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What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a process in which a special printer gradually builds a three-dimensional model based on what it reads in a computer file. It works somewhat like a glue gun: the material goes into the printer, is heated and melted, and is then pushed out into a new shape; this is a process called extrusion. There are many different types of material 3D printers can use; ours both print with PLA, a type of corn-based, biodegradable plastic.

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The printers

We currently have two 3D printers: a Makerbot Replicator 2 and a Flashforge Creator Pro. Both print with the same type of plastic.

One special feature of the Flashforge Creator Pro is that it can do dual extrusion. Dual extrusion means that a printer can extrude two separate materials at the same time. In our case, this would still be plastic, but it means the printer can print with two different colors of material in one model. If you would like to take advantage of this feature, you will have to ensure the file with your model in it is setup for dual extrusion.