I’ve always wanted a 3D printer. Never really know what I would do with it but it was a piece of fun looking tech that allowed my imagination to run wild.

I was lucky enough to meet up with Andrew of Marshland 3D who took me around his 3D printers, showed me some of the jobs he had done and generally made 3D printing look even cooler than I could have imagined.

Let me do a quick recap for those not up to speed with 3D printing. Essentially it’s a printer that prints in layers, and over hundreds of print layers gives you a 3-dimensional object. Materials vary but are mostly a plastic type base which is melted in the printing nozzle and layered onto the object.

3D printing is exceptionally good at doing rapid prototyping or once off projects because you can design the model using software and print it relatively inexpensively when compared to large scale molds. If you have an error you simply adjust the model on the software and reprint. Simple and quick.

While walking around Marshlands office and seeing all the different models it became patently obvious that 3D printing could do just about anything, and it could do it rather well. Toys, to lamps, to car clips, to boxes, to models, to sculptures and beyond. There were very few things the 3D printer couldn’t do and that to me was rather exciting.

There was another side of the 3D printer, replicating existing objects. How exciting, another gadget! This time it was a laser scanner that could scan an object and create a rendering directly into the 3D modeling which would allow you to edit the 3D rendering and print it with a rather good level of accuracy.

Now, having seen a 3D printer in action I would definitely say if you have a large or small project that needs something made that is quite specialized then a 3D printer could be a huge help. I’m going to use it every time I need a casing made for one of my new IoT devices or a box for my retro gamer. I even suggested my dad get his ideas 3D printed.