How do 3D Printers Work?
The process of printing using paper and ink has been around for centuries. Since mankind discovered the concept of reproduction of text and images, more and more printing techniques have emerged, and lots of technologies were invented—from woodblock printing to the printing press; from lithography to digital printing, this process has already spawned many methods andtechniques in order for people to literally get their ideas out there.
All of us may most probably be aware of the concept of printing in 2D—the most basic modern example being the inkjet printing we have today, where you just basically type something on your computer, put a paper inside the printer, click print and youll have a copy of your work in just a few seconds—no further introduction needed for this really. What I’ll be focusing on here is one of the most relatively new printing method; a process of bringing ideas to life into a whole new level. This article will explain, give examples, and describe the processes of how 3D printers function.
3D printers are similar with the aforementioned 2D printers in a way that layers are formed in order to form an image. With an inkjet printer, layers of ink are built up to create figures and images. With a 3D printer, however, instead of ink, materials like metals, glass, aluminum, plastic, or wax is used in order to make the object.
The 3D printing technology makes use of an additive process (contrary to the subtractive process wherein the object is cut off), which means that the object being printed or built is created layer by layer, and this could take a while because the layering is slow—the bigger ones ever require an overnight printing procedure. In order for your design to be concrete and in 3D, you need to make a design using a 3D-scanned file or a Computer-Aided Design, or CAD. You can make 3D designs of just about anything you want, as long as you can design it in a computer—all you need is your imagination and before you know it, your concept will already be brought to life. You can either get the designs and drawings from the manufacturers website, or you can also make use of Google Sketchup to create 3D designs from scratch. From action figures to jewelry, from food to household items, phones cases, this will allow you to create three-dimensional solid objects purely designed by you.
3D Printing Technologies – 3d printer how it works
In addition, one of the great things about many 3D printers in the market today is that it’s affordable (you can have your own 3D printer kit for as low as $ 350), and the materials you need will all be already included in the package. This is why lots of businesses that are just starting out can easily test the waters with smaller machines before venturing into bigger, more complex technologies.
Technologies Used in 3D Printing
The common thread that all these technologies share is additive technology. Here are some of the competing technologies that you can find in the market today:
Selective Laser Sintering – Materials such as plastic, laser, metal, or glass powders are fused by a high-power laser to create the 3D shape youve created. With this technology, you can make parts from lots of different powder materials such as polystyrene, nylon, steel, and titanium.
Fused Deposition Modeling Using thermoplastics and eutectic metals, this rapid prototyping technology will extrude your materials in layers. The plastic filament is melted and extruded with the use of a heated nozzle. The material immediately hardens after the extrusion, so hardening is no longer necessary.
Stereolithography with liquid photopolymer as the base material, this 3D layering works by having a UV laser to cure and harden patterns. The term stereolithography was coined by Charles W. Hull, co-founder of company 3D systems who patented it as a method or apparatus.
Laminated Object Manufacturing This rapid prototyping system developed by Helisys Inc. makes use of adhesive-coated materials such as metal, paper, or plastic laminates that are glued together. This method is usually used by designers and developers who need to see the general idea of how their product will look like.
3D Printing as the New Face of Product Design
3D printing may sound a bit complicated at first, with all the technical terms and processes, but more and more printers are coming out today that are all user-friendly, so even hobbyists could already try their hands on this innovation. If you’re into DIY and enjoy creating objects and prototypes, you will definitely love this.
This is definitely one of the newest things that will give us a glimpse of the bright future of product design. More materials and methods will surely come out in the near future. The idea of customization will only get better from here. Thank you for reading this Guide to How 3D Printing Works, we hope yo learning something and can enjoy this brave new world….
3D Printing Youtube
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