What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing

3D Printing, Image Credit: Flickr User fdecomite, via CC

There is a unique technology that has come up recently. It is very useful and a lot of fun to play with. No, It’s not just a new video game or a new phone. It has to do something with the way you print. Can you guess what it is? It’s a brand new technology called 3D printing!

What is 3D printing?

It’s a kind of technology that allows you to create three-dimensional objects. We talk of three dimensions when you can not only see the shape but feel and touch the object. It is pretty amazing! Consider your printer spewing out an object instead of a picture on a piece of paper.

A 3D Printer by Makerbot Industries

A 3D Printer by New York company Maker Bot Industries, Image Credit: makerbot.com

How does it work?

Well, it’s quite easy to understand. In fact, it is so easy to understand that it’s a wonder that people didn’t discover it sooner. Imagine taking something that’s easy to mold – like play­doh. Or mashed potatoes if you like being messy. Now think of some object you want to create. First you start with the bottom layer. And then add on a layer at a time to create it.  Keep adding on until you get what you needed to make. Bingo! You end up with a three-dimensional object!  It’s that simple to work with.

How is it useful?

To begin with, a 3D printer can turn your drawings into 3D objects. You can also make toys and puzzles. Yes, with a 3D printer you can make all sorts of toys! Do you like building things and putting them together? Then you can make off brand lego blocks that can click together easily. You can make clothes for your dolls, or armor and weapons for your action figures. You can even make your own line of toys and sell them online.

A figurine, printed from a 3D printer

A figurine, printed from a 3D printer, Image Credit: shapeways.com

Do your parents let you have a phone of your own? With 3D printing, you can print beautifully designed phone case and customize it to how you want it to look. Whether it has your favorite cartoon characters on it, or something silly your friends will laugh at.

A phone case via 3d printing

A phone case via 3d printing, Image Credit: shapeways.com

Imagine having a 3D printer at home, or school! You can create things to help with school work. And with additional 3D models your school projects can become easier to understand. You’ll find that your only limit will be your imagination!

3D printing is beginning to get used in many big organizations. Recently, NASA tried its hand at creating a part of its rocket engine using this technology. Some big auto companies are using it to make new models of cars. Doctors are even trying to create organs using 3D printing!

So you see 3D printing is not just a child’s play. It is a technology that is here to stay!

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