Just 3D It: Hello and Welcome

Have you ever wanted to design or customize an object and watch it produce right in front of your eyes? Well, welcome to the 3D-printing world! Now that technology is so advanced, additive manufacturing (“3D-printing”) has been popularized and the access to 3D printers has become much easier. 3D printing changes the way we can create personal objects, toys, tools, and more, allowing rapid prototyping. With a machine that is capable of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file, why not use it to your advantage and create endless ideas?

In my column, Just 3D It, I want to uncover some of the basics of how 3D printers design, customize, and create objects. Designing the object is usually the longest step in the process, but once you create one design, you can print as many of them as your filament supply lasts. Plus, you can customize objects to your heart’s desire!

I first heard about 3D printing on a news post on Facebook about new 3D printers for medical uses that could print body parts to help those who need it. After I found out that there are 3D printers for personal use, I thought it would be fun if I designed something myself. Last year, I found out that there are 3D printers in the computer science classroom at my school so I decided to try them out. I watched a Hello Kitty figure slowly print out layer-by-layer and I thought it that was pretty cool, but I was afraid to design something on my own because it seemed too complicated. However this year, I had my first experience designing an object entirely from scratch and then 3D printing it using the 3D printer I had access to at the Main Library in San Francisco. I figured out that using an online 3D designing tool wasn’t that hard to use after I got the hang of it. It was actually really fun and rewarding to design and see the finished product!

That’s how I first embarked on my 3D printing journey, so look out for my next posts on 3D printing projects and follow me from the first steps to the last through illustrations and videos!