Page 11 - Upper Peninsula Business Today -- January 2018
P. 11

JANUARY 2018 UPPER PENINSULA BUSINESS TODAY PAGE 11
How 3d Printing Is Changing The Craft
World
The technology behind 3D printing has changed the world in various ways. Such tech- nology has impacted scientific discovery and contributed to advancements in medicine.
Three-dimension printing has also influenced how many people, including crafts enthusiasts, approach their favorite hobbies. Crafting enthu- siasts already are seeing the myriad designs and possibilities available with 3D printing that have appeared on pop-
ular crafting and retail sites like Pinterest and Etsy. While 3D printing may not feel like the craft- ing of yesteryear, it can require the same intricacy and skill as other forms of art.
"It [3D printing] takes the lid off of what's possible, and provides a really good bridge between technology and hands-on crafting," said Andrej Suskavcevic, president and CEO of the Craft and Hobby Association in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.
While there has always been a marriage of sorts between art and science, 3D printing takes that relationship even further and can be even more relevant in a world now being shaped by a focus on STEM.
The 3D printing process starts with a virtual design of the object to be made, which serves as
a blueprint, or a computer aided design, or CAD, file. The CAD file is made using a 3D modeling application or with a scanner that will copy an existing object into a digital format. The model is then divided into hundreds or thou- sands of horizontal layers utilizing slicing soft- ware in a process commonly referred to as "slic- ing." The slices are read by the printer and are recreated, layer by layer, so that a 3D object is
ultimately formed. The printing media can be any num- ber of materials. Plastic resins, metal, plastic fila- ments, and other substances are used, depending on the printer.
Desktop printers can now produce figurines, small gears, doll parts, mobile phone covers - just about anything a person's imagination can dream up. Hobbyists can explore the depths of their design abilities and produce finished mate- rials in real time.
Those who need a little help finding inspira- tion need only go online for do-it-yourself proj- ect ideas and tutorials on how to get started with 3D printing. While many at-home 3D printers don't produce high-quality pieces, the technol- ogy is changing and there are companies that will print 3D artwork or objects for a fee.
"It [3D printing] takes the lid off of what's possible, and provides a
really good bridge between technology and hands-on crafting,"


































































































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