3D Printer was first recorded on 1981 by the Japanese inventor, Hideo Kodama until it paved its way to printing solid by using stereolithography invented by Charles Hull. An acrylic-based material known as photopolymer that turned to plastic under a laser beam prototypes the designs which gave people a chance to actually see their projects before even starting it.
3D printing or additive manufacturing successively add thin layers 16 to 80 microns or more to create an object. If you are familiar or you’ve just heard about 3D printers, there are 3 main steps in 3D printing. The first step is preparing what you are going to print. For example you’ve drawn objects using CAD software, you will need a 3D scanner or just download it online.
Once you’ve prepared that, you can now go to the actual printing process. You’ll need to choose what material you are going to print with and it includes plastics, ceramics, resins, metals, sand, textiles, biomaterials, glass, food and even lunar dust. Lastly, you will need skills and materials to finish your product. After being printed you can only use the object when it has been sanded, lacquered or painted.
3D Printing: Make anything you want
4 Materials and Technology Suitable for 3D Printer
The materials you will use will determine which printing method is most suitable. Here’s a list of printing methods which is best on different kinds of materials:
Plastic or Alumide
- FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling Technology. This kind of printing process is an entry level in the market as it is mainly used by individuals either in their office or at homes. FDM has the most number of printers available in the market not only it has a high quality printing but is also very affordable 3D printing when compared to other 3D printing technologies. This 3D printing process works by melting and extruding the material through a nozzle to 3D print a cross section of an object each layer at a time and the bed lowers for each new layer. Until the object is completed, this process repeats. There are different kinds of FDM 3D printers and some have two or more print heads to print with different colours and support for overhanging areas of a complex object.
- SLS Technology. This kind of 3D print processing uses powder to create an object. Laser sintering melts successive layers of powder together to form an object. This 3D printing technique is recommended for creation of complex and interlocking forms. This is available for both plastic and alumide.
Resin or Wax
When it comes to Wax or Resin, Photopolymerisation technology is most recommended due to its solidification of photosensitive resin using UV light. This technique is used by the following:
- Stereolithography (SLA). This uses curable photopolymer resin. The UV laser draws a cross section layer by layer while the the build plate continues to descends in small increments and the liquid polymer is exposed to light. This process is repeated until the model is created and in form. By pulling the object out of the resin (bottom up), another uncured resin at the bottom of the container can form the next layer of the object.
- Digital Light Processing (DLP). This type of 3D printing technique uses a projector to cure photopolymer resin. This is very similar to the SLA method except that instead of using a UV laser to cure the photopolymer resin, a safelight (light bulb) is used. Sculpteo uses DLP technology for Silver and Brass 3D printing. We 3D print a wax model first then, we use a lost-wax casting technique: a mould is made around the wax before it is melted and filled with silver, creating your object.
- Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP). Generated by digital light projector, this works by projecting a continuous sequence of UV images through an oxygen-permeable, UV-transparent window below a liquid resin bath. e, the curing part is drawn out of the resin bath.
- MultiJet printers. This time of 3D printing technique is similar to Stereolithography. PolyJet and MultiJet 3D printer sprays tiny droplets of the photopolymer in the shape of the first layer rather than scanning a laser to cure layers. It also uses a UV light to crosslink a photopolymer and lock the shape of the layer in place..
- DLP. Sculpteo uses DLP technology for Silver and Brass 3D printing. We 3D print a wax model first then, we use a lost-wax casting technique: a mould is made around the wax before it is melted and filled with silver, creating your object.
- Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Similar to laser sintering process, this type of 3D printing process uses a laser as a power source in order to sinter metal powder by aiming a laser and tracing a cross section of the object layer by layer.
- Electron Beam Melting (EBM). instead of using a laser to 3D print metal, EBM uses an electron beam as the power source uses an electron beam as the power source which melts the metal powder layer by layer. To achieve full melting of the metal powder, high vacuum is needed. High-density metal parts are expected products of this 3D printing which retains the material’s properties.
- Binder Jetting. With this 3D printing method, you can create detailed 3D prints with colour. Layers of powder is spread onto the build platform using an automated roller. The result of this technique is safe to say as durable as the excess powder is pushed to the sides and ensures that the bed is filled with packed powder.
- Selective Deposition Lamination. This process is similar to Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) rapid prototyping method and processes using paper. The layers of adhesive coated paper or plastic or metal laminates are successively glued together with a heated roller and cut to shape with a laser cutter layer by layer. Until the object is completed, a roller with materials just continues on moving to each new sheet.
- Triple-jetting technology (PolyJet). Known as the most advanced of method of PolyJet 3D printing, this technology might just be one’s dreams. Printing precisely with three materials which make three-colour mixing possible is one of the best attribute of this printer. It was used in creating the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3.
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