What Is 3D Printing: Best 2020 Guide To 3D Printers And Printing

What Are 3D Printers?
Is Printing 3-dimensional Objects Possible?
Can It Be Used Now Or Is A Tool For The Future?

What is 3D printing? 3D printers are the news form of printers available that help you to shape your imagination to your liking with 3-dimensional view that too using a single tool. Earlier printers were just able to print papers or 2-dimensional figures but with time the engineering behind the design of printers has gradually developed that you can see just in front of your eyes. The 3D printers are capable of performing the unthinkable task of delivering you with 3-dimensional prints with high amounts of efficiency and effectiveness. 

Table Of Contents:

What Are 3D Printing?
Types Of 3D Printing Methods And Technologies
Applications Of 3D Printing
Benefits Of Using 3D Printers
Achievements Accomplished By 3D Printing Machine
Future Prospect Of The 3D Printers
Frequently Asked Questions
Conclusion

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is a method of manufacturing or constructing 3-dimensional objects by transferring the data files from your system to the printer. The term “3D printing” can refer to a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified by controlling it via computer which helps you to create a three-dimensional object, with liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together typically layer by layer.

For more information about 3d printers, click here.

remove 3d prints

Types of 3D Printing Methods and Technologies

It is a process of converting any digital file into a real 3d object. You can make use of any designing software to draw or scan any object you would like to print to get a real object or you can simply download any files from the internet. These Printer objects are formed by the addition and deposition of successive layers of print material and are proven to have great impact in many industries such as medical, science, engineering, aerospace, education and many more.

01.

Material Extrusion (FDM)

Material extrusion is also known as Fused deposition modelling (FDM) which is a common extrusion process and is used by various renowned companies all over the world. In this process the material is drawn through a nozzle, where it is heated and is then deposited layer by layer and its design allows the nozzle to move horizontally while a platform moves up and down vertically after each new layer is deposited. It is a commonly used technique used on many inexpensive, domestic and hobby FDM 3D printers.

02.

Vat Polymerization (SLA & DLP)

Vat Polymerization is a method where you can print 3D objects by using digital light processing which involves exposing liquid polymers to ultraviolet (UV) light to turn that liquid into solids. Firstly you need to create a 3D design in a 3D software program, then, the 3D printer uses digital light processing technology to project the image with UV light onto a vat of liquid polymers layer by layer. This process of draining and exposure to UV light is repeated until the object is complete, when the vat is completely drained it leaves behind the solid 3D object.

03.

Powder Bed Fusion (SLS, DMLS & SLM): A high-energy source selectively fuses powder particles

Powder bed fusion (PBF) methods use either a laser or electron beam to melt and fuse material powder together. Electron beam melting (EBM), methods require a vacuum but can be used with metals and alloys in the creation of functional parts. All PBF processes involve the spreading of the powder material over previous layers. The Powder Bed Fusion process includes the following commonly used printing techniques 

  • Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) 
  • Electron beam melting (EBM)
  • Selective heat sintering (SHS)
  • Selective laser melting (SLM) 
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS).
04.

Material Jetting (MJ): Droplets of material are selectively deposited and cured

In this process the material is jetted onto the build surface or platform, where it solidifies and the model is built layer by layer. It involves the material getting deposited from a nozzle which moves horizontally across the build platform. Though the machines involving this process vary in complexity and in their methods of controlling the deposition of material. The material layers are then cured or hardened using ultraviolet (UV) light.

05.

Binder Jetting (BJ): Liquid bonding agent selectively binds regions of a powder bed

The binder jetting process uses two materials, a powder based material and a binder. These binders act as an adhesive between powder layers which is usually found in liquid form and the build material in powder form. A print head moves horizontally along the x and y axes of the machine and deposits alternating layers of the build material and the binding material where after each layer, the object being printed is lowered on its build platform.

06.

Direct Energy Deposition (LENS, LBMD): A high-energy source fuses material as it is deposited

A typical DED machine consists of a nozzle mounted on a multi axis arm, which deposits melted material onto the specified surface, where it solidifies. This process is similar in principle to material extrusion, but the nozzle can move in multiple directions and is not fixed to a specific axis but can be deposited from any angle due to 4 and 5 axis machines which are melted upon deposition with a laser or electron beam. The process can be used with polymers, ceramics but is typically used with metals, in the form of either powder or wire.

07.

Sheet Lamination (LOM, UAM): Sheets of material are bonded and formed layer-by-layer

The sheet lamination processes include ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) and laminated object manufacturing (LOM), where UAM process uses sheets or ribbons of metal, which are bound together using ultrasonic welding and requires additional cnc machining and removal of the unbound metal, often during the welding process. While LOM uses a similar layer by layer approach but uses paper as material and adhesive instead of welding and uses a cross hatching method during the printing process to allow for easy removal post build. 

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Applications of 3D Printing

3D printing technology can be used to create everything from prototypes and simple parts to highly technical final products such as aeroplane parts, eco-friendly buildings, life-saving medical implants and even artificial organs using layers of human cells. It has greatly impacted various educational, medical and scientific sectors, as it has made the work relatively easier and faster.

Aerospace

The use of 3D printing in the field of aerospace and also by the space engineers to manufacture high-performance parts as it provides the ability to create topology optimized structures with high strength-to-weight ratio and the possibility to consolidate multiple components into a single part which is particularly appealing.

Automotive

The automotive industry has also benefited greatly from the fast paced and the ease of customization offered by 3D printing. As the same jigs and fixtures that were highly costly earlier could be 3D printed overnight and tested on the assembly line the next day.

Robotics

It has revolutionized the field of robotics & automation as custom one-off parts are very often needed to develop new robotic mechanisms and 3D printing has evolved into one of the main manufacturing technologies of this industry, owing to its speed, great design freedom and ease of customization. The large range of material options with unique properties, also allows the creation of unique structures, such as “soft” robots.

Industrial tooling

The development of new 3D printing materials with high heat resistance and stiffness that come combined with the ability to create custom parts quickly and at a low cost, pushed 3D printing to find multiple applications around industrial tooling and has become one of the great tools for creating the tools for industries.

Healthcare

Today everywhere hearing aids are manufactured almost exclusively using 3D printing In fact, the companies that did not adopt the technology went out of business, as they were not able to keep up with the pace of their competitors. The healthcare and prosthetics field has benefited greatly by adopting 3D printing as creating custom shapes no longer need to be made through manual labor and using them can make the process quicker while just using a digital file which also helps to lower the costs and lower production times significantly.

Product design

With the help of 3D printing, product designers can easily customize their products at no extra costs while also helping to create high-quality functional prototypes for a new product concept. This not only accelerates the design cycle but also helps to prove that the product idea works before a larger investment is made.

Entertainment

3D printing is one of the favorite tools of movie makers today, due to its ability to create believable props. The 3D printers are designed to deliver flexibility that inturn helps entertainment professionals bring life to objects of their imagination. This can now be done quickly and at a much lower cost than the past.

Education

3D printing technology has great potential in educational environments. With 3D printing, the course subjects can be brought to life through scaled replicas which helps to equip the students with practical yet valuable real-life experience.

DIYer’s

For Diyer’s that constantly explore new ideas, 3D printing is the perfect tool for them as one of its key benefits is the ability to produce unlimited spare parts and new designs without relying on external vendors. They can easily develop and customize their designs enabling them to create new and better concepts.

Benefits Of Using 3D Printers

3D printing has brought about a new revolution in our point of view by which we view any object, and is being highly used in healthcare, education and various other sectors as it has made many a task of manufacturing easier than ever before. Other than this there are several other benefits that 3D printing provides us with.

Customisation

3D printing processes tend to allow mass customisation  as it provides you with the ability to personalize products according to individual needs and requirements. Even within the same build chamber, the nature of 3D printing means that numerous products can be manufactured at the same time according to the end-users requirements at no additional process cost.

Complexity

The advent of 3D printing has seen a rise of digital product environments, which involve levels of complexity that simply could not be produced physically in any other way. While this advantage has been taken up by designers and artists to impressive visual effect, it has also made a significant impact on industrial applications, as these printers are being utilized to materialize complex components that are proving to be both lighter and stronger than their predecessors, and aerospace is one of the sectors where it is proving to be the greatest boon.

Sustainable / Environmentally Friendly

3D printing is also emerging as an energy-efficient technology that can provide environmental efficiencies in terms of both the manufacturing process itself as it utilises up to 90% of standard material, thus creating less waste, but also throughout an additively manufactured product’s operating life, which makes it a lighter and stronger design that imposes a reduced carbon footprint compared with traditionally manufactured products.

Tool-less

The 3D printers have come as a boon in disguise for industrial manufacturing as it has become one of the most cost, time and labour effective methods of producing industrial tools. This is an extremely attractive proposition, as an increasing number of manufacturers are taking advantage of. Furthermore, because of the complexity advantages, products and components can be designed specifically to avoid assembly requirements with intricate geometry and complex features further eliminating the labour and costs associated with assembly processes.

Achievements Accomplished By 3D Printing Machine

3D printing machines are becoming the most celebrated creative tool that can shape your imagination into a life-like object. It is considered highly versatile due to its power capability, ability to dominate all the fields starting from the basic need of human being’s food, home, clothes, organs and many more.

  • Chinese companies use 3D printers to build homes: The Chinese companies have started using the 3D printers for building blocks of homes, as it has helped the construction companies to increase the production rate while lowering the cost. While also the homes built by this process are very strong and sturdy.
  • 3D Printed Organ: The 3D printing machine is being highly used in the medical sector for creating various organs using the cells of our body as the ink and can be used to replace the original organ in our body.
  • First 3D Printer in space: Aerospace has been using the 3D printing process for a few years now for making various parts of planes and rockets.
  • 3D Printed Gun: The 3D printers are being heavily used in the gun making industry, being highly versatile it helps to make bullet loops, bullets and other various small to big parts of guns.
  • Food 3D Printer: 3D printers are being also used for making various creative food designs, like cakes, pastries and other chocolate based foods.
  • 3D Printed Dress: The fashion designing industry has recently started using the 3D printers to make dresses and other fashion accessories. The dresses made from the 3D printer gun are highly sturdy and have high durability.

Future Prospect of the 3D Printers

The 3D printing process is becoming the most celebrated tool which is still upgrading, bringing newer and fresher features to it with each passing day, thus increasing its prospects for future while also increasing its versatility. The 3D printers are also known as the “tools for the future” as it is an ever-growing and still developing tool, that is capable of bringing your imagination into life.

Most reputable commentators on this technology sector agree that, as of today, we are only just beginning to see the true potential of 3D printing and in near future it will become the most reliable media source for 3D printing, bringing you all of the latest news, views, process developments and applications as they emerge in this exciting field.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a 3D printer good for?

The 3D printer is being used in several sectors and industries, the best example of their use can be explained as creating a model for students, which will enable them to get a practical view of the topic at hand, as practical view is always better than theory as it provides better understanding of the subject.

Is it worth getting a 3D printer?

Yes, of course with a huge range of applications and uses they have become an irreplaceable tool in various sectors, starting from education to the arms making industry. It is highly versatile and capable of shaping your imagination into life-like objects with high amount of efficiency and effectiveness.

What should I know before buying a 3D printer?

Before buying a 3D printer you will need to take care of certain factors like -:
Types of 3D printers available and which one you require.
Where you are going to use it, either for small or heavy projects.
Materials to use while printing.
Safety involved with the model.
Build quality of the printer and the objects created by it.
The types of computer files it supports

Can you make money with 3D printers?

Yes, you can easily make money with 3D printers, if you are well-versed working with a 3D printer, then you can easily create various creative models and sell them in the market or sign up for a job in a company that makes use of the 3D printers, like the automobile industry, Aeronautic industry or any other industry where this tool is heavily used.

Is 3D printed plastic strong?

The plastic filament that a 3D printer uses to make plastic objects is PLA, which is considered as the best in business as it provides great strength, durability and sturdiness which is unmatched by others making it an undisputed king.

Conclusion

If you read through this article it becomes evident that the 3D printers are becoming the most celebrated tool all around the world and technically already we have seen many changes in growth in this industry like food from printers, internal organs of human parts, and different print materials PLA, ABS, wooden print, even metallic print. Moreover a rumour is that HP is working on glass print and many more, many engineers, researchers are working on their own to bring more and more additional features which are good sign for 3d printing. So you get a complete guide of what is 3D printing.

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