What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of building a three-dimensional object, though an additive process, using a ‘fabber’ or 3D printer.

How does it work?

A 3D printer builds a solid object by depositing material (filament), layer by layer, until a whole object is formed.

There are a number of different techniques used to print 3D objects. The technique Faberdashery caters for is known as fused filament fabrication (FFF). This is the technology utilized by desktop 3D printers such as RepRap’s Mendel or Huxley, Makerbot’s Replicator and Ultimaker’s Ultimaker.

FFF works by heating plastic filament to a point at which it can be squeezed out of an extruder in the printer head. As the printer head passes across the ‘print bed’ it lays down thin layers of the material. The printer head moves backwards and forwards over the print bed, extruding layer upon layer of print material, building it up, until a three dimensional object is created.

What’s the big deal?

The past five years has seen the explosion of home 3D printing.  With machines such as the Huxley from RepRap it’s possible to have a 3D printer in your home or work space for under £500.

Now that 3D printers are available for use in our homes and workplaces we can begin to see a future where objects are made, as needed at the press of a button. Moreover, products can be changed and tweaked to meet the needs of individuals. So if you want a new vase, model castle, chess piece, eggcup, door handle, washing machine part, vacuum attachment… now you can simply print it out!

Check out the cool stuff people are printing at Thingiverse, the open-source sharing space for 3D models and content.

Brilliant! How do I get involved?

Firstly you will need a 3D printer. There are a variety of desktop 3D printers on the market, but all work in the same way. Many printers you can build yourself from a kit (and some can even re-print themselves). There are also some 3D printers on the market, which can be bought, pre-assembled. Our print material is compatible with all of these desktop machines.

Below are some places to go if you want to find out more about getting your own 3D printer.

RepRapPro

Makerbot

Ultimaker

Once you have your printer, get some Faberdashery filament and get printing!