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Tech Tip
by Brad Appleby
Appleby Arts

3D Printers

3D printers have been around for a while but at a cost that was out of reach for the average person. That is beginning to change.

Let’s start with the top of the line printer from Z Corporation found at Their printers start at about $14,900 and go up from there. They have a color 3D printer that is out of this world. Not only does it print in color, but it can print working parts. It can print an adjustable wrench that will work right out of the printer. If you go to and search “Zcorp wrench” you will see how it’s done using a 3D scanner and the 3D printer.

If you search “Zcorp” on youtube you will find hundreds of items printed by the Zcorp 3D printer. This printer can print almost anything you want. It prints layer by layer to build the 3D object. It even prints on a layer of powder so moving parts can move when it is done printing. Yes, it can print a bolt with a nut on it and when it is printed you can unscrew the nut.

MakerBot is a 3D printer that is a DIY (Do It Yourself) project, or you can buy one complete. Find it at starting at $1,299 for the DIY version and $2,500 for the assembled version.  These are the cheapest starter 3D printers on the market right now. This printer uses plastic wire and melts it, and then builds your object from the bottom up. It comes with everything you need to print an object. The newest model allows you to download a 3D object from Thingiverse and put it on a memory clip, then place the memory clip in the MakerBot and print the object.  Go to and search “Makerbot” and you will find lots of videos about this printer. Go to to see a great video by a kid talking about his 3D printer.

Thingiverse is a website that people from around the world are using to put 3D objects online for you to use for free. Go to and take a look at some of the great ideas people are coming up with.

To learn more about this subject and other Tech Tip subjects, contact Brad at or call (702) 294-1392.

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