What do you need to get started with 3D printing? The most important piece of equipment is, of course, a 3D printer.
But do you also need a computer? No, you don’t need a computer to use a 3D printer. All you need is a 3D model or design file. You can create these files using a 3D modeling program or you can find them online. Once you have your file, you can send it to the 3D printer and it will print it out for you.
Moreover, the majority of the 3d printers have an SD card slot or a USB port that is used to read files and start printing them. So if you have a computer, you can design your model on it and then transfer the file to the printer. However, if you don’t have a computer, you can still use a 3D printer by finding ready-made files through an SD card and printing them out.
Computer requirements for 3D printing:
The computer is used to design the models that will be printed. Hence it must have enough power to deal with various design tools. The 3D printer will also need to be connected to the computer to receive the design files. The type of connection will depend on the 3D printer model, but most commonly it is done via USB.
So in short, a computer for your 3D printer is really useful, and it must meet certain requirements to be able to design the models and send them to the printer. Now that we know that a computer is necessary for a 3D printer.
Let’s explore what kind of requirements do computer need:
Processor: You can get by with an entry-level processor, such as the Intel Core i3, for simple designs. For more complex designs, you’ll need a faster processor such as the Intel Core i7. However, also ensure that these are quad-core processors and offer a minimum of 2.2 to 3GHz of speed.
RAM: For simple designs, 4GB of RAM will be enough. But for more complex designs, you’ll need 8GB to 16GB or more of RAM.
Storage: To store your designs, you’ll need a hard drive with at least 500GB of storage space. For more complex designs, you’ll need a larger hard drive or even an external storage device.
Video card: You don’t need a powerful video card for 3D printing. Any basic video card will do.
Graphic card: A 3D printer requires a powerful graphics card to function. Some of the recommended graphics cards include the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and the AMD Radeon R9 290X.
Operating system: Choose 64-bit versions of Windows OS. Make sure the computer has either three OS versions: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, and Windows 10
Modeling software: For 3D printing, you’ll need a 3D modeling program such as Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Maya, or Blender.
Slicing software: Once you have your model ready, you’ll need to slice it into smaller pieces so that the 3D printer can print it. For this, you can use a slicing program such as Cura or Simplify3D.
Now that we know the requirements for both hardware and software, let’s take a look at some of the best computers for 3D printing.
1. Dell inspiration 3471 Desktop:
If you’re looking for an affordable computer for 3D printing, the Dell Inspiron 3471 is a great option. It’s powered by an Intel Core i5-9400 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. It also has 9th gen processor which is very powerful and helps the 3D printing process. This desktop also has an integrated graphics card, which is good enough for basic 3D printing.
2. Asus ROG Strix G15 Gaming laptop:
Usually, gaming laptops feature powerful hardware that is perfect for 3D printing. The Asus ROG Strix G15 is one of the best gaming laptops for 3D printing. With 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, it is powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H processor. It also has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card, which is powerful enough for even the most complex 3D designs.
3. Apple MacBook Pro:
In case you’re looking for a laptop that is powerful enough for 3D printing and also has a sleek design, the Apple MacBook Pro is a great option. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and comes with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also has an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics card, which is powerful enough for 3D printing.
Merits of 3D printing using a computer:
There are many benefits of 3D printing using a computer. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it allows for the
1. Creation of three-dimensional objects:
With traditional printing, documents and images are printed on a two-dimensional surface. However, 3D printing uses computer-aided design (CAD) to create three-dimensional objects from a digital file. This allows you to print objects with more complex shapes and details than what is possible with traditional printing.
2. Increased accuracy:
Computer-based 3D printing is substantially more accurate than conventional printing techniques. It follows that you can design items with complex patterns and finely detailed features.
3. Increased speed:
3D printing is generally faster because the entire manufacturing process can be automated using computer software. So it is not necessary to create physical prototypes, which can save a lot of time and money.
4. Greater flexibility:
When you 3D print using a computer, you can make changes to the design of an object at any time during the printing process. You may quickly and simply alter things to suit your unique requirements.
5. Increased durability:
As 3D printing using a computer creates objects from a digital file, there is no need for physical prototypes. This means that your objects will be more durable as there is no risk of them being damaged during the manufacturing process.
6. Lower costs:
Because you don’t need to buy pricey materials or specialist equipment, 3D printing can be less expensive than conventional techniques. In addition, the costs of shipping and handling are often lower with 3D printing.
7. Environmental friendliness:
Doing 3d printing using a computer can help you be more eco-friendly. First, using a digital file means there is no need to use resources like paper or ink. Second, 3D printing often uses less energy than traditional manufacturing methods. Finally, you can recycle your 3D-printed objects when you’re done with them.
Even as technology gets more affordable and widely available, 3D printing is becoming more and more accessible. Today, 3D printers may be found in some homes, schools, and even libraries. This essentially means that anyone may use this technology and make things on their computer.
3D printing can be a fun and rewarding experience. It’s a great way to express your creativity and make objects that are unique to you. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about new technology and how it can be used in fun and interesting ways.
Using 3D printing is a terrific way to rapidly and easily construct complicated, one-of-a-kind products. Since it doesn’t use resources like paper or ink, it is also an environmentally sustainable method of production. Your things can be created using computer software, and then printed using a 3D printer.
However, there are various specifications for your computer that must be met, including the recommended operating system, graphic card, etc. Without these requirements, your 3D printer may not work correctly.
No, you do not need a special printer to print in 3D. Any printer that supports 3D printing will work.
To print a 3D model, you will need a file that contains the model. The most common file format for 3D printing is STL. Other common file formats include OBJ, AMF, and 3MF.
Yes, you can use a laptop for a 3D printer, but you will need to connect the printer to the laptop to do so. The connection can be made through a USB cable, or over a network.
Nathan is a professional printer writer which is a part of TechnofyTrends. I have done my master’s in Printing Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I have written several articles on printers, and I am always looking to provide the latest information on printers. Meet our team