Welcome to the future, crafters. We all love to knit and paint and turn little bits of discarded scraps into little bits of inspired art — that’s just how we crafters unleash our inner artistes. But there’s a whole new game in town, and it has nothing to do with our tried-and-true vision of what it means to craft at home.
We’re talking about 3D Printing! Yes, 3D PRINTING. You may not realize it — you almost certainly DO NOT realize it — but this newfangled way to print often requires those skills you’ve honed in your workshop over the years.
It not only takes creativity to envision cool printing ideas. It takes old-fashioned crafting skills like handiness with your craft knife to shape imperfect 3D print jobs into finely hewn pieces of futuristic art.
So let’s take a look at the tools you’ll need to become a master of this cool new way to craft. Once you get the tools and gain comfort with the 3D printing, it might not be too long until you’re churning out truly jaw-dropping works of 3D-printed art.
A Trusty Craft Knife
Yes, we mentioned this in our opening, but now we’re circling back to drive this point home. If you really want to thrive in your home 3D printing studio — and we know you do — you absolutely need to have a sharp craft knife that allows for truly precision cuts.
If you’re truly unexposed to the world of 3D printing, you may find yourself scratching your head here: Why on earth would you need a craft knife?
Well, when you 3D print, your pieces often come out with a little chaff you need to trim. It’s like when you’re putting a model together and sometimes the pieces need a little whittling. This isn’t so different.
Your printer is futuristic, indeed, but that doesn’t make it flawless.
Those Craft Scissors Will Come in Handy
If you’re truly an old-school crafter feeling a bit reluctant about trying out this new form, you’ll probably find some comfort in the familiar items on this list. Now up: a pair of craft scissors, just like the kind you’ve been using for pretty much everything in your craft studio since the dawn of time.
Why do you need them? Well, the same principle applies that we laid out before: Your 3D printer needs a little human touch when it comes to precision.
Smooth Out Those Rough Edges with Sandpaper
And yet another little piece of familiarity: sandpaper! You might be rubbing your eyes now, shocked by the basics we’re laying out. But, yes, sandpaper is absolutely a must-have for all 3D printers out there, from the greenest of the green to the most experienced. Now you do have to be especially careful when you take that sandpaper to your freshly printed piece.
Go in carefully because you can’t put any bits back on — the technology isn’t quite there yet, crafters! For a good guide on how to sand your 3D art, check out this tutorial. It’ll help you determine the best grits and the ideal approach.
A Cutting Mat for Your Precision Work
Once again, an old favorite of every crafter: a cutting mat. When you set out to improve upon that imperfect piece of the future your printer spits out, you need to take it to a place that will allow you to work without damaging your tabletop. So that cutting mat that’s served you over the years — well, it will certainly serve you here.
There’s something truly lovely about using your tried and true tools on 3D print jobs.
Using a Spatula to Free Your Work
We aren’t trying to be cute here by offering yet another little bit of equipment you’ve been using for ages. It’s simply an undeniable fact that 3D printing needs old-school accoutrements. But this time we aren’t calling on a tool from your crafting studio — nope, we’re calling on the kitchen this time. What for? A spatula!
When you print, your works often don’t want to come off the build plate without a little cajoling. So just like when you bust out that spatula to coax onion rings from your baking sheet, you’ll be calling on your spatula to free your 3D art.
Tweeze It to Perfection
You know how sometimes you need to lean in close to your mirror and snag a hair or two to prevent a unibrow from coming on? Well, sometimes your 3D art needs you to lean in and tweeze it to perfection. So, yes, a pair of tweezers — though, hopefully, you have some actual craft tweezers — will absolutely come in handy as you look to craft bits of futuristic art that are sure to wow your friends and fam.
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