3D Printing and Printer Technology

Everything you need to learn about 3D printing and how you can get started building you custom gear. Reviews on 3D Printers and the best ones to get you started, plus cool tips and tricks.

Ever wanted to make something unique or customized that doesn’t exist yet? Or how about making a replacement part for something around the house that isn’t being made anymore? Give 3D printing a try! In recent years 3D printers have become much easier to use and much more affordable to the every day person.
3d printing

Getting Started

There are tons of different 3D printing technologies available today each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  In the consumer market, the most popular method by far is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).  With FDM printing, the machine heats up a special roll of plastic filament and accurately dispenses it layer by layer until it eventually creates the desired object. We will focus on this method as it is the easiest to get started with. FDM printing has very affordable printers, low cost material and a very large community online to help you with any questions you may have.

3D Printers

When looking at FDM 3D printers there are tons of different options available.  The main differences between them usually come down to print quality, cost, reliability, material selection and print bed size.  Everyone’s needs from a printer will be different depending on what their expectations are from the machine.  We will list a few different options below.

Best Budget Printer – Creality Ender 3 Pro

This printer packs a lot of value for the cost of the machine. It has a fair size print bed, removable print surface for easy print removal and also a huge support community.  Since this machine is so popular, there are many different printer mods that people have created to make the machines even better. Most of the print files for these mods are available for free online.

Best Value Printer – Flashforge Creator Pro 2

This machine packs a wide variety of different 3D printing capabilities. The printer comes with dual extruder heads and a full enclosure.  This setup helps to print a wide variety of materials and even allows for printing mixed colour models.

Highest Quality Printer – Lulzbot TAZ 6

If you are looking for a premium machine which is very reliable and has high print quality this is the printer for you.  The Lulzbot TAZ 6 is an easy to use machine which can help you to get high quality prints right out of the box. 

Finding Things to Print

To print objects on a 3D printer you will need 3D models of the object you are trying to print.  You can either try to find print files online or make them yourself.

Online Print Files

With so many 3D printing enthusiasts online today there is a good chance that someone else has already designed something similar to what you are looking for.  A lot of people like to share these print files on websites like thingiverse.com for others to use.  The print files are usually free to use and can save you time designing parts. These websites can also be a great way to find inspiration for interesting things to print.

Designing Print Files

If you are looking to make something totally unique, or something that isn’t online yet you may need to design the part yourself using 3D modelling software.  This can seem a bit intimidating at first but don’t worry most design programs have great tutorials to help you get started.  There are tons of different design software available however a great program to get started with is Fusion 360.  Fusion 360 is free for personal use and comes with a lot of advanced tools that can help you to create anything you can possibly dream of.