3D printing is a cool concept, but it’s not quite as simple as just setting a printer to print. Several steps need to be followed from start to finish to create a 3D print.
The first thing you need to do is to develop an idea of what you want to print. Inspiration for this can come from anywhere. There might be something that you’ve always wanted to make or something that caught your eye that day. You could even have just found a 3D model on a website and decided that you wanted to print that.
Once you know what you want to print, you have to design it. For this step, you need to use 3D modeling software to create the 3D model. Some people may find this relatively easy. However, the process is often time-consuming and not exactly beginner-friendly.
Thankfully there are many websites on which people share their 3D models. Some are free, and some are paid, but you can often find a model of what you want or something that you can use as a starting point. Remember to include any necessary infill or support structures, or your print may collapse.
When your 3D model is complete, you need to run it through a slicer. A slicer is a software that translates a 3D model into G-code that a 3D printer understands. This splits the model into layers and provides instructions for the printer to create those layers correctly. If this stage fails, there may be a problem with the 3D model that requires a mesh repair tool to fix.
Now that the 3D model has been run through a slicer, you need to transfer that sliced file to the printer and create the model. This will likely take some time, especially if the model is large.
Once the printer has finished, you will almost certainly need to perform some post-processing. This is a stage where any support structures are removed, layer lines are smoothed, and paints are applied. Depending on the material used, you may need to cure it first or perform other steps.
When you’ve finished post-processing, your printable is complete. It’s ready to use, put on display, or fulfill whatever purpose you made it for. Have you got any printables that you really want to make? Let us know down below.