You can choose to create very complex objects – for example, you can create a ‘ball in a cage’ or interconnected parts that have some freedom of movement. Objects can be printed in one or many colours, or dyed after printing. Some printers also offer a range of finishes, such as matte or glossy.
There are many different technologies being used to 3D print objects. Each technology has different strengths and weaknesses and uses different materials. You can see more details about these techniques here. Most techniques involve printing your model in layers, adding one ‘slice’ on top of the previous layer until the model is finished.
The design options available to you will depend on how you want to print. You can buy your own 3D printer for use at home. This is particularly great for prototyping and testing out your models before printing them in more expensive materials. However, for more complex models and certain materials you may need to go to a professional 3D printing service.
3D printing options
- Build your own 3D printer from a kit: http://reprap.org/
- Ready-made desktop 3D printer (Anarkik3D has an Ultimaker2)
- Join a local group with access to a 3D printer (e.g. your local Fablab)
- Upload your model to a professional 3D printing service (i.e. i.materialise, Shapeways, Sculpteo, Oceanz, etc) and get a quote. They offer additional services such as:
- Repairing models that are not quite suitable for 3D printing
- Adding supports to your model for overhanging parts
- Casting into precious metals
- Bureau: If your model is complex and requires other processes such as mould-making and casting, it may be better to go to a bureau (i.e. Digits2Widgets) where you will get comprehensive support. Although these might seem to be more expensive, they will help you get your model right first time.
Please note that Anarkik3D have no control over your dealings with third party services. If you experience any problems whilst uploading or when you receive your 3D printed model, please contact the company directly.