Those of you who have read our previous blogs and/or Facebook posts have surely heard us mention 3D printing before. This day and age, 3D printing is everywhere from professional industrial design to at-home, DIY model making. With the price of printers falling more and more every year, the quality of entry-level 3D printers is on the rise. Because of the new-found accessibility into the 3D printing world, we're starting to see an explosion in 3D printing popularity.
A 3D print seen in all phases of its inception.
Typically, during the design phase our designers will sit down with our production team and specify parts of projects that will require 3D printing. As most of our projects are much larger in scale, a typical print bed cannot always provide the size needed. However, 3D printing can prove to be an invaluable tool, even on our larger projects. It's an excellent fire-and-forget tool for making masters for molds, small one-off detail pieces, or a small scale model which is used as a reference for a large scale object. If we find the need for a large amount of a unique shape or piece, we can set the printer to print one while we work on other parts of the project. Then, once it's printed, we sand it, apply finishing techniques, and prep it for molding. Then we can cast as many as we want!
While most printers are still using plastic, there are plenty of materials and mediums on the 3D printing horizon. Resin printers have become very popular in the past few years. Resin gives you a much higher detail resolution but at a cost. Resin is much more expensive than your typical spool of ABS or PLA plastic. However, as the industry grows, the prices go down. We may very well see more resin printers in the future. On top of resin printers, there are metal printers, wax printers, ceramic printers, and even concrete printers.
Carbon 3D's Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) Printer.
Now that we have the ability to create things in a myriad of materials in our very homes, it's almost impossible to tell what's on the horizon of the industry. We can certainly tell you that we're very excited and optimistic about what the future holds.