Dear Amy: What exactly is 3D printing and how does it work? — Alex, Joliet, Ill.
Dear Alex: When you print an image with an inkjet or laser printer, the image is printed in ink across the page, one line at a time, until it is complete. 3D printers do the same thing, except they print physical objects one layer at a time, using plastic or other materials.
Most 3D printers are found in industrial settings, but there are also 3D printers available for personal use. These home printers use spools or cartridges of plastic in different colors. The plastic is melted in the machine and then gradually layered to build a custom object. You can use software to design your own objects or buy patterns online from other designers. To learn more about 3D printing, check out 3D Printing for Kids at 3dprintingforkids.com/?page_id=11.
Designer Bernat Cuni has found a creative way to use 3D printing. His project Crayon Creatures brings children’s drawings to life by turning drawings into sculptures for display. To find out more about Crayon Creatures, visit 3dprintingindustry.com/2013/01/10/childrens-drawings-brought-to-life-with-3d-printing.
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