What Is 3D Printing?

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3D printing allows for the transformation of any 2D design into a 3D model by creating layers of shapes and stacking them together to make the desired object. It steps over the boundary of two dimensional art and brings forth the realisation of many an imagination.

3D Printing has allowed advancement in the personalisation of our property. Children’s scribbles on a page can become a physical object, and the imagination can be tended to in new ways that allow us to actually hold the things we dream up.

Perhaps this can be classed as a direction away from the 20th century mass production and towards a more unique 21st century production.

Rather than just being a corporate or specialist industry, 3D printing is spanning into the fashion and art worlds as well as into our own homes through the surge of 3D printing apps that are now readily available to us.

The power of designing is being put into our own hands so that no two creations are the same.

3D Printing At Home

3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer t...
3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer thicknesses (Photo credit: Creative Tools)

Cubify provides the service of creating your 3D ideas from 2D designs. There is a plethora of products available to create on the website, mostly consisting of toys for children. It undoubtedly has a magical appeal to kids and adults alike. Being able to draw something up and then transform it into a solid object you can hold in your hands.

Shapeways is a company with a bit more of an arty approach. It provides a platform for artists and designers to buy and sell 3D printed works and share their ideas in an online community. The designs vary from the bizarre to the practical and back again. From intricately structured skulls to bottle openers and gadget accessories, the plethora of 3D printing possibilities are endless –at a variety of prices to suit most budgets.

3D printing apps have become readily available to download. They allow you to become the designer, customising and reshaping products, and then to buy and send that item on the spot.

There is even a social network style community building where ideas and designs can be shared and bought.

Other apps are going specialist, focusing on one particular thing, such as children’s dolls or phone cases. With the explosion of the smartphone and the world of apps for every possible need, it is no surprise that these are becoming hugely popular.

The Future Of 3D Printing

3D printed thimbles
3D printed thimbles (Photo credit: Creative Tools)

The industry is not just limited to personal items. There is research into recreating fossils, archaeological artefacts and even various body parts for forensic purposes.

Recent testing has even edged towards the possibility of recreating cells with characteristics of various proteins, which would prove a huge benefit to cell research.

Despite saving the trips to Printer Basics, it does not come cheap, with machines starting at £250 and filament to make them costing £50 a time.

The industrial benefits of 3D printing are obvious, including prototypes of various products and visualisations of buildings or structures. It has also created a more personal level of commercialism, where people can choose designs and structures themselves.

Homes and belongings can be adorned with the exact styles desired – and create designs hitherto confined only to your imagination.

Are 3D printing apps something you would use – or have you used them? Share your comments below.

Katie Hopkins is a lifestyle blogger, just about getting to grips with technology.

The Revolution Of 3D Printing Apps  3

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