The engineering lab at Wellesley has a 3-D printer. I remember watching a television show that first introduced me to a 3D printer that models an object, a human head, and a digital drawing and "prints" out a 3-dimensional replica. The experience was truly shocking and fascinating, and I really wanted to learn how the 3-D printer works.
According to Stratasys, the printer builds the product from the bottom up with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic. The plastic is rigid and tough; it fits easily into molds. However, it remains to be very light and makes it the perfect material to construct pipes and golf club heads.
The software reads the STL file and builds the support structure. The plastic is melted into a semi-liquid state and builds the model in layers. This process is called "additive manufacturing."
There are different methods to printing a 3-D object:
- inkjet printing: powder layer with ink boundaries
- digital light processing: exposing liquid polymer to light
- 3D microfabrication: gel cut with laser
These are some examples of 3D print works:
There are so many ways you can implement the 3-D printer: art work, sculpture, miniature sets, costumes...