While the pandemic has restricted us from doing many activities we like, household hobbies such as DIY, baking and crafts have become more popular. Now there’s a way to combine all of these skills to create something entirely new. What you will need, however, is a 3D printer.
3D printers will print anything made of plastic, quickly and in any shape you like. But there’s a lot they cannot do. You couldn’t 3D-print pasta shaped like your children’s favourite cartoon characters or make a pizza shaped like the logo of your football team – until now, that is. Our new research paper, published in Data in Brief, shows a simple way to re-engineer your 3D printer to create items made out of food or clay.
During the last few years, 3D printing has come out of science fiction, research laboratories and tech companies and landed within the reach of enthusiast hobbyists. That’s because the printers are becoming cheaper and easier to use. Several competing brands sell 3D printer assembly kits online for less than £300 and its feed materials, plastic filaments, for less than £20 a kilogram.
While 3D printers may sound like very complicated, futuristic machines, it’s actually quite easy to understand how they work. The software for controlling a 3D printer takes a 3D image and slices it into many 2D (flat) images. The printer, as instructed by the software, then “draws” these flat images on the top of one another using molten plastic as the ink. This pile of…