What is 3D printing?

Once purely in the realm of science-fiction, 3D printing is taking the world by storm. 3D printers are able to construct complex, 3-dimensional objects by laying down (or “printing”) layers of plastic over one another. And, it all happens in a matter of hours! Think of a 3D printer as a futuristic hot-glue gun. Instead of hot glue, though, a 3D printer uses plastic taken from a spool. This plastic is moved through a heating element, and computer servos position this heating element to make shapes.

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The plastic filament used for printing shown fed into a 3D printer.

The servos in the 3D printer move in the shape of your object, drawing it out in plastic. Height is created by drawing the plastic in layers. This is known as additive manufacturing. On the other hand, for example, an object carved from a block of wood would be known as subtractive manufacturing.

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A 3D printer in the process of printing a computer adapter component.

The benefit of a 3D printer is that extremely complex shapes can be made that are not possible by otherwise removing material from a solid block. In addition, 3D printing made more accessible because of the low cost of material. Many 3D printers use a type of plastic known as PLA. PLA is an acronym that stands for polyactic acid, and is a renewable, environmentally friendly material derived from sugar cane.

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A 3D printed business card holder and Overwatch-themed fan grill.

3D printers allow you to create nearly anything you can imagine. From parts, to decorations, to models, and much, much more! The best part, is that you can literally go from design to finished product in a matter of hours! DNA Computers can help you design and print whatever comes to mind. Of course, don’t forget to check out some of our other services here at DNA Computers, your friendly neighborhood computer store.