3D Printing Simplified – Everything You Need to Know
When it comes to innovative technology, 3D printing takes the cake. It seems like a relatively new invention, but 3D printing has been around since the 1980s! These printers can fabricate objects of any shape and complexity out of materials like metals, plastic, or ceramic; nothing is off limits when you’re using a 3D printer. Whether you are an experienced engineer or just curious about what this technology can do for you, exploring how to make use of 3D printing capabilities is always exciting. From engineering marvels to creatives crafts – the possibilities are endless! In today’s blog post we explore why so many people love working with these incredible tools. Let’s take a look at some amazing things that have already been created with these devices and find out more about when and where they might be useful in your daily life.
What is 3D printing?
3 Dimensional (3D) printing is one of the latest applications of 3D modeling. It is simply the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 3D printing can as well be referred to additive manufacturing or in some cases, it is as well referred to as desktop fabrication. The making of a 3D object is completed via the additive process which just as the name itself suggests, it involves creating an object via laying down successive layers of materials until the desired object is achieved; the object may appear as a thin slice horizontal cross section of the actual desired image
How is 3D printing carried out?
When it comes to where you are required to carry out the three dimensional printing process, there is a variety of choice of the processes that you can apply all of which will result to the designer getting the same outcome or slightly different to other methods of the same. Below are the generalized categories of additive manufacturing process:
A printer that uses this method has a container in which there is the photopolymer resin that is then hardened with an Ultraviolet light source; the most common technology that is used is the stereo lithography that employs an ultraviolet laser beam and the photopolymer resin with which he objects layers can be built one at a time; for each of the layers built in the 3D printer, the laser beam traces a cross section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin that then hardens thus joining the layer of hardened resin that is under it.
After the layer is completed, the stereo lithography elevator platform descends a distance that is equal to the thickness of a single layer after which a ‘resin-filled blade’ sweeps across a section of the part thus recoating it with a fresh material. Stereo lithography is one of the most internationally accepted methods of a satisfactory 3D printing process. After the object is complete, it is then subjected to curing where it is subjected to intense heat to as to harden the resin.
Digital light processing
The digital light processing is similar to stereo lithography in the sense that is a 3D printing process that as well works with photopolymers and the only difference comes in the light source that is used in the two processes. In stereo lithography, a UV light source is used whereas in the digital light processing stage, the light source that is applied is a much more convenient one such as a digital lamp. Like in stereo lithography, a shallow layer of resin is needed in building the layers hence resulting to less wastage of the photopolymer as compared to the process of stereo lithography.
In this method, the materials that are involved in the 3D printing process are powder rather than liquid as compared to the other methods of 3D printing. Based on the 3D data that is fed into the machine, the laser is passed across a powdered bed of the tightly compressed material hence upon interacting with the powder, the laser fuses the particles together forming a solid. After each of the layers is completed, the powder bed drops and a roller smoothens the powder surface
This process involves the utilization of thermoplastic materials. The process works in such a way that melting plastic filament is deposited via a heated extruder layer by layer onto a build platform according to the nature of the 3D data that is fed to the printer
Here the designer can apply either the binder or the material jetting process. In the latter, the material that is used is the binder and in this case, and it is selectively sprayed into the material to fuse it a layer at a time and like in the other cases once a layer is done it drops and the surface smoothened. In material jetting, the actual binding materials are selectively jetted via multiple jet heads. The material that is used in this case is a liquid photopolymer and after completion, it is cured with UV light
What is used in the process of 3D printing?
There are various materials that can be used in the process of three dimensional printing depending on the method that is used to produce the image.
In stereo lithography for instance photopolymer resins are used and they are then hardened by UV light to get the required image.
In digital light processing, the designer uses photopolymer resins to make the image with the only difference being the source of light that is applied. One in this case can use any conventional light source such as an arc lamp
In extrusion there is the use of a thermoplastic material rather than a liquid like in the above two methods.
Laser sintering on the other hand involves the use of a powder material
What are the pros and cons of 3D printing?
Here are some of the pros and cons of 3D printing:
- Customization: 3D printing allows for the creation of highly customized objects, as it is easy to modify a digital design to fit specific needs. This can be especially useful in fields such as medicine, where customized prosthetics and implants can be created to fit the unique needs of individual patients.
- Faster Prototyping: With 3D printing, prototypes of products can be created much more quickly and inexpensively than with traditional manufacturing methods. This can speed up the product development process and reduce costs.
- Greater Design Flexibility: Because 3D printing can create complex shapes and structures, it allows for greater design flexibility. This can lead to the creation of more efficient and lightweight objects.
- Reduced Waste: Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, which often produce a lot of waste material, 3D printing only uses the material that is needed to create the object. This can reduce waste and lower costs.
- Limited Materials: While the number of materials available for 3D printing is growing, it is still limited compared to traditional manufacturing methods. This can limit the types of objects that can be created.
- Quality Control: 3D printing can produce objects with variable quality, and it can be difficult to ensure that each object is consistent. This can be a problem in fields such as medicine, where consistency and accuracy are critical.
- Slow Production Speed: 3D printing can be slow, especially when creating complex objects. This can be a disadvantage when large numbers of objects need to be produced quickly.
- High Cost: While the cost of 3D printing has come down in recent years, it is still more expensive than traditional manufacturing methods for many types of objects. This can be a barrier to adoption for some businesses and individuals.
The future of 3D printing
3D printing is being applied in most industries today to simplify our day-to-day life and just recently, a new technology has been laid down and it works in such a way that it relays sound waves as three dimensional images. The company boasting this technology was pioneered by Allison Wood and Kei Gowda
General discussion of 3D printing.
The general overview of 3D printing is that its scope of expansion, modification and application is unlimited and simultaneously as compared to the outcome that we get from the images, it is rather cheap and a decision to invest in it would be worth every cent that you spend in it.
All in all, 3D printing is an essential tool for the future. It has truly revolutionized the way objects are designed and manufactured, and it has opened up a world of possibilities. 3D printing can even be used to create complex objects that were not possible before, including those with specific parts needed for medical devices and custom jewelry. With this technology, it is easier than ever to rapidly and cost-effectively create whatever products you need. As such, it’s no wonder so many industries are now utilizing 3D printing technology to bring their designs to life. From commercial to medical usage, we will continue to see more applications of 3D printing technology in the years to come – and its importance will only grow.