed out of a tiny 0.4mm hole at the bottom of the extruder. The extruder assembly moves down a predetermined path along two motor-controlled axis (X and Y), depositing the molten plastic in thin, continuous lines, that cool and harden almost immediately upon contact with the surface below. Once the printer completes depositing a layer, the platform on which the object is being built moves down a tiny step (as little as 0.1mm), and the printer begins to build a second layer, then the third, then fourth until the object is finished. In this way - a process known as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), a 3D printer is able to translate a medium sized 3D computer model into a physical object in a manner of hours. 

Here is a short video demonstrating 3D printing in action.

Aside from being able to design and build perfectly symmetrical objects with uncanny precision, 3D printing also requires next to no workspace/material preparation, cleanup, and virtually eliminates the need to handle messy, toxic materials such as Bondo during the modelling stage. While it is not going to replace good old fashion elbow grease, 3D printing is definitely a fantastic alternative to hand-crafting when it comes to some builds.

There are also a number of places on the net where people come to share 3D models they've created with other 3D printing enthusiasts, the best of which is MakerBot's  thingiverse.com. Everything from AT-ST Walkers, to Stormtrooper Helmets, to coat hangers - just download the file you want, load it into your printer, and hit print

But, before you can hit printcreation, you first need a printer and some basic information on what's involved. And if your end goal is , then you need to develop some basic 3D modelling skills, for which you will need software…

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  • 3D Printing at Home

Computer Assisted Design (CAD) Software

3D Printing

© mynocksden.com 2017. Disclaimer: This website's purpose is to showcase my personal projects, explain the steps, tools, materials and techniques involved in creating my props. The articles I have made are "fan made" props only, made for myself as a hobby. All copyrights for the characters or parts and components thereof which have inspired the work documented here are the sole property of their respective owners.