3d Printing: The Wave of the Future

Most people have heard of 3d printing. If you haven’t 3d printing is the fusing of a material, like plastic, to make a 3d dimensional object. The technology itself is rapidly growing and becoming cheaper. In the future, it will be a common household appliance similar to the refrigerator, washer and dryer. What will it take for us to get to that point? Two things. The ability to print anything on demand easily. The second is speed. To make it a common household appliance you need to be able to select anything that is in a giant 3d model database, press the “Print” button, if button even exists at that point, and have an item in minutes if not seconds. We are not quite there yet. In order to print the model, you have to find a 3d model or make a 3d model. Also, most models take several hours to print and with some even going as high as days. While we are not quite at the point where everyone has one in their homes, it is the dawn of a new age. A San Fransico startup just 3d printed a house in 24 hours. Medical and body parts are being printed as well as food and metal. Online there is already a massively growing database of 3d models that anyone can print. In our life time the age of the 3d printer will be here.

To find a 3d model all you have to do is search the internet for a bit. Thingiverse is the most popular and has quite a large database already. It doesn’t have everything but has enough to make it a very good start. To make a model you need a 3d modeling program. There are plenty of free and paid for programs for this. It also requires a bit of knowledge in 3d modeling itself. Fortunately for 3d printing, the model itself does not need to have perfect edge flow and quad geometry. You can literally stick objects into each other and save it out and the 3d printer will see it as one whole object.

Since I am a Motion Graphic Designer, I use Cinema 4d for my 3d modeling needs. Below I modified a page holder to have custom text.

With Cinema 4d the Boole Object makes everything so easy to cut into geometry. Ugly geometry is completely fine for 3d printing. So for once, you can be lazy with it. Add text extruded or cut into a model is super easy. I have personalized many models this way and is super easy. The best part is that it is parametric. So if you need to change the words just retype it an boom. No remodeling needed. Giggity.

The 3d printer I choose to get was Lulzbot Mini.

After a lot of research and reading reviews, I decided this was the best one for me. I wanted a middle of the road printer, on the cheaper side that has the best print quality. I didn’t want a beginner/cheaper model because I knew how to 3d model and figured that I would outgrow it too fast. My mentality is to just wait and buy the right thing once and have it forever. Plus the print quality is better as the price goes up.

It’s been a year so far and I have printed off many a Mr. Poopybutthole, which I painted on with acrylics, and Spiral Cubes. The cube also has a stand for it if you desire it. Even though 3d printing is still in its infancy consumer wise, I have had a lot of fun with it. It will be interesting to see as time goes on how this technology will grow and be part of the future. Hopefully nothing like this:

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