things, tinkering and thougths by eric
3D printing is what a lot of people call ‘the next big thing’. A 3D printer is a machine that prints small layers of plastics on top of each other, by doing this you can create almost every object that you can model in a 3D modeling program.
What is it used for
Most people are using 3D printing for fun or for prototyping. You are able to make almost every object that you can think of. It’s even possible to make objects which are not produce-able with ordinary production methods like shapes inside a bigger shape.
For my Gyro project I used a 3D printer for a plastic part that you can click on top of a Powerball. This part hold the sensor which measures the speed.
There are some different places were you can print your 3D models, all around the world (also in Amsterdam) there are Fablabs where you can use a 3D printer to print out your models. You can also upload your file to an online 3D printing company and they will print your models. My objects were printed at ‘Shapeways‘. Although it is a Dutch company, you pay in US dollars and worldwide shipping is included if you order has a minimum of $25,-.
At Shapeways there are some different materials which you can choose, like black, white and transparent. All the materials are not as smooth as normal plastic, that’s a characteristic of 3D printers. I used very fine sandpaper to smooth-en the plastic part. Sandpapering works, but there are always parts you can’t sandpaper, because it is impossible to reach.
I think 3D printing is great for prototyping and I am certainly going to use it in some future projects.
The webblog of Eric Holm, designer at Kimogo in Amsterdam. interactive media projects, Flash games and interactive installations.