3D printing has opened up the doors for everyday people to enjoy the benefits of creating objects like never before. At the push of a few buttons, designs can be obtained online or created in the 3D printing software application. So, whether you’re a beginner looking for projects to start with, or a more advanced user looking to improve your skills, here are some benefits 3D printing can provide around the home.

Children’s toys

Birthdays and festive times of the year can be expensive. Children go through phases, and so a toy that is fashionable one minute can be left unused the next. 3D printing is perfect for families who want to get the most out of their children’s toys. You can print dolls and even kits where children can assemble parts in the style of a Kinect set. For existing toys, accessories can be printed, allowing the longevity of a toy to be extended. If a toy is damaged, measurements can be made and, using 3d printing software; a new replacement can be created.

Car modifications

Buying a new or even a pre-owned car can have its downsides. A desperately needed feature could be missing, leaving us lost for ideas or else forced to fork out for money for replacements. One such benefit of 3D printing in the household is the ability to create objects that fit perfectly inside our car. Change dispensers, sat-nav holders, and even sunglasses holders can be printed off. As long as they adhere to all safety regulations and are well-made, 3D printing designs are better than shop-bought products.

Drones

Enjoy personalising items to your taste? Maybe you have ideas on how to make a drone more aerodynamic? 3D printing can allow drone users to create their drones run more efficiently. Using stronger materials, such as polycarbonate, can make your drone lighter and robust, taking away the worries of picking up a beyond-repair drone. Low-cost drones are often made heavy using plastics, which can easily crack. Making simple changes using 3D printing technology can also be environmentally friendly. It can help you to save money by developing your current UAV or drone machine instead of rushing out to buy a new one. Just again, be aware of the UK drone laws to avoid being fined or persecuted.

Tips for staying safe using a 3D printer

Investing in a new 3D printing machine can be exciting, offering you the chance to create an object you’ve always dreamt about. But, behind these small but powerful 3D printing machines lurk all kinds of dangers. When electricity and high temperatures are involved, the risks could extend beyond your device. Staying safe should be the number one priority. But how can you keep your 3D printer running safely?

Regular maintenance

Checks to make sure all of your 3D printing parts are working well should be carried out regularly. Simply checking to make sure each component is free from filament clogs and that components are clean and tight can minimise any risk. Make sure wires are intact, and any wires near the underneath of the machine are free from damages. As 3D printing machines print at temperatures over 200 degrees, a simple movement of a hot end can catch a wire leading to an electrical short circuit.

Safety enclosures

Manufacturers do a great job at creating great 3D printing machines, and even low-cost devices can print amazing quality models. However, one downfall can sometimes be the safety aspect. Power units can sometimes be easy to access by small children, or users can easily come into contact with the power unit while setting up for a 3D printing job. Enclosures can help to combat this risk. You could either print one to cover the power unit or purchase an attachment to surrounding the whole machine.

Experimenting with 3D printed upgrades

Custom hot end holders or frames can look great on your 3D printing machine, but you should be cautious when using anything user created. Problems could lie within the STL files in the form of errors, which could result in your 3D printer making a dangerous move like skipping steps and coming into contact with the hotbed or crashing into the 3D printer frame. Always make sure you keep a close eye on any model you’re printing, especially if it’s for the first time.

Cybersecurity

Making your 3D printing machine fit into your home can be an exciting prospect. OctoPrint, which can be installed onto a Raspberry Pi, has enabled users to easily control devices at a push of a button when connected to their home network. You no longer need to be inside the same room to control your 3D printing machine, and together with a camera, you can view in real-time your prints to give you extra peace of mind that your device is running well.

Some 3D printing users have wanted to extend the range to control their machine outside their local network so they can print while away. Internet setting changes need to be made, like using a public network, increasing the risk of a cybersecurity attack substantially. Changing to a less secure system can allow unauthorised access to your network and control over your machine. Staying within your home network to minimise the risk is the best option, and when not using Octoprint, make sure the software is turned off.

Taking on board these small tips will help you to enjoy your exciting journey of 3D printing with complete peace of mind that you, your machine, and your business/family can stay safe.

Photo: 3D printed bust by Gastev licensed under Creative Commons 4.0