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Using 3D Printing to Solve Problems

In this video I will cover the process of solving a real-world problem with a 3D printer. I will cover all of the steps taken to go from concept to reality.

I get a lot of questions about the 3D printing process and requests to do a video like this so I hope this is helpful and that you learn something. This video is fairly fundamental so if you are already familiar with 3D Printing then you may not get much out of it.

The problem that we will be solving for is not actually in the shop but on my...aquarium. Yes I just happen to be setting up an aquarium in our house and ran across some parts that I needed to print. I'll show you from start to finish just how I did it!

The issues that I'm solving for has to do with the aquarium top and light fixture. The light in particular is actually meant for a different style of tank so the brackets don't fit correctly. I'd like to design a modified version of the brackets that will a) secure to the tank and b) help support the glass lid.

Here are the basic steps to going from "idea" to "reality" with a 3D Printer:

  1. Sketch - Hash out the basic idea of what you want to print on paper first. Take some measurements of anything that your 3D Printed part will have to interface with.

  2. 3D Model - Convert your paper sketch into a 3D model within a CAD software platform. I like Fusion 360 but there are lots of options out there.

  3. Export - Your 3D Model needs to be exported into a specific file type called an "STL." STL stands for Standard Tessellation Language and is what is needed for the 3D Printing software.

  4. Slice - A 3D printer needs to read a specific type of program containing lots of important information. This program is generated by Slicing Software (typically associated with your printer). This software takes the STL file you generated from CAD and "slices" it into lots of thin layers that the 3D printer will...print!

  5. Print!

I'm a huge fan of 3D printing as a tool to use around your house and your shop. There are so many useful things you can do with one that I'm such a big advocate for just about anyone learn. It can be a great hobby to do with kids as well - teaching them some early engineering skills they can use later in life.

Interested in getting started in 3D printing?

Here are a couple of printers I recommend:

#1 Prusa i3 mk3S+ -

#2 Ender 3 V2 - (cheaper option)

3D Modeling Software Recommendations:

Get 20% off Fusion 360! (limited time) Code "FY22FUSION20"

Learn Fusion 360!

Browse FREE 3D models to Print! Thingiverse -

Links to Cool Products (affiliate links help sponsor the content!):


Makerbot Method X 3D Printer Carbon Fiber Edition -

Makerbot Nylon 12 Carbon Fiber Filament -

Digital Calipers -

Pentel Mechanical Pencils -

Machinist Square (3-pack) -

Incra T-Rule (6-inch) -

Woodpeckers T-Squares -


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