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It seems the world has gone 3D printing crazy, it’s become a buzz word in the media, and our team at Avalon Print wanted to explore and explain what 3D printing is, how it works and why we need it?

So what is it?

In as simple of terms possible, 3D printing 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 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 it Work?

The 3d Printing process begins by making a virtual design of the object you wish to create. This design is put together in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modelling programme (if you are creating a totally new object) or with the use of a 3D scanner (to copy a current object). This scanner makes a 3D digital copy of an object and puts it into a 3D modelling programme. To prepare the digital file created in a 3D modelling program for printing, the software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D image) and proceeds to create the object blending each layer together with no sign of the layering visible, resulting in one three dimensional object.

Why we need it?

3D Printing is becoming invaluable in a multitude of applications such as; design visualization, prototyping/CAD, metal casting, architecture, education, geospatial, healthcare entertainment/retail and much more.

For example, Nike uses 3D printers to create multi-coloured prototypes of shoes. They used to spend thousands of dollars on a prototype and wait weeks for it. Now, the cost is only in the hundreds of dollars, and changes can be made instantly on the computer and the prototype reprinted on the same day.

At the minute at a domestic level, Personal 3D printing is mainly for hobbyists and enthusiasts. But this sector is rapidly developing and printers are getting cheaper and cheaper, with prices typically in the range of €300 – €2,500. This puts 3D printers into more and more hands.

So 3D Printing is here to stay and with its application expanding quickly, who knows what it will be used for next?


For more details on how Avalon Print can help you with all your print needs contact our print team on 01 8258011 email: info@avalonprint.ie