How Do 3D Printers Work for Kids?

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How to Get Started with a 3D Printer

This is not an article that will be very beneficial to those 3D printers who are in the intermediate and advanced or expert levels. This article is for kids and those adults who are thinking of getting on the 3D printing bandwagon.

It is all about the basics and defines what 3D printing is for those who want to know and have not learned anything about this artistic option. If you fall into that category then please, continue reading.

The information given here will lay a good foundation for you to build on in order to become an expert at 3D printing.

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What is 3D printing

Here are some brief statements to help you build a good foundation when you start your 3D printing hobby:

3D printing is:

  1. A new generation of machines that turn artwork and other designs into real objects.
  2. Can make an unlimited amount of everyday and other useful objects
  3. Is called printing because like 2D printing, the print sits above the surface.
  4. Works by turning a design into a computer file and then adding filament, 3D printing ink, which the printer melts and puts on a surface in layers until the object is complete.
  5. Can create moveable and unmoving objects, simple and complex designs.
  6. Uses high temperatures to melt filament that can burn you if you are not careful.
  7. Has many industries where it already makes a great contribution.

3D print qualities

This style of printing is more complex and challenging than using your 3 in one printer. Here are some technical qualities to help you understand how it works:

#QualityExplanation
1.ObjectsThe item that is created by a 3D printer by adding layers of material following a design. 3D printers do not subtract or cut away existing material
2.Computer filesAre needed to tell the printer what to do. These file formats come with letters like .stl, etc., and the information in those files need to be turned into slices so the printer can print the different layers
3.SlicersContain the important information such as height, width & length of each layer as well as other information the printer needs to create the object
4.TimeDepending on the size of the object printing can take as little as a few minutes or up to many days to print one object. Complex designs take longer than simple ones
5.Build bedThis is where the 3D printer stacks the different layers until the object is built. These can be heated or not, enclosed or not
6.CostInitial costs like printers, filaments, and accessories can be quite high but after that your expenses may become more reasonable

3D printer usefulness

As kids know, toys are great to have and fun to play with. Now with 3D printing you can make your own toys when your old one breaks. There is no need to ask your parents to buy you a toy when you can have them help you make one.

Think of all the toys you can make, from Star Wars figurines to swords, plastic helmets and much more. But there is something else 3D printing can do for you. It can help you do your homework making it look better by adding in models, plastic items that illustrate the topic and more.

Then if you have a cellphone, you can ask to have a cell phone holder made to protect your phone. There are unlimited designs available for you to choose from. Then if you have a broken bike or other item you use a lot, you can always print the part that needs replacing.

Here are some of the items you can make:

  • Toys
  • Models
  • Figurines
  • Plastic shoes
  • Cell phone holders
  • Rings
  • Watches
  • Hinges for toy chests
  • Hats
  • And much more

You have an unlimited amount of items that will fit your needs depending on your age. All you need to do is put on your thinking cap and go to work. Then find the right filament and files to help you make those items. A good computer search will turn up a lot of free designs you can download and use.

What you can do is all up to you.

How does a 3d printer work

In a very elementary form, here is how a 3D printer works. There are different printers but they all work under the same basic principle

  1. The material usually comes wrapped on a spool which is inserted into the printer. The material is called filament and it comes in about 20+ varieties all with different requirements.
  2. The 3D printer heats up the filament then pushes the melted material out of the nozzle which is over the build bed.
  3. Then the nozzle is moved back and forth while the printer lays the material out according to the design instructions it received. The object is created in 3 dimensional proportions and not 2D style.
  4. Precision is key so you have to make sure all the parts of the printer are aligned and in their proper places as well as making sure all instructions are correct and translated correctly so the printer can print.
  5. Printers come needing assembly or pre-assembled, you buy the one that you want to use. Plus, they come using different filaments which cost different prices. Many are not cheap.
  6. 3D printing is complicated and needs to have the settings adjusted from time to time. It is not a point, click and print system. There is some hard work involved.

Some final words

3D printing, once you learn how, can be quite fun and rewarding. The fun comes in saving money for normal everyday objects or needed household items. The reward comes in when you realize you are learning a new skill that allows you to make constructive contributions to your family, friends and society in general.

There is a bit of a learning curve but do not get discouraged or quit. If you do you may miss out on a great career.

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