3D printing is a more advanced form of 2D printing. Almost every home has a printer that can print images and text. Even though the image or text is displayed in 3D on a 2D printer, the result is a 3D image on a flat piece of paper. A 3D printer is able to create an actual object from a 3D image. The 3D printers available to consumers mainly print from plastic, but more advanced models use other materials including ceramics, steel, and even sand.

These days, anyone can buy a 3D printer, but many still don't have the courage to make the purchase. Why? One of the reasons is the huge price tag. However, this problem has been solved recently as many cheap 3D printers have appeared in the market. Another important reason is that most of us still don't know how a 3D printer works and how it works.


3D printing is a relatively unknown technology for many people. This article explains how to use a 3D printer at home. What do I need to print 3D objects and where can I get these products? How do I create a 3D model and how can I eventually print it? Keep reading to find out.

Step 1: Purchase a 3D printer

This first step is obviously quite logical. However, many consumers wonder where to buy a 3D printer and which is the best 3D printer available on the market today.

When purchasing a 3D printer, you can specify the speed and thickness of the layers you want and choose a printer that can print monochrome or multi-color on the same object. You can even choose the type of materials, hard and durable ABS plastic or flexible and environmentally friendly PLA plastic or even metals.

Now the doubt arises. What type of 3D printer should I buy? Read our 3D printer buying guide to help you choose the best one for your needs.

Since most of us buy a filament-type 3D printer, I will continue to do so.

Step 2: Buy the filament

Often, filament comes with the 3D printer, but sometimes you need more filament or want a different color. Fortunately, it's not that hard to buy filament. In most cases, you can simply buy from the company where you bought the printer. Or you can shop online with great discounts.

Step 3: Create a 3D model

If you have experience in designing 3D models, you can design a model using CAD software. However, not everyone has experience with this. There are also a number of websites where you can download existing 3D models. It is also possible to download the 123D Catch app on your phone and download images of the item you want to print. The app converts the image into a 3D model.

Step 4: Print the object

Now it's time to actually print the object. To do this, first insert the filament into the 3D printer as described in the manual. Then send the 3D model to the printer using the software. That's it! Done. The 3D printer is now printing the object!

Using a 3D scanner

Do you also have a 3D scanner? In this case, it is not necessary to create a 3D model. If you want to copy an existing object, you can simply make a 3D scan of the object to be copied and then send it to the printer. This works much faster than recreating the object as a 3D model.

3D printing is actually much easier than it seems! Since most of us still know very little about 3D printing technology, we think that 3D printing is a difficult process. However, as you can see, this is not the case; it is actually as simple as 2D printing.

What can you print with 3D printers?

Household items

The most popular use of 3D printing is to print household items. Since professional 3D printers are able to print on a variety of materials, it is now easy to print on cups, plates or cutlery. Printing coffee cups was one of the first applications of 3D printing.

Toys for kids

3D printing is ideal for personalizing toys. You can design your kids' favorite toy in the colors they like. This gives great opportunities for you as a parent because the toy can be fully customized for your child. There is no reason to be disappointed if the product is sold out or your child's favorite action figure just has the wrong expression on its face.

Home decoration

One of the first uses of 3D printing was to print covers. Professional artists use 3D printers to print intricate designs. The possibilities are endless. The artist no longer has to make all the details with filigree instruments.

The details can now be very specific and stored on a computer. The 3D printer then does the rest. As a customer, we can expect to see more artwork on the market, and we can print our own artwork for the home.

Save the environment

Plastic waste can be recycled to be used as a material for 3D printing. The field is currently growing, but in the near future, household plastic waste can be melted down into objects. This means less plastic for the environment.

In addition to the possibilities mentioned above, it is important that 3D printing in particular allows for personalization. It is quite easy to design your own 3D object and then print it. You are no longer bound to what is offered in stores, you can create your own art, design tableware, make your own toys and so on.

Keep in mind that designing 3D models takes time, and printing is still not cheap, but you get a fully customized environment.

What materials are used for 3D printing?

Today, 3D printers print on a wide variety of materials. Silver earrings on iPad cases, chocolate letters on toys are printed on recycled plastic. The list of materials that can be 3D printed is getting longer and longer. Let's take a look at some of them.

ABS plastic

ABS is a type of plastic that LEGO bricks are made from. Most home printers use this material, which is very easy to get.

PLA plastic

PLA is a biodegradable plastic based on corn starch.


Amazing but true: even gold can be 3D printed. These cufflinks are made by a company called EOS.

High-quality stainless steel

High-quality steel can be used to 3D print objects. i Materialize has an extensive collection of steel objects.


It was recently discovered that titanium can be used for 3D printing in medicine. For example, jaw implants.


Even ceramics can now be 3D printed. A rocket-shaped espresso cup can be ordered from Shapeways.


In addition to alloys, titanium and gold, bronze can also be 3D printed.

Transparent resin

This can be used to build transparent objects such as toys and glass.


They have also experimented with 3D printing wood. Check out this owl, for example, which is made from a combination of recycled wood and polymer.

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