Common Questions About 3D Printing
How do you print something in 3D?
3D Printing works by a process called additive manufacturing. This is a fancy way of saying that the machine builds a physical object from the ground up, one layer at a time
Do I need to wear 3D glasses?
No, unlike “3D” movies, which are still two-dimensional films using hollywood tricks to make things look 3D, objects from 3D printers are real, usable things that you can hold in your hand and use in your daily life
Is it true you can 3D print body parts?
No... and yes! Consumer 3D printers are not capable of printing ears or other fleshy replacements just yet, but projects like the "Open Source Arm Movement" have people all over the world working to harness 3D Printing to create more accessible prosthetics. Someday we might be able to create the body parts we need, or even upgrade the ones we have!
Can you 3D print a gun?
Yes. In early 2013, documents containing the files and instructions to print a gun called the Liberator were shared on the Internet. Although this gun can be 3D printed, it must be made to very exact specifications in order to operate safely. Under no circumstances do we advise printing or attempting to fire a 3D printed gun.
What kind of objects can be 3D printed?
Everything from common tools to banana slicers, upgrades for your favorite products, pin-hole cameras, and even the parts of some 3D printers themselves can be 3D printed. There is no limit to the ideas that can be realized with a 3D Printer.
Who should have/use/buy a 3D printer?
Anyone with an idea they want to create, make or invent from their desktop should explore 3D Printing. These machines are great tools for the workplace, and great fun for hobbyists, families and schools.
Is 3D Printing dangerous?
No, but some people may need to sit down after seeing one work for the first time! Parents should be aware that there is some risk of burn or injury from moving machine parts, so adult supervision is recommended.
Do I need to design the things I print?
One of the great joys of 3D printing is seeing a design you made come to life, and we highly recommend that everyone give it a try! If designing isn't your thing, or if you're in a hurry to get started, there are many web sites and online communities where you can download and print from a seemingly endless collection of objects.
Are 3D printed things recyclable?
That depends on the material your machine uses to "print" things. There are biodegradable plastics, such as PLA, that are popular for 3D Printing. However, some machines may also use oil-based plastic. This usually depends on the type of objects you need to print.
Can you 3D print food?
Some awesome hobbyists are designing machines that can make things like pizzas and burritos. Unfortunately, consumer 3D printers are not designed to serve up such delicious treats.
Is 3D Printing complicated?
Not with a copy of The Book on 3D Printing at hand!
Why do they call it a Replicator if it only prints plastic stuff?
We knew there was one half-Vulcan out there waiting to ask that question.... One line of 3D printers is indeed called a Replicator. That's because, even though the technology to make something on demand doesn’t exist yet, the 3D Printing industry hopes to achieve that vision of the future someday. This goal no doubt inspired the name.