How to get a design 3D printed

3D printing technology means you don't need a factory to build a physical product. We'll show you how to take your idea from paper to prototype
Aug 3, 2020 • 6 minute read
Ruchi Bhargava @RuchiBhargava1
Technical Co-pilot
Cover photo for How to get a design 3D printed

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3D printing has democratized the world of manufacturing

Once upon a time, manufacturing a product required so much resource investment, that only the large corporations could dare to do so. Unless you had the financial might of a business behind you, you couldn't dream of creating a new product.

Cut to 2020, and the situation has changed dramatically.

Enter 3D rendering and printing, one of the most promising and revolutionary technological innovations of the 21st century. This marvel of modern engineering has made manufacturing a simple enough task. Using 3D printing technology, even small startups and individual inventors can get their designs into the real world.

Interested? It would be strange if you're not. That's why, to help you jump onto the 3D printing bandwagon, today we're going to give you the complete lowdown on getting a 3D design printed. After going through this post, you'll be all set to bring your ideas to three-dimensional reality.

Let's get going.

What are 3D renderings?

First off let's clear the air on what 3D renderings actually are. 3D renderings are a form of computer-aided design generation process that utilizes specialized software to render three-dimensional models of objects.

Sounds like mouthful? Well, let's make it easier. Simply put, 3D rendering is a method in which you use computer software to create 3D models of real-world objects.

The advantage of 3D rendering lies in the fact that by blending your creativity and 3D modeling you can create 3D designs that are not only realistic but can also be rendered using 3D printing.

Now that we have a clear idea of what 3D renderings are, let's take a closer look at the different purposes that they can be used for.

What are 3D renderings used for?

3D renderings have effectively changed the way we look at manufacturing and design forever. Engineering drawings and three-dimensional modeling, which were earlier the sole purview of experts such as engineers and designers, have now come into the hands of the general populace.

This has opened the doors to a wide number of applications such as the following:

  • 3D manufacturing and designing
  • Industrial component designing, such as machinery and auto parts
  • Ergonomic renderings of products
  • 3D animations and art
  • 3D printing

The above were only some of the many uses to which this rather marvelous technology can be put to. Using 3D rendering, small businesses and innovators can work to bring their own inventions to life.

But the truth remains that 3D rendering and printing still require a certain learning curve. And this takes time as well as a certain amount of financial investment.

Many small businesses that operate on tight schedules and equally tight budgets may not be able to utilize the benefits properly.

What, then, is the solution?

Hiring a freelancer for 3D rendering

Yep, you got that right. Hiring freelancers is often the best way to get your 3D designs into the real world. By employing freelancers you get all the expertise and know-how that comes from professional designers, at a fraction of the cost.

In fact, hiring freelance designers is often the best route to take when you want to get a 3D design printed. The following are some of the advantages of hiring freelancers for the purpose.

Niche expertise

Even if you are an expert at what you do, then chances are you're not really adept at 3D rendering and printing. These are essentially niche disciplines that require a certain amount of practice to master.

And that's where freelance 3D rendering experts come in. These professionals have the requisite expertise that's essential to get the design done. Also, employing freelancers brings a certain amount of flexibility to the job that is sure to work in your favor.

Reduced responsibility

This is perhaps one of the most attractive benefits of hiring freelancers. If you try to carry out the entire 3D rendering process in-house, then you'll most likely need to invest in training and equipment.

With freelancers, you don't have to do anything. You only need to provide the freelancers with the required specifications, and they are going to take care of the job for you.

Professional freelancers usually have their own equipment using which they can complete the 3D rendering process. This makes them particularly suited for your purpose.

Iterative development benefits

Getting a 3D rendering right at one go is definitely not an easy task. Most likely, you'll require several iterations before getting the job done.

Freelancers can help you with this as well. By creating multiple versions of your design, a freelancer can allow you to garner the benefits of an iterative design methodology.

Plus, with freelancers, you have the freedom of ordering multiple revisions of the design, until it turns out just right.

Global talent pool

With full-time employees, you're limited only to local talent. However, with freelancers, you potentially have access to a global talent pool.

Also, you can take advantage of the difference between time zones to speed up your work process. This essentially means you'll have people working on your project even while you sleep!

So, now we know what 3D renderings are, and how to get them printed using freelancers. But what about those of you who want to go solo? And even if you don't, wouldn't it be a good idea to know the tools that are used to create a 3D rendering?

Don't worry! For we've got you covered there as well. Just move onto the next section and read all about it.

Software tools used for 3D rendering

It doesn't take a genius to realize that 3D rendering is a computer-aided process. There are a large number of software tools that can be used to get the job done. In this section, we are going to take a brief look at the top software tools used for the purpose.

Tinkercad

First on our list is Tinkercad, a web-based software tool that's perfect for both professionals and newbies alike. Using Tinkercad the user can create stunning 3D renders for industrial as well as personal projects. What's more, the software is fully compatible with 3D printers.

AutoCAD

The most well known of all computer-aided design software, AutoCAD offers you unmatched capabilities and opportunities. Perfect for creating highly detailed designs, AutoCAD is the premier software that helps you create professional-level 3D renders for direct printing. The catch: it's paid software.

Solidworks 3D CAD

Another paid software, Solidworks comes in three different flavors: standard, professional and premium. Catering to different levels of designing expertise, Solidworks can allow users to hasten the design process and create powerful 3D prototypes.

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is yet another free software that can be used to develop 3D renders. The software is particularly targeted towards mechanical engineering applications and industrial product design.

But that's enough about the software part of things. What about getting the real product in hand?

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

Printing your 3D render

It goes without saying that 3D printing has changed the way Manufacturing is viewed. Using the process, small businesses and individuals can effectively produce workable prototypes that meet the design standards.

For making your own 3D model, you'd need a 3D printer, the device that performs the job of 3D printing. 3D printers, like regular printers, come in multiple makes and models based on the features and capabilities.

The 3D printing process starts with the creation of the 3D render. This design, which is delivered in the form of a digital file, is then sent to the printer.

And that's where the magic happens.

3D printers typically use synthetics as a raw material in the printing process. There is, however, a significant difference between regular manufacturing and 3D printing.

3D printing is known as an additive process. This means here, the 3D model is created adding layers of materials over each other in succession. This is in contrast to traditional Manufacturing which is subtractive in nature.

Apart from being a fast and cost-effective process, 3D printing has several advantages such as the variety of building materials available.

The only point of concern is that 3D printers don't exactly come cheap, and if you plan to print the design yourself you'll have to invest in one.

A better plan might be to appoint a freelancer to get the job done for you. Professional freelancers who work in the domain usually have their own devices and can get the job done at a fraction of what it would cost you to buy the printer.

Final words

With that, now you're ready to begin designing your very own physical product. Choose to go with a freelancer or take the solo route, but remember to let your imagination fly and creativity flow.

So, what're you still reading this for? Go and get your hands dirty and have some 3D fun!

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