3D Printing For All Technology Savvy Photographer

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Along with being their most prized possession, a camera is the most essential tool in a photographer’s arsenal. But a good printer is also a vital requirement for doing justice to the photographs. Well, the task of choosing the right one for printing your photographs just got a lot more complicated. The new 3D printers are all the rage in Europe and have already begun arriving to our part of the world.
3D Printing

How does 3D Printing work?
There are many different types and applications of the latest 3D printing technologies. But the essence of it all remains the same, no matter how complicated the technology. All 3D printers create three dimensional objects by printing it out layer after layer till the entire object is completely printed. The excessive paper or printing material is then trimmed around it to create the perfect 3-dimensional object. These layers are actually thin slices of the horizontal cross-section of the object being printed.

Imagine a cake with multiple layers being created one layer at a time until it successfully achieves its final shape.

3D printing can have multiple implications for photography. But the best one by far is giving your customers a full-color, miniature model of theirs to carry away instead of just the boring pictures!

It Begins with a Digital File
CAD or Computer Aided Design files are best for creating models of objects that have to be printed in 3D. You can even scan objects into CAD programs using a 3D scanner. These programs create hundreds of thousands of horizontal slices of the design of the object that the printer can easily understand and interpret onto paper.

The 3D printer reads this file and continues to generate each layer precisely to specification and design. As the layers are produced, they combine together with no hint of the layering discernible to the naked eye, resulting in one 3-dimensional object.
3D Printer
Off to the 3D Printer
If you have seen the current 2D inkjet printers, then you are already somewhat familiar with how these work. Already available in the market, these 3D printers are just like the 2D ones although with an additional axis.  A kind of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer deposits small drops of soft, melted material carefully through a nozzle, forming each layer as it goes. Another kind is the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) printer that builds up the object in a bed of powdered material by a scanning laser beam that combines fragments of the powder together. These are the two technologies among several others which are already widely available in Europe.

3D Photo Printing Service
Perfect for pioneers in the field of photography!
It is no secret that 3D printing is the one of biggest emerging technologies, all set to rock our 2013. 3D printers are being developed for use at home; 3D projects have become a crowd-funding success, tools and machines used for 3D printing are getting cheaper by the minute, and every one and their photographer is getting in on the 3D craze.
Printing Process

In fact, 3D printing for the masses has already been implemented in…. you guessed it, Japan!

Actually, these are just 3D printed “figurines”, a sort of mini-me’s if you will. They come in to get their picture taken, and leave with pint-sizes copies of themselves, thanks to 3D printing technology.

And since everyone from Fujifilm to Kodak is getting in on the action, it’s only a matter of time until it becomes a good way to make a living State-side as well. Despite all the optimism attached to 3D printing, it still remains to be seen whether 3D “photo booths” will propel the technology into the “Most Wanted Technologies”. But isn’t the idea great for brides and grooms to be? I mean, who wouldn’t want exact little copies of themselves to adorn their wedding cakes? Totally adorable!

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