3D printing technology was patented in the 80s of the last century, but gained popularity relatively recently. New, promising techniques and capabilities of 3D technologies were developed to a whole new level. However, to this day, the technique is not known in all circles, and not everyone is aware of what 3D printing is. In today’s article, we will try to explain in detail and accessible to you what it is and where it is applied.
In short, it is a technique for manufacturing bulk products based on digital models. Regardless of the specific technology, the essence of the process lies in the gradual layer-by-layer reproduction of objects.
In this process, a special device is used – a 3D printer that prints certain types of materials. Other technology names are rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing. Often the phrase “additive technology” is used in the meaning of “3D technology”.
Stages of 3D printing
To make it clearer what 3D printing is, consider the playback process step by step. Below are the specific stages of it. How it works:
- 3D modeling of the required object is performed according to certain rules;
- The file with the digital model is loaded into the slicer program, in which the control code for the 3D printer is generated;
- Set the required parameters for it;
- The code is written to removable storage media that connects to a 3D printer;
- 3D model is reproduced.
Reproduction of objects occurs gradually. According to the required form, the selected material is applied layer by layer, forming the finished product. It should be noted that the possibilities of 3D printing are almost endless, that is, you can make anything. In some technologies, for very thin overhanging elements, the presence of supports is provided, due to which sagging can be avoided.
3D printing technology
For reproduction of various objects, various technologies of 3D printing are used. They differ both in the consumables used and in the speed and accuracy of printing. We list the main technologies of it:
- Fused deposition modeling (FDM). One of the most common 3D technologies used in most desktop 3D printers and represents the ideal price/performance ratio. Printing takes place by layering the melted plastic filament;
- Laser stereolithography (Laser stereolithography, SLA). The formation of the object occurs due to the layer-by-layer exposure of the laser photopolymer resin to the laser, which hardens under the influence of radiation. One of the variations of this technology – DLP 3D printing. It uses a special projector instead of a laser. Both methods of 3D printing are used to create objects with a high degree of detail. In the case of DLP printing, speed is also an added advantage;
- Selective laser sintering (Selective laser sintering, SLS). Reproduction is carried out by layer-by-layer melting of a special powder under the action of laser radiation. This method is widely used in industry for the manufacture of durable metal elements.
3D printing application
As you probably already understood, the use of 3D printing is extremely extensive. The second name of the technology – rapid prototyping – speaks for itself. In the manufacture of prototypes and models of 3D models, printing may simply be indispensable. It is also a very profitable solution for small-scale production. In the aerospace and automotive industries, 3D technologies are already being used because of the high profitability and speed of component manufacturing. Cooks are working on the development of 3D food printers, and in medicine,it has become something of a future technology. With the help of 3D bio printing, production of bones, organs and living tissues is planned, but for now 3D implants and high-grade medicines are printed on 3D printers. Desktop 3D printers can be used for domestic purposes: for repair, making various household trifles, and so on. And designers, fashion designers, sculptors and artists highly appreciate the possibilities of 3D printing and 3D modeling as an unusual way to realize their talent.
Well, it was a brief description of what 3D printing is. We hope we were able to provide the necessary information. If you are looking for the latest 3D printers then you can visit the buyer guide. Here you can find a quality review of 3D printers.