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What can I use 3D printer for?

3D Printers can make a wide variety of products and the type of 3D printer you buy will depend on what you are interested in making. For example, you can make toy figures or personalized products such as smartphone cases.  Other items you can make might be parts for a machine that are no longer in production or for an appliance for which parts are no longer available. A 3D printer can also be used to make 3D visualizations of construction projects or prototypes of new products. They can also be used in the medical fields such as dentistry.



Fused Filament Fabrication: A strand of plastic melted by a heating element and extruded by a printing head (an extruder) through a nozzle. Also called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM.) FDM is a trademark of Stratasys.

FFF/FDM printers are the most widely available and affordable printers.

Extruder: A print head designed to lay down extruded melted plastic.

Heated Bed: Stops the printed objects from bending, warping, or detaching form the surface.

Frame: The support structure of the printer. They should be rigid and precisely manufactured. A good firm frame minimizes vibrations and allows for faster print with minimal quality issues

Stepper Motors: Provide the correct movement in all axes, including the extruder and heat bed. The advantage of stepper motors is the fact that the steps can be precisely controlled.

Mainboard: The electronic components that control the printer.

What can I use an FFF/FDM 3D Printer for?

These printers can be used for making functional, mechanical parts and prototypes.

What is the basic print medium?

The basic print medium is called filament (strand), usually on a spool and comes in different sizes, typically 1.75mm and 2.85mm.

Are there other materials available?

There is Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA). This is a liquid material (resin) cured by either UV light, an  LED panel or a DLP projector.

There is also Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) -Using a fine powder, the material is compacted and formed, not melted. Much more expensive to use.

Slicing : Turning the 3D project into machine code called G-code.

How do I select the best 3D printer? The best is to ask some questions.

  • Define Purpose: Clearly outline the purpose of the 3D printer, whether it's for prototyping, hobbyist projects, or professional production.
  • Consider Build Volume: Evaluate the size of prints you plan to create and ensure the printer's build volume meets your requirements.
  • Material Compatibility: Check the compatibility with different filament types (PLA, ABS, etc.) based on your project needs.
  • Printer Type: Decide between Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Stereolithography (SLA) based on your preference for layer resolution and material options.
  • Printer Features: Look for features such as heated beds, dual extruders, and auto-leveling systems that align with your printing needs.
  • Ease of Use: Consider user-friendliness, ease of assembly, and the availability of customer support or community forums for troubleshooting.
  • Budget: Determine your budget range and find a printer that offers the best features within that financial scope.
  • Read Reviews: Research and read user reviews to gauge the reliability and performance of the chosen 3D printer model.
  • Check Software Compatibility: Ensure that the 3D printer is compatible with popular slicing software and has user-friendly firmware.
  • Future Upgradability: Assess the potential for future upgrades or modifications to keep the printer relevant as your skills and projects evolve.
  • Compare Brands: Compare reputable brands, considering their track record for reliability, customer support, and product warranties.


Where can I find 3D models to print?

There are several on-line sources available that have free downloads:


Is there 3D Modeling Software available? – This is a good software for beginners. Lots of tutorials, guides and tips.

Autodesk Fusion 360 – a more profession tool for making more complex objects.

Blender:  an open-source 3D modeling tool available for Windows, MAC, and Linux. Not necessarily for the beginner, but well liked by experienced 3D printer users.


How do I choose the best filament to use?

The most frequently used filaments are PLA, PETG, ABS an ASA.

For a beginner, the best and most widely used is PLA.

What are the Pro’s and Con’s of PLA?

PLA (Polylactic Acid) filaments are like the superheroes of 3D printing. Picture them as the Captain America shield in the realm of filaments. PLA is a biodegradable and environmentally friendly thermoplastic derived from renewable resources like corn starch or sugarcane. What makes PLA stand out in the 3D printing universe is its ease of use, making it the go-to choice for beginners. It melts at a lower temperature compared to some other filaments, reducing the chances of warping and making the whole printing process smoother than a well-oiled machine. Plus, PLA emits a sweet, candy-like aroma when printing, turning your workspace into a fragrant haven. So, not only are you crafting cool things with PLA, but you're also doing it with a material that's kind to Mother Earth. It's like printing with a sprinkle of eco-magic!



Easy to print – Produces a nice finish.

Does not produce an unpleasant odor while printing.

Low thermal expansion – doesn’t warp and sticks to the surface while printing.

Many colors available

Cost effective material.


Can be hard/brittle

Not temperature resistant -can start to soften around 60 dg C.

Not very weather resistant.


PETG filament, short for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol, is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in 3D printing. Known for its durability, transparency, and ease of use, PETG combines the desirable properties of both PLA (Polylactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filaments. It exhibits high impact resistance, chemical resistance, and low shrinkage during printing, making it suitable for a variety of applications, including prototyping, functional parts, and mechanical components. PETG is valued for its balanced mechanical properties, as it maintains its strength and flexibility over a broad temperature range, and it is also FDA-approved for food contact, ensuring its safety for certain applications. Additionally, PETG is known for its low moisture absorption, reducing the risk of filament degradation and improving long-term print quality.

ABS Filament

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) filaments are the workhorses of 3D printing, tough and resilient, much like the superheroes of the filament world. ABS is a thermoplastic polymer known for its durability and impact resistance, making it ideal for creating sturdy prints that can withstand the trials of everyday use. It boasts a higher melting point compared to PLA, making ABS prints more heat-resistant and suitable for applications where a bit of toughness is required. Additionally, ABS is versatile in post-processing; it can be easily sanded and smoothed to achieve a polished finish. While ABS may emit a slightly stronger odor during printing, its reliability and versatility have solidified its place as a go-to filament for functional and robust 3D prints. If you're looking to create prints that can take a beating and keep on going, ABS is your go-to material!


ASA Filament

ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) filaments are the unsung heroes of outdoor 3D printing, combining durability and UV resistance for prints that can brave the elements like champions. ASA is a thermoplastic similar to ABS but with enhanced weather-resistant properties, making it an excellent choice for outdoor applications. It stands up to prolonged sun exposure without succumbing to the degrading effects of UV rays, maintaining both its structural integrity and color vibrancy over time. ASA's robust nature and resistance to harsh environmental conditions make it a preferred material for creating 3D-printed items like outdoor signage, functional prototypes, or components that need to endure the elements. So, if your 3D printing project requires a filament that can withstand the sunshine and rain, ASA is your go-to material for durable and weather-resistant prints