Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is the technique of creating three-dimensional
solid items from a computer file. Additive manufacturing technologies are used to create 3D printed
objects. An object is built in an additive technique by laying down successive layers of material until
the object is complete. Each of these layers can be viewed as a cross-section of the item that has been
3D printing produces physical components using the digital images made through the process of 3D modelling. The products are printed in various materials, mainly PLA, PETG, ABS. The Makerspace primarily prints in PLA. Due to cost difference between 3D printing and other methods of
manufacturing, it is widely used as a method of prototyping. This means creating a physical demonstration to showcase an idea and that it is feasible before mass producing or producing in final material, which can include metal.
Three-dimensional (3D) models depict a physical body as a collection of points in three-dimensional space connected by geometric structures such as triangles, lines, curved surfaces, and so on. 3D models can be built manually in a CAD Software or using algorithms (procedural modelling), or by scanning since they are a collection of data (points and other information). Texture mapping can be used to further characterize their surfaces.
Sometimes we are seeking to model something that someone might have already modelled, or we
may just not be CAD proficient to create the models ourselves. Luckily, we have 100s of thousands of
models made available to us on the net.
Now that we have a basic understanding of 3D printing, let us further elaborate on the services that the MakerSpace offers for its clients.
We offer a 3D Printing service to all students and staff members of the University of Pretoria. It is also to offer expert advice in the design and printing of your request. This serves as a major support role to research departments across various faculties.
In terms of costing, the MakerSpace prints at R2.50 per gram of plastic used. The total amount is determined by our technicians once they have processed the given 3D model.
The Makerspace also offers the use of a 3D scanner, which seeks to make up for figures too difficult to remodel or are of a natural nature and need to preserved with their original textures and details. Please refer to our 3D Scanning section if you feel that this is the route you would like to take.