What 3D Printing Material Options Are There?

3D printing has indeed made creation and productions of different kinds of models easy for designers and manufacturers. Whatever your reasons for taking an interest in the printing, you need to get a machine that can accommodate the kind of printing needs you have. One of the most important considerations to make is the types of materials the printer can handle. When you understand the materials you will most likely use in your productions, you will have an easier time choosing the best printer that will actually serve your needs.

Whether you are looking to create a unique 3d gift or you want to create a prototype, the material options are numerous and you will only need to make the best decision. When you know the options available to you, it becomes easy to select what you feel will work for the kind of creation you have in mind. The different materials have different properties and what might work for one creation may not always be the best for another, hence the need to select the most suitable material every time.

ABS and PLA – Most printers use spool filaments in ABS or PLA. The Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Polylactic Acid are plastic materials also known as thermoplastics. They can be heated to be semi-liquid and flexible and go back to a solid state once cooled. The ABS printing material is strong, highly resistant to temperature and flexible, making it a preference for many professionals. PLA on the other hand, produces thin layer thicknesses and sharper corners and it comes in a variant of colors so you can choose according to your preferences.

Nylon – Polyamide is a strong and flexible plastic that is made from powder. It is also called white and is flexible and durable. Whereas this material is naturally white you can still find it in different colors, giving you the freedom to select what suits your production best. The material can handle different creations, including moving parts and interlocking parts. It offers a minimum of 1mm in wall thickness.

Resin – It is a great material choice for precise and smooth objects that are rich in texture. It is however important to note that objects made from this material should not be exposed to UV light otherwise they risk discoloration. It could be advisable to consider varnishing the objects after printing to counter this effect. The material is rigid, but a little delicate and comes in mostly transparent, black and white colors.

Stainless steel – It is a mix of bronze and hybrid stainless steel. It is the hardest 3D printing material there is and desktop 3d printers cannot accommodate it. The material is very strong and made using multiple steps or it can be from powder directly. It is a great choice for those wishing to create serious objects that need to be strong and durable.

Wood – It might seem impossible, but it is actually possible to make a 3d object using wood. The filament is made using recycled wood and a binding polymer so you are able to create objects that not only look like wood but also smell like it. The printing process using wood is similar to that of PLA and ABS. Titanium, gold and silver, gypsum and ceramic are the other possibilities.

The Historical Development and Printing Processes of The Famous Adinkra

Adinkra is a traditional cloth that is printed using the block printing technique. The finished cloth is a traditional mourning cloth worn for funeral occasions. The word ‘Adinkra’ means ‘farewell’ or ‘goodbye’. It is worn to bid farewell and part ways with the deceased. The cloth has several symbolic patterns usually referred to as Adinkra symbols. These symbols carry symbolic connotations which usually explain the values, norms, and beliefs of the people.

Historical traditions have it that the Adinkra patterns originated from the Gyamans of La cote d’Voire. It is said that in the nineteenth century, the then king of the Gyaman kingdom by name Nana Kofi Adinkra angered the then Asantehene Nana Bonsu Panyin by trying to copy the golden stool. This made a war to ensue between the Asantes in the Ashanti region of Ghana and the Gyamans of La cote d’Voire. The Gyamans were defeated and their king Kofi Adinkra was killed. The craftsmen who had the skill for creating the patterns or symbols were taken as slaves to the Ashanti region of Ghana along with some soldiers. These slaves taught the Asantes how to create the symbols.

However, the Asantes copied their skill and improved on the motifs. They created several others with geometric patterns and associated numerous proverbial sayings and meanings that reflected their cultural beliefs, customs, norms and ideas with them. Another school of thought has it that the Asantes learnt the symbols from those that were inscribed on the umbrella, clothes, and columns of the stool of Nana Kofi Adinkra after he was killed and his people captured.

Another view says that the Adinkra designs were first made for the kings of Denkyira, Takyiman, and Asante in ancient times, long before the reign of king Adinkra. It was then called ‘Adwinikena’, believed to have been later corrupted to Adinkra. It is also believed by another school of thought that the Muslims inspired the most abstracted symbols. The most obvious one is the crescent moon and star symbol, which symbolizes faithfulness.

The stamps for printing the Adinkra patterns are cut from gourd or pieces of calabash about three inches in diameter. Three or four sticks of stiff palm-leaf ribs are attached to the calabash and tied together at one end to serve as a handle, held between the forefinger and thumb.

The adinkra dye which is a vegetable dye is extracted from the bark of the badie tree. It is grown mostly in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. The barks removed are boiled for about three hours. The liquid formed is collected and poured into the container. Enough water is again poured onto the stuff and boiled for some time. The liquid is collected and poured into the container. This process is repeated as long as the stuff continues to yield the dye.

The collected dye is then boiled for about four hours till the colour turns black and sticky. Originally, iron fillings known as ‘etia’ were added to the solution during boiling but now it could be boiled without them. To make the dyes look shiny after printing, honey, albumen or sugar is added and stirred when it cools down.

The large piece of fabric is stretched taut on a clean ground by pegging the ends. Sometimes, the fabric is spread on a floor and covered with hard paper boards and nailed at the corners and the selvedges. The stamp block is dipped into the dye bowl and is shaken a bit if it picks too much of the dye. The stamp is applied directly, freehand onto the stretched cloth. The block is stamped on the cloth according to the design planned by the textile designer. After the printing, the cloth is dried. Today, due to modernization, the printed cloth is ironed from the back.

The history, tools, and materials, as well as the cloth production technique, is part of the historical traditions of the Asantes of Ghana. Therefore, tourists who tour the country must visit Adinkra cloth producing villages such as Ntonso and Adanwomase in the Ashanti region of Ghana to have firsthand experience on the interesting history and practical lessons on the indigenous but permanent printing procedure of this famous cloth of the Asantes of Ghana

What You Should Know About Postcard Printing

Before jumping on the bandwagon that says “postcard printing is the all time best marketing tool”, it is important that you know what postcard printing is all about. There are actually four basic aspects of postcard printing that you need to know and these are the postcard size, paper stock, design file formats and coatings. Each of these aspects of postcard printing has their important role to function in order to ensure that you get the best quality postcards ever.

The postcard size doesn’t necessarily mean that there would be only one standard size to fit all sizes of postcards. It’s because various sizes requires for different postcard printing equipments in fact a slight change in the size of the postcard may have an adverse effect on its price. And so, in order not to be shocked by printing prices afterwards it is smart to get first printing quotes. This way you will be guided on just how much your postcards will costs. Likewise, never hesitate to ask your postcard printing company on the postcard size that work best on their equipment.

There are two aspects of paper stock that you need to be aware of. Paper stocks can either be glossy or matte. If you desire to have your postcards printed in full color you will then be made to choose between a CS2 stock and a C1S stock. CS2 stock has a gloss finish on both sides while the C1S stock has a gloss finish on only one side and its other side having a matte finished. Between these two stocks the C1S was the most popularly used since the ink used in postcard printing doesn’t dry up on the gloss part of the paper stock so they resulted in printing on the matte side of the stock.

But that was a long time ago, nowadays there are already inks that easily dries on glossy stocks. The glossy stocks are far cheaper than the semi-gloss stocks and exude much character on them that’s why it is a much better choice for postcards.

In terms of the design file formats, it is important that you ask your postcard printing company the type they are accepting. Although, there are printing companies that accepts various file formats however there are still some that makes use of only limited types of software and file format in their design creation. And what these companies often do is that they would try to convert your postcard design file into the format that is accepted by their postcard printing equipment. However, there may be some problems that may be encountered during the file conversion. One of the common problems faced involves font defaults and text loss to ensure that no such error occur it is important that your postcard project undergo proofing before finally submitting your postcard design for printing. Or better yet, you may try to save your design file in a PDF format. This way there will be very minimal conversion and manipulation that have to be done in your design file.

The finishing is as important as the first couple of steps in postcard printing. There are two types of postcard finishing or coating and these are UV coating and Aqueous coating. The UV coating provides the postcard with that shiny look and feel. Especially applicable for color images which you may want accentuated. Its drawbacks are in terms of its susceptibility to finger print marks and smears.

The aqueous coating on the other hand provides for minimal shine or gloss and entails for a much faster postcard printing process. The reason for this is that aqueous coatings are quick drying therefore doesn’t hinder the continuous printing process.

10 Amazing Ways to Make Money From 3D Printing!

1. Create and sell designs and printed items

There is a wide selection of free 3D modeling software which you can use to create your 3D models. Sketchup, 3DSlash, 123D Design, TinkerCAD, Sculptris, Meshmixer and Blender are some of the popular ones.

Beginners can easily find online courses, tutorials and YouTube videos to pick up the skills in using the modeling software as well as get guidance and support from the large online community.

There are many marketplaces for you to print or sell your designs and prints:

> 3DExport – a marketplace to sell your designs

> 3Docean – – a 3D models repository

> Azavy – upload your design files here and get paid when someone prints your file

> CGTrader – one of the biggest 3D designs repository

> Daz 3D – a 3D models repository

> iMaterialise – you can set up your store on this website to sell your designs

> Shapeways – set up your store here to sell your prints which have to be printed at Shapeways

> Sculpteo – you can set up your store here to sell your 3D prints

> Turbosquid – a 3D models repository

If you have access to 3D printers, you can sell 3D printed items on Etsy which is a great place to sell 3D printed crafts. You can also sell 3D printed items on Amazon and eBay. Unique 3D printed items could probably sell better on eBay.

2. Buy a 3D printer and offer a 3D printing service

This option requires an investment of hundreds or even thousands of dollars to buy a 3D printer as well as some time to learn and gain the experience in order to achieve professional grade prints.

You can then offer your services through a 3D printing network like 3D Hubs and Shapeways Global Partner Network. You list your printer on their network and potential customers in your local area can find you and engage your 3D printing service.

3. Establish a 3D printed food cafe or candy store

Food Ink leads the pack by setting up the world’s first 3D printing pop-up restaurant in The Netherlands. The restaurant uses a fleet of 3D printers to create culinary dishes and desserts.

4. Create novel 3D printed product or services

Polychemy specialises in 3D printed jewelry and they allow clients to customize their jewelry pieces online. Protoseyewear boasts 3D printed eyewear to fit you. Danit Peleg specializes in 3D printed fashion. Feetz produces custom-fit 3D printed shoes. As the technology develops, there are more and more creative entrepreneurs who will start to use 3D printing to produce customized products.

You can also open a 3D selfie studio where you scan your clients and print their figurines. Sculptraits Studio, Cokreeate and iOYS are some examples.

5. Conduct 3D modeling and 3D printing courses

Share your expertise by conducting courses and training in 3D printing. You can also create online courses on 3D printing. This can give you passive income for some time.

6. Blog and monetized your website

Blog on a 3D printing niche and monetize your website. Participate in affiliate marketing of 3D printing products.

7. Create YouTube videos

You can create YouTube videos related to 3D printing and monetize your videos.

8. Sell 3D printers

Sell 3D printers, scanners, supplies and software. You can also consider renting out 3D printers and scanners if there is demand in your community.

9. Repair 3D printers

If you are technically inclined and enjoy tinkering with machines, you may offer a service in helping people repair or upgrade their 3D printers.

10. Invest in 3D printing businesses or startups

Publicly traded stocks of 3D printing companies Stratasys, Organovo and 3D Systems. With sufficient financial resources and the right network, you could also find yourself opportunities to invest in startups that are making better 3D printers and such or creating 3D printing related apps.