3d printers are huge right now. People are creating all sorts of things with them, everything from food to household items, medical devices and so much more. Just google “What can you make with a 3d printer?” and you’d be amazed at the things that will come up!
My husband built a 3d printer, gave it to his brother and then purchased another one (he’s working on building another at the moment). I wondered what it would be like if we tried printing beads.
|Our M3D printer from PrintM3D.com|
Our particular printer works in two different types of plastics.
|Spools of PLA|
For making our beads, we are using spools of PLA (polylactic acid). This is a biodegradable plastic derived from renewable resources. This type of plastic is popular for making prototypes and comes in a wide range of colors.
|Running the printing software|
In order to print, you create what you want using design software (google sketchup). Then you take what you designed and process it through a software program called a “slicer“. This takes the object you designed and cuts it into many tiny layers that the printer can print. Once this is done, you run it through the printing software that turns your design into a 3D object.
|Plastic bead in progress|
Once the object is complete, you can remove it from the printer. The base is removed by popping it off with a sharp object (Xacto knife).
|Finished low resolution bead|
For this bead, we ran it in low resolution so it’s pretty rough. You can print your objects in higher resolution and then do some clean-up work to them.