Source picture: http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-10-11/the-worlds-first-3d-printed-guitar
3D printing is a Technology in which very complex objects can be produced, by just putting one layer of material over the other. It is able to produce parts that would be very hard to manufacture otherwise, such as (pictures) the body of a guitar made out of one single piece, a hollow dice, or a fully operating gear heart.
3D printing has been used in the Industry for quite some time, but recently experienced a breakthrough because comparably cheap 3D-printers are commercially available- prices for a simple model start well below 1.000€. So what was once the privilege of fancy R&D labs in Multinational corporations is now available to the masses at home and could be disrupting industries such as fashion, jewelry, games and some that we have not even thought of….
…with YOU being the star designer!
All you need to become a 3D printing designer yourself is a digital model of the part that you are willing to produce (usually in STL- format). To do so, just download one of the following programs 123D Design (free), Sketchup (free for personal use), Cubify Invent (49$- 2week free trial). The only other thing you would have to invest is some days (or a long-long night) of practice to get familiar with the software. I recommend you chose a program and than follow a youtube step-by-step tutorial for your first piece.
Once you have your 3D object in STL- format, there is no need to buy a printer! Just upload your file to one of these popular sites (shapeways, materialise, or sculpteo) and for a couple of Euros let them print & ship your part in materials such as Stainless Steel, Bronze, Sterling Silver, flexible Nylon Plastic, transparent Acrylic Plastic and Ceramic all of those in various colors and with different surface treatments.
Examples for parts designed on shapeways:
Another very cool feature is that these platforms also help you to sell your objects in an online store. You could become a professional designer (earning money!) in a matter of days.
I would love to see some digital models or even pictures of printed designs, by anyone who was motivated by this blog to become a 3D printing designer. And maybe let the others know how many nights it really took you….
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated to any of the above-mentioned websites or services and we do not earn any commissions. We just think they’re pretty cool!