Technology

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Chuck Hull patented his invention of three-dimensional printing. The public also quickly became interested in 3D printers. It did not take long for these institutions to be equipped with institutions that deal with health, production and sale of goods, construction and art. Today, they are affordable home or office equipment that you can indulge in in the thousands, for your practical or artistic needs.

Home 3D printer. What should you pay attention to when choosing?

How 3D printers work

Like a regular printer, a 3D device would be unable to print without a computer or laptop. First of all, it is necessary to create a 3D model in the modeling program, according to which the device will work. This is probably the hardest part for anyone who wants to indulge in 3D printing from the comfort of their home. The user must learn to work with the program in order to be able to create the required model.

If you don’t know how to design, you can let handy graphics do the work for you. There are several portals on the Internet that focus on selling ready-made templates or helping you create a custom project. Then all you have to do is send such a proposal to the printer and within hours you can enjoy the finished model. The result can be, for example, a small piece of art.

You can see a more detailed description of the process in the video:

Model creation process

You have to know the basic ideahow does a 3d printer work. This is a form of additive printing, so material is added in layers until a complete model is created. It is thus distinguished from technologies which, on the contrary, remove layers from the material.

Layers are gradually joined due to sintering or sealing. The most common system of home 3D printers is Technology FDM.

A string is wound on the spool, which is made of thermoplastic material. It passes through a nozzle, which melts it in its head and then applies it to the designated places. The header moves exactly as expected to where it should create the layer, and vice versa, omitting places that should remain empty. Once the model is dry, minor imperfections that will be created during printing should be sanded or removed.

Additionally, you may also encounter SLA or Stereolithography technology and SLTwhich uses a laser beam for its function.

3D printing in construction: 5 most interesting buildings

How to make the right choice

The market is literally crowded with a number of 3D printers and it can be difficult for a layman to choose. However, you need to focus on the basic settings. If you are buying hardware for frequent printing, want very good output, and are using the hardware to produce retail products, it is generally recommended to use SLS and SLA technologies, which are more expensive. The FDM type is sufficient for home use.

Before focusing on additional settings, such as weight, wireless capability, or printing with a variety of materials, pay attention to the basic settings.

Czech 3D printers help fight the COVID-19 virus. They distribute protective shields to doctors

Area dimensions and print speed

The basic criterion is size. It is not worth buying a large and expensive printer to print small household components. A smaller variant will suffice. However, if you plan to print larger parts on a regular basis, it pays to invest in equipment with a larger print area.

Focus on the unit that indicates the print speed. This is usually mm/s. This information will tell you how long you will be waiting for your model. Also pay attention to the unit called micron. Indeed, it indicates the height of the layers to be applied during printing. The larger the number, the lower the quality of the final print. It can miss small details, which is not a problem with basic parts, but it can turn out to be a defect, for example, when printing more detailed models. The same rule applies to the diameter of the nozzle, the larger it is, the smaller the details it is able to create.

Comparison of 3D printers of different price categories in terms of size and speed

Type of product

Technology

Print area dimensions

Print speed

Price

Creality ENDER 3 V2

FDM

220x220x250mm

180mm/s

5,589

CZK7,999

Creality LD-002R

ALS

119x65x16 millimeters

30mm/s

6,999

CZK8,299

Creality CR-10 Max

FDM

450x450x470 millimeters

150mm/s

25,999

CZK31,816

Prusa i3 MK3S

FDM

250x210x210mm

200mm/s

CZK19,900

Source: Independently selected products. Price according to the Heureka.cz price comparison

material for printing

Printers still only support a certain material from which models can be made. Therefore, when selecting them, make sure that the material you need for your creation is specified in the settings. Regular PET, from which many products are made, is very strong. Nylon is more flexible, but it is also more expensive. If the 3D printer will serve you more as an assistant in creating test models, a cheaper material like PLA or ABS will suffice.

Comparison of 3D printers of different price categories with regard to the possibility of the material used

Type of product

Technology

Equipment

Layer thickness

Price

SW-X1 Artillery

FDM

PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, TPE, HIPS, TPU, Wood, PVA, FLEX and ASA

0.1 – 0.35mm

CZK11,990

Creality CR-10S Pro V2

FDM

PLA, ABS, PETG, Nylon, TPE, TPU, Wood, PVA and ASA

0.1 – 0.4mm

13,899

CZK14,490

Original Prusa SL1

ALS

UV resin

0.01 – 0.05 millimeters

36,355

CZK 48,752

Source: Independently selected products. Price according to the Heureka.cz price comparison

Print resolution

The two-axis system is most often used in home printers. There is a horizontal and vertical line on the board. In this interface, the nozzle head is able to perform movements. The higher the print resolution, the more accurate the 3D printer is and your model will be more detailed without minor errors. There are sometimes three axes for more expensive products.

Finally, you can process the additional parameters mentioned above. This is, for example, the weight due to easy handling or the ability to connect wirelessly.

Czech designer of 3D printers Josef Průša

Even in the Czech environment, a 3D printing project was created, which today is appreciated almost all over the world. Josef Průša, who devoted himself to applied computing at university, later created his own type of 3D printer. Unlike many others, it offered its customers an open-source technology, which is already available to everyone by name. As a developer, he shares the secrets of his technology, offers free software and allows customers to build their own printers.

Průša became famous all over the world thanks to its 3D printer technology

Source: www.prusa3d.cz, 300 printers in one room

He is also a member of the so-called RepRap project, which brings together types of 3D printers capable of printing components for their own function. The customer is no longer dependent on a single supplier and the technology becomes more accessible.

Josef Průša says that in 2018 his company had a turnover of 1.136 billion crowns and sold 59,776 3D printers. Průš’s company was also named the fastest growing technology company in Central Europe, according to Deloitte. In the future, the company would like to focus more on producing its own filaments or printing lines.

Author: Tereza Malkova