All You Need to Know About 3D Printing: FAQs Answered

4 Mins read
FDM 3D printing farm & Know About 3D Printing
Above: FDM 3D printing farm/Image Source: Minku Kang on Unsplash

The process of making three dimensional objects from a digital file is known as 3D printing. It is a growing field of development and it is important that everyone learns about this technology. If you too want to know about 3D printing, then you have come to the right place.

The technique to print digital elements does not consume enough processing power, so you probably don’t require a special computer. However, if you need to do a lot of 3D printing, you need to have a robust computer.

For example, 3D CAD modeling demands high processing power, excellent RAM, and a good graphics card to carry out resource-intensive tasks and get optimal output. Let’s learn more about 3D printing and related aspects to understand it in a better way.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing, in general, is an additive technology used by engineers to manufacture parts. It eliminates the need for the tooling stage like in the case of most conventional manufacturing technologies. 3D printing simply builds the model in a layer-by-layer form in a bottom-up approach.

As far as the areas of application are concerned, 3D printing plays a wide role in creating complex geometrical structures. With an ever-expanding scope to enhance printing technology, 3D printing technology is widely used in other industrial domains.

How to select the right 3D printing process?

Selecting the right 3D printing process can be a challenging task as there might be more than one ideal process. Each process will deliver subtle variation in overall costs and output. However, considering three major concepts will help you decide on the right printing process.

  • Material properties such as strength, impact strength, or hardness.
  • Capabilities of the process such as build size, accuracy, etc.
  • Visual and functional design requirements such as strength, smoothness, and heat resistance.

So, picking the most suitable process for the 3D printing technique accounts for the required material, visual appearance, functionality, and build size or accuracy parameters.

What software is most recommended for 3D printing?

Eiger 3D printing software
Above: Engineer works on Eiger 3D printing software/Image Source: Markforged

The two most popular methods for 3D printing software include surface modeling and solid modeling. Different CAD software applications and packages exist for each approach. Surface modeling is creating virtual objects by creating and adjoining 2D structures and then shaping them using the freeform method to build 3D shapes.

Solid modeling is the process of crafting virtual objects by joining pre-defined 3D shapes. Both printing approaches produce the same output. If a clear comparison has to be made, solid modeling is faster for structuring non-organic and simple shapes, whereas surface modeling is ideal for creating real-world organic shapes.

When it comes to 3D Printing software, Fusion 360, Rhino 3D, and SolidWorks are among the popular ones.

Let’s now learn about some powerful computers that you can use for 3D printing.

When it comes to selecting a computer for 3D printing, you don’t need anything over an average computer with an Intel i5 Quad-Core processor with a clock speed of 3.3 GHz, 6GB RAM, and fairly good graphics.

Processor: Pick a computer with higher processing power as 3D printing software applications are resource-intensive. The processor must be able to handle large parallel computing tasks per second.

Operating System: As far as OS is concerned, you can use any computer from the house of Windows, Linux, or macOS. The most popular slicers, such as PrusaSlicer, Simplify3D, or Cura, work with any operating system.

Graphics Card: You may not essentially need a graphics card to render 3D printing. However, having a 3D card would slightly increase the processing time when you are dealing with a large set of files.

No matter if you have a high-end computer or one with minimum specifications, you need to optimize your computer regularly. If your computer screen flickers regularly or the laptop turns down all of a sudden, it’s time to take a quick tour to identify the problem and fix it immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to use a 3D printer with a laptop?

Ultimaker Essentials 3D Printing Enterprise Software
Above: Ultimaker Essentials 3D Printing Enterprise Software/Image Source: Ultimaker

Almost all small to large intensity tasks can be accomplished using a laptop. A good laptop with around 8GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive is ideal for 3D printing.

It is important to mention that you may not always need a computer to use a 3D printer. All 3D printing devices include an SD card reader that helps read files and initiate printing.

What computer is best for CAD Modeling?

For 3D CAD modeling or solid modeling, both Windows and macOS offer quite a lot of options. macOS is the designer’s best choice as it features multiple easy-to-use functionalities.

Most CAD software is available for Windows as well as macOS operating systems such as Fusion 360, Blender, and ZBrush, to name a few.

However, 3D printing software for Linux is limited. Some manufacturers offer software with Linux-compatible releases. The reason is that a small community of designers using Linux exists. You may not get frequent OS updates which means you need to deal with bugs by yourself.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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