3D Printing is an exciting new Technology and to give our young people the opportunity to explore their creative talents and promote STEAM subjects, the District have invested in a CTC 3D Printer which based on a Makerbot Replicator 2. It is a FDM printer with dual extruders, which means it is capable of printing in two colours or printing symmetrical objects twice as fast! The printer is managed by the Technology Active Support Unit and we can’t wait to see what our members create with it!
What is 3D Printing?
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive 2D layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
How does 3D printing work?
It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modeling program (for the creation of a totally new object) or with the use of a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). A 3D scanner is capable of making a 3D digital copy of an object using many different technologies to generate a 3d model such as time-of-flight, structured / modulated light, volumetric scanning and many more. Recently, many IT companies like Microsoft and Google enabled their hardware to perform 3D scanning, a great example is Microsoft’s Kinect. This is a clear sign that future hand-held devices like smartphones could have integrated 3d scanners for making models too.