Are 3D Printers Hard to Use?

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Nowadays, the talk of 3D printers can be seen everywhere. The mainstream media has portrayed this innovation as some magical technology. Due to this, the one question that pops into your mind is, are 3D printers hard to use?

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This is something you might be asking yourself in the hope that you can use your 3D printer to make fantastic items on your own. Some of the most popular items printed by hobbyists include cosplay materials, musical instruments, figurines, custom phone cases, among many others. Here’s an exhaustive guide describing the steps involved in using a 3D printer.

What’s 3D Printing and How Does It Work? 

You first need to understand what’s 3D printing and how it works before determining how hard it’s to use a 3D printer. The process of 3D printing entails making 3D parts from a digital file, and this process is attained through the use of additive processes. Additive processes entail placing several layers of materials until you manage to make your desired object.

The process of 3D printing allows for the creation of complicated items, shapes, and designs using less time and materials than traditional manufacturing.

3D printing usually entails using a 3D scanner or 3D modeling software to construct a 3D model using your computer. Using the3D scanner, you’ll be able to make a digital copy of the item you intend to make.

Consequently, you should slice the model to appropriate sizes to make it suitable for printing. To be printable, you should slice the models using the slicing software into many horizontal layers.   

Steps Involved When Using A 3D Printer? 

The steps to follow when using your 3D printer vary, and this depends on the item you’re hoping to print. This is because some products need more or fewer steps, but here are what you generally need to do when using your 3D printer.

Step 1: Search For A Suitable Design

Before you can even go to your 3D printer, switching on your computer is the first thing to do. Here, you need to use the 3D design software when designing and this, in most cases, is a computer-aided design (CAD) software. If you can’t make the design independently, there are many free online resources that’ll offer you free designs.

Step 2: Export The STL File

After choosing or creating a file, the next thing to do is download or export the STL file. It’s this STL file that stores the details of your abstract 3D item.

Step 3: Pick Your Materials

There are numerous 3D printing materials available, and the ideal choice depends on the properties you’re hoping to be intrinsic in your object. It’s best if you first get an idea of the type of material you’ll use before commencing with the printing.

Step 4: Select Your Parameters

Once you’ve picked your preferred material, the next thing to do is choosing the ideal parameters of the printing process and the 3D object. These parameters include your print’s placement as well as its size.

Step 5: Create A Gcode

This step entails importing an STL file into the slicing software such as BCN3D Cura. Subsequently, the slicing software will transform this information into a Gcode from an STL file. The Gcode is a particular code which contains the precise instructions of your 3D printer.

Step 6: Print

This is the last step, and it’s when your 3D printer starts making your item layer by layer. The duration this takes is determined by your 3D printer, the object’s size, and the materials used. Therefore, this might either be several hours or a couple of minutes.

These are the basic steps you should follow when making an object using your 3D printer. However, you can add some extra post-processing steps after printing, such as brushing off the powder and painting.

What’s The Challenging Part About 3D printing?

How hard or how easy your 3D printing journey all depends on your experience doing DIY projects, your goals, and how technical you intend to become. 

You shouldn’t expect to face any challenges setting up the 3D printer and printing because both these processes are relatively straightforward. However, you’ll start experiencing some challenges when making your unique adjustments and 3D objects.

When looking to get the exact prints, you’ll need to have a great understanding of the process of assembling designs.

The process of designing prints is relatively complicated since you’ll need to design your 3D object to get the required support through the entire print. If you don’t do this, the print won’t be firm enough.

After understanding how this should be done, it’ll be a lot simpler to start designing. Fortunately, there are guides offered by most programs that provide tips on whether a particular design is supported well. You should also make sure the infill setting is high enough or else risk the print falling apart at the center of the print.

Nonetheless, don’t be overly concerned since you can find Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, which accommodates the needs of different individuals depending on your expertise. This varies from assembling tiny complex shapes, putting together shapes in a program, replacing an appliance’s spare parts, or designing your favorite figurine.

If you wish to avoid all this hassle, a great alternative is using the designs by other individuals who boast exceptional designing skills. An excellent place to get 3D print designs in STL files is Thingiverse, which is accessible to all. If you’re experienced, the best thing to do is examine another person’s design and, consequently, make unique adjustments.   

Like learning any other skill, you’ll need to focus and be determined to perfect your skills in using a 3D printer. If you observe this, it won’t be hard to do even more complicated 3D printing projects.

Conclusion 

Learning how to use a 3D printer shouldn’t be intimidating, as many people make it look like. If you shared the opinion that 3D printing is complicated, your sentiment has, without a doubt, changed after reading this detailed article. Therefore, you can now go ahead and take advantage of this technology to make 3D objects using your unique printing techniques.  

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.