A 3D printer gives you the power to create tools, toys, parts and nearly anything else you can imagine. Sam's Club® carries 3D printing machines and scanners that give you everything you need to fuel your creativity. You'll also find plenty of 3D printing supplies to keep your machine running smoothly.
Understanding 3D Printers
A 3D printer creates objects using either fused deposition modeling or plastic jet printing. Both options rely on heat and extrusion of plastic to create the desired object, though most home 3D printers use fused deposition modeling. These printers heat a thermoplastic filament to its melting point and then extrude it through nozzles so that it can print in layers. A 3D printer continues layering the plastic filament until the printed object is complete.
A 3D printer relies on computer-aided design (CAD) files for creating each project. The file for each object you want to print has to be converted into the proper format for the printer. After that, the onboard computer converts the object's dimensions into coordinates that tell the 3D printer the exact size and shape of the item you're creating.
A 3D printer requires thermoplastic filaments for creating each project. These filaments come in a variety of colors, helping you to create your own unique items. Some models use polylactic acid, which is a biodegradable option that is environmentally friendly. Acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene is another popular filament that is widely used. This oil-based plastic filament provides increased durability that is ideal for daily-use items.
A 3D scanner uses lasers to capture the exact dimensions of an object. The lasers travel over the item and create point clouds that provide a digital representation of the item's surface. From there, 3D scanners use a variety of computer programs to create CAD files for recreating the part in a 3D printer. This is an ideal option for projects requiring reverse engineering, or when inspecting items created using CAD software.