Tied into the matter of what you want to print is a more fundamental question: Why do you want to print in 3D? Are you a consumer interested in printing toys and/or household items? A trendsetter who enjoys showing the latest gadgetry to your friends? An educator seeking to install a 3D printer in a classroom, library, or community center?
Your optimal 3D printer depends on how you plan to use it. Consumers and schools will want a model that’s easy to set up and use, doesn’t require much maintenance, and has reasonably good print quality. Hobbyists and artists may want special features, such as the ability to print objects with more than one color or to use multiple filament types.
3D Printing is an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital design. There are different 3D printing technologies and materials you can print with, but all are based on the same principle: a digital model is turned into a solid three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer. Starting with the very basics of diving deeper to give you the expert knowledge that’ll be essential once you decide to get started.
Every 3D print starts as a digital 3D design file – like a blueprint – for a physical object. Trying to print without a design file is like trying to print a document on a sheet of paper without a text file, 3D printing for education is thus playing such a vital role. This design file is sliced into thin layers which are then sent to the 3D printer.