Modifying your own 3dimensional objects

One of the trends at this moment is the 3D printing technique. This is also called Additive Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping or Rapid Manufacturing. In ”Modifying your own 3dimensional objects” we’re going to look at the 101 on 3D printing.

This work as follows: you design a 3D digital design file called .STL, this file you sent to the 3D printer and the printer prints this file out. The 3D printer divides the .STL file into layers and those layers are stacked upon each other. If this production technique sounds familiar you’re right, because digital printing exist for over twenty five years.  Manufactures already make use of digital printing on a large scale. From car manufactures to custom marketing printing.

However, digital 3D printing is now more available for the ‘’average’’ consumer, because the quality of machines and services are risen, the software is more developed and more importantly the average costs are lower. This development got their kick start with the growing community of DIYers and MIYers,  the rise of IT specialists and the injection of daily technology in our lives. Because we can choose where our attention goes, we now can develop our own customized design for not only our presentations and marketing, but now also our personalized objects like bubble-heads etc. See Full Printed by nueveojos.

In the professional creative business, like: artists, architects, fashion designers and  product designers, people experiment with a wide range of materials and sizes to produce an original series of products/prototypes or other objects. This requires specialist-  software and/or 3D printer. For example architects and designers use specialized 3D printing software solutions like: Rhinoceros, AutoCAD of SolidWorks.

Objects can be custom printed at a lower costs, precise with a variety of materials.

At the moment this industry is still in development, but there are already a wide range of available 3D printing materials. This list goes from plastic, metal, nylon, paper chocolate, ceramic and even wood and glass. And because of this variety many industries make use of this ‘’new’’ found invention. On one hand we have the  artists, designers, small business owners and of course the individual consumer aka ‘’hobbyist’’.

It makes a great way for current small startups. Because you can print for low cost a Marquette, model, gadget etc. Services like Shapeways, Materialise or Sculpteo offer you possibility to make your design a reality. For example Shapeways has halls with 3D printers in New York city and can produce five million 3D objects. On the other hand you have the professionals, scientists and medical world for experimenting.

Scientist of the American based NASA space station are experimenting with the possibility of 3D printers in space. Because objects can then be created in space. Meaning that objects can be created for emergency purposes , experiments etc. One of the biggest challenges is that the machine airtight is. The company Airbus is working on a complete 3D printed airplane, that will be completed around 2050. These small individualist 3D printers are ideal for (luxurious) brands, because they can personalize their product and objects. Designers can shape their work in a accurate way for a specific customer request.

In the medical field scientist experiment with skin tissue, blood vessels and plastic bones for reconstruction. This means that average costs for a replacement arm or hip can lowered. With the 3D printer comes plusses for the environment, because physical objects can printed on demand with the transportable digital .STL files. These objects will be printed locally and thus no object transport costs and storage can be minimized  with printed on demand. Meaning a lowered waste and surplus with those objects and that is good for our planet. Hopefully, if we’re going to 3D print massively scientist develop environmental friendly or recyclable materials.


Today, they can 3D print custom prosthetic’s. In the near future it will be skin.

With those diverse materials and printed objects you have different 3D print techniques. At the moment there are 9 known techniques. Keep in mind that not all of them are widely available as a desktop 3D printer. Even available printers can between a couple of hundreds to thousands of dollars. The more known are listed below.

  1. Multi Jet Printer prints layer on layer with polymer material on a platform. The material exists of minuscule drips and this becomes with UV light hard directly when it comes on the other surface.
  2. Color Jet Printer uses a powder material that is being glued together with a binding material. The result is that object a softer is like a plaster.
  3. Stereolithografic uses liquid plastic and were the laser beam hits the surface this liquid plastic becomes hard. This works layer on layer and the object and the platform lowers itself in a basin.
  4. Fused Deposition Modeling uses thermoplastic material in a thin, long wire. The 3D object is being created layer on layer. Most desktop 3D printers are FDM.
  5. Selective Laser Sintering uses a thermo-  metal or plastic powder and puts layer on layer. A laser melts the powder on place, this becomes hard and gets stuck to the other previous layers.


  • Chabbell, B. , Your Pill Is Printing: FDA Approves First 3-D-Printed Drug,Internet, 4 August  2015,(
  • Butler, M. B. ,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Successfully BioPrinting Blood Vessels, Internet, 4   December 2015, (
  • Butler M, Bridget,LLNL Researchers Isolate Enzymes with 3D Printing to Convert Methane to Methanol, Harnessing & Controlling Emissions, Internet, 16 June 2016,, (
  • Aoki, S. , Now you too can be a Lego minifigure, Internet, 8 January 2016, (
  • Robbins, R. ,The dream of 3-D-printed organs rest on keeping cells alive. A new advance could help, Internet, 15 February 2016, ( )
  • Prigg, M. ,The gas powered 3D printed ‘Lego’ supercar that can go from 0-60 in TWO seconds, Internet, 24 June 2015, (
  • Molitch-Hou, M. ,Researchers Successfully Implant Artificial Blood Vessels Made with 3D Printing, Internet, 2 November 2015, (
  • Unkown, Hoe kan ik zelf aan de slag met 3D-printen?, Internet, consulted on February 2017,(
  • Unknown, Printing skin Cells on burn wounds, Internet, 1 April 2016, (
  • Weinberg, M. , What’s the Deal with Copyright and 3 D Printing?, Internet PDF, 29 January 2013, (
  • Yam, K. , Young ‘Star Wars’ Fan Gets 3-D Printed Prosthetic Arm From Clone Troopers, Internet, 15 January 2015, (

More information on 3D printing

  • Examples images about 3D printed objects across diverse industries:
  • Examples (free) 3 D printing software: (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (, (nl/products/autocad/overview)
  • Examples of ready to 3D print .STL files:(com), (
  • Examples of 3D printers, pencils or printers: (, (
  • Examples of 3D printer services: (, (, (, (