Career outlook for 3d printing specialist
Average UK salary
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
3D printers work in much the same way as a traditional printer – but instead of layering ink on a page, they build layers of materials like plastic to create three-dimensional shapes. The tech, sometimes called additive manufacturing, is relatively new but is already used to print parts for everything from prosthetic limbs to F1 cars.
You’ll be key in creating products like these, taking a designer's CAD design and overseeing the printing process that brings it to life. You’ll make sure machines are set up correctly so every measurement and angle is bang on. You’ll need to be precise – even a fraction of a millimetre miscalculation can mean an entire job being scrapped.
Once the job is printed, you’ll need to manually remove the structural supports. These extra pieces are included in the design to support complex shapes as they print. For some jobs you might have other finishing tasks to complete too, like polishing or adding textures.
3D printing is still an emerging technology, so you’ll need to keep up with the latest developments. Who knows what we’ll be able to print next?
What you’ll do
- Calibrate the machines, load the materials and review the designs before each job
- Manage printer schedules to minimise downtime
- Review CAD designs to make sure they’re suitable to print
- Sand, cut, snap off or dissolve the structural supports
- Polish finished pieces, if required
- Check the quality of each printed piece
- Troubleshoot when pieces don’t print correctly
- Order print materials and other supplies
UK employment status
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- Working with technology
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
- Developing a plan
- Time management
- Making decisions
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