3D Printing is not really a new technology, but it’s been gaining a lot of steam in many different directions. 3D Printing techniques and technologies are currently being used and developed to print everything from human organ transplants, automobiles, as well as homes and buildings.

3D printing can be fun and empowering. Hobby 3D printers can be purchased between $300 and $1200 and the cost of materials is fairly low as well. A $25 spool of PLA plastic filament which can print up to 1000grams (1kg) of material goes a LONG way (literally!).

There are many different types of material that can be used for 3D printing from‘High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)’ to ‘Glow in the Dark PLA’ made from Polylactic Acid which is based on bio-degradable to ‘Laywood‘ which is imbued with actual wood fibers to give you a wood-like finish.

In this session we will take a look at Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printing and will use one in-class to print an object of the robot such as the phone holder sleeve designed in the previous class.

We will be using PLA for our 3D printed robot. Polylactic acid is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots or sugarcane. The printer we will use is a ‘Lulzbot Mini’ which I’ve found to be a great entry-level printer.