What are 3D printing and its applications
Posted: Apr 05, 2015
It otherwise known as additive manufacturing and it is the process by which three-dimensional solid objects are made from a digital file. It is through this process that 3D objects are printed by 3D printer. In simple terms, 3D printing is the process by which layers of materials are successively deposited onto a powder bed with inkjet printer head. The process of developing 3D material has a broad range of uses across different fields. It is applied in metal casting, geospatial, health care, prototyping/CAD, designs visualization and in the entertainment industry. The addictive manufacturing process is predicted to be one of the new inventions that have a high potential for changing objects from how they are known today. In facts its advocates predict that how business is done is likely to be changed by this technological advancement. The reason behind this, they say is because the consumers will do much of the manufacturing themselves instead of buying from other people.
How does the 3d printing works
The addictive manufacturing process starts with the making of a virtual design usually in a Computer Aided Design file also referred to as CAD of the solid object that need to be created. CAD file can be made by use of 3D scanner or a 3D modeling program. A 3D modeling program is used when the object to be created is totally new while a 3D Scanner is used when there is a need of producing a copy of an original object. After the virtual design of an object has been made, the 3D modeling program slices the final objects into numerous layers. The next step is uploading the model formed by a 3D printer which now creates the new objects by bringing the various layers of materials together such that there is no sign of the layer is visible. This process results in a three-dimensional objects.
What are the methods used in 3D printing
Additive manufacturing makes use of numerous methods and technologies when creating a three-dimensional objects. The difference in the several methods is in on how each method builds the successive layers when creating the object. Some of the most common methods are SLS, which stands for Selective laser sintering and the FDM which stands for fused deposition modeling. Stereolithography (SLA) is the 3D printing process where the liquid material laid is cured by the use of different technologies. SLS method makes use of a high power laser to bring together tiny particles of metals, glass powders, plastic or ceramic into a model that has a three-dimensional shapes of the desired object. The high power laser selectively brings together the different materials that are in powder form by scanning each layer that is generated by the 3D modeling program onto the powder bed surface. The scanning reduces the powder bed’s layer by one layer thickness. The process of adding a new layer on the powder bed and reducing the powder bed by one layer continues until the desired object is created.
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