There are many innovations that started out as small projects that have turned into globe spanning consumer items that are available to the general public. One of these innovations is the 3D printer which started out as a small home project by one Charles Hull who called it the SLA printer, in the late 1980s it wasn’t as popular as printers are becoming today. 3D printers are common today, they’re somewhat affordable for the average Aussie, but still a costly hobby. Although, they’ll cut down cost on a variety of other things, essentially what you’ll have in your home is a bite sized factory that can produce small items that can be made of a few filaments that can vary from PLA (polyactic acid) which is the most common filament material, but also the most fragile material.

If you want to make stronger items you’ll need to either get specific filaments or combine them with a dual extrusion 3D printer. A dual extrusion system has two feeds and heated nozzles that both extrude filament while being attached ot the same print head, you could use a support material with the second nozzle to create a stronger object without using up more strong meterials than would be practical from an economic stand-point. You can use a variety of filaments as supporting material but these filaments are usually stronger, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) which is what LEGO’s are made of, however its high durability and strength make it one of the more difficult materials to print out. Another filament material that is a popular middle ground between PLA and ABS is PETG (polyethylene terephyhalate) which is a common polymer you find in ordinary water bottles.

Then you have the most flexible of the filament materials is TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) which is plastic that has rubber-like properties, making it the most flexible out of all the filaments you can use. Last are the metal and wood based filaments that aren’t actually metal or wood, they’re metal or wood powder mixed with PLA or ABS to create something that looks like metal or wood, depending on your desired material, and they tend to be desner than pure PLA or ABS. Combining these materials in a dual extrusion 3D printer could let you get fairly creative with the items you make, allowing you to create some fairly dense and intricate objects, decorations, parts and components.