3D printing is becoming more and more mainstream nowadays. The technology becomes increasingly popular and by the year 3D printing technology has entered more and more industries. But how do you start your own adventure with 3D printers? How do 3D printers work? We’ll try to answer these and many other questions.

We’re sure you’ve thought of buying a 3D printer many times, haven’t you? This is not surprising as three-dimensional printing is not only a solution for rapid prototyping, but it’s a technology which is being applied in an increasing number of sectors each year. 3D printing has numerous applications and if your company is dealing with industrial design, architecture, automotive or robotics, a 3D printer is well worth investing in.

3d printing for beginners

The first question to answer is: What is a 3D printer? Basically, it’s is a device that makes creating physical objects with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) not only possible, but quick and simple as well. In fact, the possibilities of what can be printed in 3D are only limited by a designers’ imagination.

Objects are 3D printed with the use of special 3D printing materials such as ABS, PLA and many more, for example plastics and wood composites, nylon or rubber. Materials are selected depending on the needs of the project.

Vision and design matter

The process of creating a model to print in 3D starts with an appropriate design. If the design is made with the use of CAD software, the designed object does not intermingle itself, is generally watertight, and it may be saved in STL, OBJ, DXF or 3MF formats. The next stage is to prepare a slicer. To do so, one should generate the proper files with G-codes which describe the sequence of the extruder’s movements. G-codes are generated with the use of slicers – special software that “slices” a three-dimensional model into parts.

Objects are 3D printed with the use of an SD card which is the simplest and most convenient solution to transfer data. An SD card is often sold together with a 3D printer. An SD card is more convenient compared to USB cable as we can avoid unnecessary cables around the printer. Now we can enjoy the view of an element being printed.

Z-SUITE software is a convenient tool to prepare models for 3D printing. The software makes it possible to slice a design for the 3D printer in a few clicks. Z-SUITE is an integral part of the Zortrax Ecosystem.

Starting to print in 3D

If we already have G-codes ready, we can start to print in 3D. What is interesting, is that the three-dimensional printing process is not as complicated as it may seem. Zortrax 3D printers are very user-friendly. One must only start the 3D printer and heat the working platform and the extruder up to a required temperature (depending on the material used for printing). When that’s ready just a few moments later, you can press the “print” button and wait for the object to be printed.