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FEATURE24 September 2013

How to make an Impact (masthead)

Technology Video

When our sister magazine, Impact, visited iMakr to learn more about the future of 3D printing, they got a first-hand look at the production process itself.

iMakr is a 3D printing shop on London’s Clerkenwell Road. I visited the store this summer to interview its founder Sylvain Preumont for the technology section of Impact magazine

Preumont is an engineer by training, who decided to set up iMakr a year or so back, believing 3D printing to be a technology with near-limitless potential – one that stands to transform our consumerist society into a creative collective.

As well as the interview, Preumont offered to give us a first-hand look at the 3D printing process by producing a 3D version of the Impact magazine masthead. The photo above (by Will Amlot) is of a two-colour test run of the design. For the final five-colour version, iMakr captured the process on film:

If you’re new to 3D printing, here’s what you need to know: iMakr’s printers are entry-level machines, priced from £700 to £3,000. At this price range, the printers use a process known as fused deposition modelling (FDM).

The object design is created in SketchUp or other similar 3D computer-aided design packages, before being converted into an STL file, which the printer then reads and processes.

Each printer is different, of course, but the basic principle is the same: a thin rod of coloured plastic filament is fed into the printer head, which sits above a horizontal bed. The filament is heated until it melts, at which point it makes its way out of the print head and onto the bed below. Typically, the head moves back and fourth, building up layers of plastic until the object is complete.

A scan of the finished piece appears on the cover of Impact issue 3, out in early October, and the full interview with Preumont is published on p58. Click here to read past issues of Impact and to subscribe.

@RESEARCH LIVE

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