I have what may be, to those who write articles about 3D printers, a stupid question. Printers - normal ones - use paper. They print images of things. If you print something in 3D, aren't you just printing a 3D image of something?
The articles I read make it sound like someone could buy a 3D printer and start "printing" their own guns or phones or chairs.
What do you put in the printer? Wood chips for the chair? A gooey mix of liquid plastic, memory chips and color for the phone?
Something is missing in these stories. I cannot be convinced that, if I buy a 3D printer, I'll be able to create my own knockoff designer purses.
Am I crazy? Perhaps the printer just prints a plan? Which, for designer purses, would mean you have to buy leather and make a purse just like anyone would make an old fashioned dress - from a pattern. Why would you need an expensive 3D printer for that?
This kind of thing annoys me. Somewhere between the sentence about famous knock-offs (like copies of expensive watches, purses, etc.) and the sentence that states that 3D printers are a threat to the business of name brands, there should be some sort of explanation.
Like - what the $%#^%#@# is a 3D printer and what do you put in it to make it print.
Hi, 3D printers produce a real solid object, but as you suspect there is a catch in that you can only print a limited number of materials, and only certain very special printers allow you to mix multi materials in one same print; furthermore the materials available often do not correspond to what you would want. So, you guessed right, it's a big limitation of 3D printing. However, you can print any SHAPE you want. So, if you have a beautiful wood chair, you can print it in 3D, but it will be made of plastic, not wood, because no printer exists as far as I know that prints wood. In fact, no printer exists that prints fibrous materials at all; so, no fiberglass, no wood, you get the drift.High quality metals, suprisingly, CAN be 3D printed, so you can make for example a medical prosthesis out of aeronautical titanium with a 3D printer. In that case, what goes in the printer is a fine titanium powder, which gets melted in the printer to produce the shape.
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