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Handsome Prints

There is so much more you can create with a 3D printer than just weird geometric trinkets and parts for artificial limbs.

If you've ever longed for your own CNC machine, a 3D printer can deliver similar functionality in some ways. But there's a catch: you can only work in plastic. You start with a digital model, such as a CAD drawing, that you can download from one of many online libraries or design yourself. You can also commission someone to create the design to your specifications, or even use a 3D scanner to create a model of an existing object.

After you upload this to your printer, it creates the shape by extruding molten plastic filamentthrough a nozzle. This is arranged in super-thin layers that are stacked together from the bottom up. Read our detailed guide to learn more about the process.

So what’s a 3D printer actually good for?

Spare parts for damaged items, or new components in custom colours.

Specialised elements such as gears, propellor blades, casings and linkages.

Complex, interlocking shapes and moving parts inside enclosed objects.

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