3D Printing at Home

John Beaufoy

Product and Industrial Design Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire

Research Project: 3D Printing at home

desk3D printing is receiving huge amounts of press and media coverage. Some people are referring to it as the next industrial revolution.

3D printing within the home is attracting equal amounts of interest and what we may all be doing with these printers, is currently the subject of much debate.

My research has been focused on using these printers from a novice perspective and exploring the design and make process on a low cost 3D home printer.

I started off by learning how to program the printer and use the drawing software.

Home Set up

After making some initial prototypes I then explored the idea of making a working product.

Table Lamp – Manufacturing in the home?

lampIs it possible to design and make a table lamp in one working day using only home 3D printed components and a standard ES 14 bulb-holder?

3D printed plastic ABS material has a translucent quality to it, so a thin section would allow some diffused light to shine through. The surface finish of a 3D print is also textured with series of repeated low-level lines. An interesting effect when back-lit.

Table lamp

3d lampThe lamp was conceived through sketching initial ideas and then drawn up using 'Rhinoceros' 3D drawing software.

The base and shade took a total of 5 hours to print with a further 2 hours of hand sanding and wiring in the bulb holder, plug and switch.

Further Research

Can we really use low cost 3D printers to make our own products and is there any benefit from having these printers in our homes?

What are the possibilities and limitations for a family wanting to use an affordable 3D printer?

Are we just creating waste and making more pointless, novelty items with no function?