What is 3D Printing?

Intro

It is a really exciting time for advances in the STEM community, and one of these up-and-coming technologies that has the community has been experimenting with lately (as prices continue to become for consumer friendly) is the world of 3D printing. Simply put, the process of 3D printing involves super-heating a plastic (typically in the form of a thin wire stored on a spool and known as “filament”) to the point where it can be extruded through a nozzle as a near liquid workable material. Once the plastic is heated and being extruded through the nozzle, a series of lines can be drawn to form a cohesive layer of plastic. Overtime these layers can be stacked on top of each other to form a completed object. In most cases this process is automated through the uses of robotics, computer programming, and computer aided design.

3D Printing Possibilities

3D Printing has been around for quite awhile, however it has just recently become affordable for home users. With more people getting involved in the unique 3D printing community, we are starting to see more and more unique products and concepts emerging in all aspects of STEM.

On the home front, we are seeing consumers use home model 3D printers to replicate household items at extremely low costs (such as wall mounted coat hangars, phone docks, soap holders, etc.) in addition to replacement items and fixes for household items. As for those networking and Information Systems junkies out there: you know how you keep breaking those pesky locking clips on your RJ45 connectors? There’s a quick 3D printed fix for that as well [1]

In the construction and engineering fields, we are starting to see companies (including non-profit organizations) apply 3D printing in a much larger scale to print houses using concrete [2]. In the medical field, recent advances in cellular research and 3D printing technologies are being used to replicate vital organs for use in transplant [3].

Spurred on by these feats of creativity, the 3D printing community continues to grow thanks to the innovative technologies being developed by both major brands in 3D printing and small rouge shops. Such products include the long “H” series from Diabase Engineering; a quest which begun with multi-material printing and ended with a 3D printer/CNC hybrid capable of both positive and negative machining [4]. The Palette 2 and 2+ from Mosaic manufacturing [5] provides an alternative to multi-extruder printing by creating a sort of hub (which simultaneously supports up to four different materials) that can cut and splice different material as needed and feed the end product to a single extruder.  Finally, several companies have produced products which take pieces of waste filament from 3D printing projects and re-heat then reproduce a usable filament.

How is Wilderness Ridge Hosting using 3D Printing Technology

We are using this technology to do a wide variety of things; from manufacturing parts to be used in our systems and by our staff, to running fund raising projects. We are very excited to announce that we will be launching a new fund raising flagship service where we will be using “3D Printing as a Service” as a vehicle to raise funds for a variety of non-profit organizations. The non-profit organization will change every month based on what “awareness month” it is (such as October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month). You can head here for project information, to track this months stats, and to see upcoming events! Of course, don’t forget to stop by the WRH marketplace and browse around for 3D printed items you might like.

Wilderness Ridge Hosting does not claim ownership over any 3D printed design unless it is otherwise explicitly stated. The purchase price of any printed item is exclusively for the cost to produce the item in addition to any fundraising cost(s), and in no way is a license or ownership fee.

 

 

 

 

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