3D printers: Have you ever heard of 3D printing? It is a very advanced technology that allows you to create three-dimensional objects, in plastic or other materials, starting from a 3D model made on a computer. By exploiting it, it is possible to create objects of all kinds and shapes: even the components to make other machines (however we will talk about this later). It all happens thanks to 3D printers that superimpose in an orderly manner the layers of condensed polymers, in order to perfectly recreate the models that the user has given to them.
There are various 3D printing techniques. One of the most popular is called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and provides that a nozzle deposits the molten polymer for 3D model printing on a support base using granular materials. Remaining on the subject of printing materials, among the most common are ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) and PLA (polylactic acid).
The 3D printers are particularly suitable for companies that need to create prototypes of objects in a short time (we are talking about several hours anyway) but their growing diffusion and the lowering of prices that have been registered over the last few months have transformed them into devices almost ready for the general public. Now very little is missing!
An example of what I’m telling you is the Cubify Cube, a 3D printer designed for home use that measures 14cm x 14cm x 14cm and comes with everything you need to make prototypes and other objects in just a few clicks: 10 colored cartridges (only one can be used at a time), 25 ready-to-print models, Wi-Fi support for computer connection and software to create 3D models intuitively. As materials, use ABS and PLA. The price is not yet among the most accessible, you can buy it on Amazon at 1,599 euros, but there is no question of user-friendliness.
Looking at the purely economic side, there are 3D printers even cheaper than the Cubify Cube. There Solidoodle 4, for example, it can be purchased for $ 999 (about 738 euros) and also offers the possibility of making objects in ABS and PLA with a maximum size of 8cm x 8cm x 8cm. Aesthetically it looks like a small black box quite pleasing to the eye and comes with maintenance accessories, power / connection cables and enough cartridges to make the first test prints. More info can be found on official website of the product.
In the professional sphere, it certainly deserves some consideration Stratasys Mojo which allows you to create large objects 12.7 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm in ABSplus in ivory, white, blue, fluorescent yellow, black, red, nectarine, olive green or gray. It comes with everything you need to make your first prints and advanced modeling software. It costs a whopping $ 9,995 (about € 7,378) but for its target audience it is not an exaggerated price. Find more details on the official site.
Earlier I mentioned that the 3D printers they can also produce internal components of other machinery. Well, what if I told you that using this capability it is possible to self-produce another 3D printer? Of course it is not a solution for everyone, but I advise you to deepen the subject because it is definitely worth it.
Try taking a look at the official Wiki of RepRap, an open source project for the creation of a self-replicating 3D printer, i.e. capable of making its own components. The site is in Italian and full of informative material. See also the forum connected to it to know more details.