Page 8 - October 2017
P. 8

|  3-D printing |                                    |  Ron Watson  (6955)  |

             ven though I have retired       research and found that, as with anything
             from front line printing and    new, as it becomes more popular, the
       Ebookbinding, I still have            price will drop. My fi rst thoughts were
       an interest in how machinery and      about the machines that might be
       techniques are developing within the   feasible for our members to consider. The
       industry, which is why I attend the   cheapest would cost around £250, which
       various shows to see the latest designs   I thought could be an option. Not so.
       and applications. Another way of keeping   Talking to the person in the shop, who
       up is to subscribe to the trade magazines.  was a Science Graduate, he said that in
         A recent issue of one magazine, Print   order to produce anything that could be
       Monthly, had a small article about the   used as I hoped, you would need to spend
       use of 3D printers, those that build   several thousand pounds.
          “If you are interested in pursuing this
       up almost anything from a ribbon of   Then there was
       plastic. The article, which is re-printed
           technique, there are several problems
       elsewhere in these pages, gives an
       indication of what
       might       you would have to consider.”                     the software.





                                             and explained how the printer builds up
                                  be
                                               Also, there is a minimum size for the
                      possible. Naturally I   the block.  He showed me his system
           started to imagine how this could be   nozzle that extrudes the plastic. Then
       used by our members, so decided to look   there is another method which uses a
       further into what was involved. There   laser. The basic method uses a series
       was a small shop around the corner from   of layers, laid one on top of previous
       where I live, so I went off  there and had   one, until you have the fi nal block, You
       a look at the six printers he had installed   will need to sand it down to remove the
       and discussed what I had in mind. Now I   ridges that are caused by each layer and
       think I can follow some technical aspects   that is after a small block, approximately
       of some techniques, but the more this   one inch square, had taken a couple
       discussion went on, I realised that this   hours to produce. While time may not
       was not going to be as easy as I fi rst   be that important, the time to smooth
       thought.                              the fi nal result and ensure the printing
         If you are interested in pursuing this   surface was perfectly fl at would seem to
       technique, there are several problems   be a major area of concern.
       you would have to consider. One is      The more I looked into this subject,
       the various types of material that are   the more I thought I would leave it to
       available for forming the block, some   someone else to solve the details of
       of which produce fumes: they range    making it work. If any member wishes to
       from plastic through to metal and even   follow this project, they could contact the
       wood. Then there are the 3D printers   company in the article.
       themselves. I conducted some basic
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