So the thing with 3D printing is that in the engineering world, it's a prototyping mechanism. It's meant for creating test pieces, or making molds, or seeing how components might fit together. Not really meant for final parts-- the most common print materials, like PLA and ABS, are pretty brittle if you leave them as-is. Low-level printers (which are usually the things students have access to) also don't have a super amazing resolution, so you'll get some tiny ridges in your part between layers. IE, it'll never be perfectly smooth.
That being said, you can use 3D printing in a ton of useful ways! You can pretty easily clean up a print with an outer coating of something smooth (eg plastidip) and get a really nice finish on prop pieces. If you use it for mold making, you can cast your final part in something else which has better material properties (such as strength, durability, or flexibility). It's also totally fine if it's something decorative, like jewelry or detailing-- if it's not going to sustain much in the way of force, it should work just fine. That's my two cents, since I've had access to various levels of 3D print quality as an engineering student working in wearable tech.
What were you thinking of making, out of curiosity?
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Last edited by StarsOfCassiopeia : 10-21-2016 at 10:12 AM.