Nepean's 3D printing club has been around for over 5 years. Up until now, it has relied on members who own 3D printers to print whatever people want printed. However, as of this year, Nepean High School has its own brand new 3d printer. It lives in the library, next to the photocopier.
3D printers are machines that, as the name suggests, make plastic, real life objects based on 3D models that are created on a computer. Being able to make almost any shape relatively quickly has many applications. It has quite a lot of practical uses, such as making an object of a very specific size to fill a hole, making clips to seal bags, making a case for something (assuming it's small enough to fit in the printer), or even 3D printing a piece of a washing machine that's no longer being made! Due to how quickly you can make precise objects, compared to other methods, 3D printing is used heavily in the mechanical design industry. They allow engineers to quickly test a design without having to wait weeks for a far away factory to build it.
Of course, 3D printers can be used for much more than just prototyping and fixing things. If you play a tabletop role playing game, such as Dungeons and Dragons, or really anything else that requires small models, 3D printing could be for you. Need a goblin mini for an upcoming campaign? Want a custom piece for a board game? 3D printing has you covered. You can print whatever you want, assuming you can model it, or find a model of it. While the printer can't print in colour, our printer has white filament which makes it perfect for painting. You could print a keyring, a badge, or anything else that comes to mind. The possibilities are endless! Someone at Carleton University even managed to 3D print a bicycle!
The basic process of 3D printing something is as follows: Create a 3D model of the shape you want, which can be quite easy, if you're printing a basic shape and you know the dimensions, or quite hard if you need to make a complicated piece to fit in a very specific scenario. Or, you can find a model online that already fits your needs. Once you have a 3D model, figure out the best orientation to print it in. Due to gravity, a 3D printer can't print large overhangs, so you have to position your model in the orientation that is easiest for the printer. Finally, start it up and wait anywhere from half an hour to 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the print, and the object is made!
If you're interested in learning how to 3D print something, have something you want to print, or just want to learn more about 3D printers, the 3D printing club will be starting again very soon. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or club head Nate Berglas (email@example.com).