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“Additive manufacturing” is a term that you hear a lot in connection with 3D printing, it is a term that describes creating an object by building it, rather than cutting it out as you would cut from a sheet of metal or a sculpture from a piece of wood. This has many advantages such as reducing waste material which not only is kinder to the environment; it saves resources and costs too. You create only what you need and nothing more at a scaling to suit yourself.

Additive manufacturing works best for single objects rather than mass production, so it is useful to use at home or if you only want one or two items; for example if you are designing a plastic part to replace a damaged one. Instead of sending for the part and waiting for it to arrive you can design and print the object yourself.

3D printing also gives you the advantage of being able to scale what you do – before creating, for example, a large sculpture, you can create a small version and decide if you wish to go on to create the large version.

For children, there are many educational advantages. Creating fun objects gives them understanding of the use of design software and, for smaller children, something such as toy figures to take to school for “show and tell”. Older children can design artworks, customised mobile phone covers, jewellery and many other items. It’s also possible to build models with working parts and wearable items such as shoes for the more adventurous designer.

Check out some amazing designs here

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