What is a 3D printer?
3D printers are used to print 3-dimensional objects from 3D models. In the Makerspace, we have several printers, including: Voron2, Prusa MK3S, Dremel Digilab 3D45, and FlashForge Adventurer4.

How does a 3D printer work?
The most common 3D printers are fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. They print objects from the bottom-up by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament. The filament becomes soft and moldable when it melts and cools as it hardens. The result of extruding many layers of filament on top of one other is a solid object.

What are the types of plastic filament used for FDM printing?
PLA, ABS, and ASA are our most commonly used printing filaments.

PLA is a plant-based plastic that comes in a wide variety of colors and translucencies. It is more flexible than ABS and is generally preferred for hobbyists. We use PLA with our machines. 

ABS is a petroleum-based plastic with a higher melting point than PLA, which makes it better (stronger) for printing machine parts. It is generally the preferred plastic for engineers and professional applications.

ASA is similar to ABS, but has additional qualities that make it is highly UV and weather resistant, and thus is suitable for use in applications outdoors.

Where can I obtain 3D models to print?
Thingiverse, printables.com, and GrabCAD are examples of repositories that offer thousands of 3D models available (often for free) for instant download.

What are the most common file types used for 3D printing?
The most typical file formats used for 3D printing are “.stl” and the newer “.3mf”.