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How does 3D printing work?
3D Printing refers to the actual creation of real-world goods or models.
You can download more than 100,000 free designs, or create your own design using 3D creation software. If you intend to create your own designs, check out our Leonar3do kit.
The 3D printer builds any object you like by extruding this plastic layer by layer.
What can I make / print?
Aside from the 100,000+ (and growing daily!) free designs available for download, you can use a variety of 3D modeling software to create almost anything you can imagine - art, tools, replicas and figurines, cases and stands, high-resolution models and prototypes, real-world products, and much more.
The printing process
After loading the design, the process begins with the printer extruding the first layer of the build. This is repeated, layer by layer, until your object is complete and ready for you to enjoy!
Here's a video by Makerbot's Founder and CEO, Bre Pettis.
Prosumer 3D printers
The most common 3D printing technique is FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). A reel or spool of plastic is heated until pliable, then printed (extruded) onto the printing bed. Please see below for description of ABS and PLA plastic materials.
The future of 3D printing
People are unleashing their imaginations by printing toys for kids, gifts for others, and utility items for themselves. Businesses are saving thousands on the cost of producing rapid prototypes. And we're just beginning to explore more advanced possibilities: life-saving applications in healthcare, custom-created foods, replicas of rare and delicate fossils for scientific study - even 3D scanning of existing objects.
The materials that are most commonly used in prosumer 3D printing are PLA and ABS in reel form. Other materials include epoxy resin, glass polyamide, wax and even metals such as steel, silver and titanium.
ABS is familiar to most of us as the material used for Lego brand toys. It's light, durable, and strong. It's a little more demanding to use than PLA. ABS tends to curl upwards as it cools so a heated printer bed is needed, and smells like hot plastic during the build process. But ABS is ideal for utensils, tools, and items which will be heated (coffee mugs, for example).
PLA is derived from corn starch and other renewable ingredients, and is fully biodegradable and non-toxic. It becomes printable at lower temperatures, so it is easier to print safely. However, that thermal sensitivity is not ideal for designs that will be exposed to high heat, such as a coffee mug. Summarily, PLA is a more ecologically friendly and forgiving material and odor-free, although not quite as strong or durable as ABS. We recommend PLA for your daily printing, and ABS for more demanding jobs.
Extrude at 225c Extrude at 180 - 200c
Heated bed needed Heated bed would benefit
No additional cooling needed Advantage of cooling while printing
Adheres well to polyimide tape Adheres well to most surfaces
Open to cracking, delamination, warping Open to curling of corners and overhangs
Flexible Brittle
Molten plastic smell during extrusion process but not after No smell when being extruded
Petroleum-based Corn-based, nontoxic, ecologically friendly
Printing build platforms (beds)
There are two types of commonly used printing beds.
Heated bed Non-heated bed
A heated bed helps your first printed layer maintain contact with the printer bed throughout the printing process, yielding better results. The first layer is an important one, and the heated bed helps prevent the small amount of warping (that can happen when the material cools) from impacting the quality of your print.
A heated bed is required for ABS and beneficial for PLA.
This can work fine for PLA printing, which has less tendency to warp when cooling.
Layer thickness
Prosumer 3D printers can print layers as thin as 100 microns (.004 inches), while entry level printers may print layers as thin as 200 microns. We list layer thickness in the spec table of each printer.
Build area
You will find a specification for build area on every printer. This tells you the maximum size object that you can create with this printer. It is a major factor that people consider when purchasing.
Multi vs. single extruder
A multi-head extruder will give you the capability to produce multi-colored objects. You can also print multi-material objects by assigning each extruder specific material. Dynamism offers 3D printers with one, two, or three extruders.
Single extruder
Dual extruder
Triple extruder
Design or download?
Below are links to sites that will allow you to design or download objects.
3D printing at Dynamism
In 1997, Dynamism saw the mobile computing revolution, and gave our customers white glove service and a front row seat to the best-of-the-best products.
Now the Dynamism 3D printer store is open for business. Your 3D printer experience comes with the same benefits you expect from all Dynamism products.
  • Curated best-of-class products
  • Expert, unbiased sales advice
  • The best selection of 3D printers and related accessories
  • Unlimited toll-free dedicated Dynamism technical support
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