Thursday, November 21, 2013

Types of 3D Printers - Using everything from Filament, Powder to even Play-Doh

The types of 3D printers on the market today have been in slow development for quite a number of years. But what may be old to 3D printing engineers is still awe-inspiring to the general population in seeing how these printers work. Take a look at some of the common printer types that are available on the market right now. While they're all expensive, some are cheaper than others based on the particular materials used in the printer.

Filament Printers
These printers come in the most affordable varieties, though also come in high-end models. They use a plastic filament to create basic 3D objects, and you can buy those filament rolls online as the equivalent to buying ink for inkjet printers. Tom's Guide shows some of these filament printers and how affordable some of the basic models are. Some even go as low as $300. Cubify puts out some of the most recommended filament 3D printers currently on the market. However, those run close to $2000, despite being able to create some amazingly useful things out of plastic. With only two types of plastic used in filament printers (ABS and organic PLA), there might be a few limitations here if you want to print with other materials.

3D Printers with Cheaper Materials
Despite plastic being more durable in the 3D products made above, you can find even cheaper 3D printers print with clay, plasticine or even Play-Doh. This can create some interesting things, and some people prefer the elasticity of plasticine for certain items.
that use alternative materials. Whether you think those materials are less durable or not is a matter of opinion. Hyrel is a leader in 3D printers and provides an option of being able to

Stereolithographic 3D Printers
These printers are very high end right now because they use a laser and photosensitive resins. At the moment, they run well over $3000 and may not become mainstream for a while. Regardless, once they do, households will be able to print objects in more perfect clarity. It's a technology that's been in development since 1986 to prove how long it's taken for it to finally get into the mainstream.
If you're searching out a stereolithographic 3D printer, try one from Formlabs and their Form 1 as a current industry leader. There was a successful Kickstarter campaign to get this to market over a year ago.

Powder 3D Printers
Using fine powder to create 3D objects with unique texture is still a growing technology. Right now, some of the few printers on the market that can do this are ones from ZCorp and their ZPrinter series. A laser melts the fine powder so you can create objects with different colors unlike any other 3D printer. These also work well with other materials like glass and metal that we'll see employed into 3D printers down the road.
Yes, variety already exists in 3D printing, and the most basic models can provide some true usefulness. If you want to keep up with future developments on 3D printers, come visit our blog at Mwave3D where we're always up on the latest news.

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