Explaining the 3D Printing Process
3D printing has taken the conventional concept of 2D printing and introduced a new horizon of opportunities in different sectors.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing is a procedure of making three-dimensional products by translating a digital CAD file into a printed product.
A 3D printed article is produced using additive forms. In the additive method, an object is built by laying down progressive sheets of the material until the whole product is built. Each of these layers are a thinly cut horizontal cross-segment of the consequent product.
Just like a Word file prints in two dimensions on a page (but if you look closely you can see the ink sitting off the page a bit), many layers of 2D printing make a 3D object when printed from a 3D file.
How does 3D printing work?
Everything starts by making a virtual representation of the item you want to make. This virtual design is done in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) document utilizing a 3D modeling software (for the making of an absolutely new product) or with the help of a 3D scanner (to duplicate a currently existing item). A 3D scanner builds a 3D digital duplicate of an item. 3D scanners use distinctive technologies to render a 3D model. These technologies are called time-of-flight, organized/tweaked light and volumetric checking amongst other fancy sounding things that to be honest you don’t really need to know about unless you want to dig into the intricacies of digital printing. 🙂
In recent times various IT companies like Microsoft and Google have started adding 3D scanning capabilities to their products. An awesome illustration is Microsoft’s Kinect. Kinect is an unmistakable sign that future hand-held electronic devices like smartphones will have 3D scanners incorporated in their systems. Digitizing real products into 3D models will become as simple as snapping a photo. Costs of 3D scanners nowadays range from very costly advanced gadgets to 30 USD DIY gadgets anybody can make at home. But in the near future, you may just be able to grab an app for a couple of dollars for an appstore to start scanning and creating your own 3D objects.
To prepare a file for printing, 3D software separates the final model into numerous horizontal layers for the purpose of printing. The sliced file is then used as an input in a 3D printer, to create the object by building layer on top of layer. As the 3D printer produces the object, each layer is combined with the one before with barely any noticeable joins.
Processes and technologies
Not all 3D printers utilize the same techniques for printing. There are quite a few ways to print, but each of these techniques involve additive, differing only in the way layers are created to make the ultimate product.
A few strategies use liquefying or softening material to create the layers. Particular laser sintering (SLS) and combined testimony demonstrating (FDM) are the most widely recognized innovations utilized along these lines of printing. Another technique for printing works through curing a photo-receptive gum with an UV laser or another comparable force source, one sheet at a time. The most popular innovation using this technique is called stereolithography (SLA).
After 2010, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) created a standard “ASTM F42 – Additive Manufacturing”, an arrangement of guidelines that group Additive Manufacturing forms into 7 classifications as per Standard Terminology for Additive Manufacturing Technologies.
Let’s be honest though, unless you live and breathe the 3d printing industry this stuff really doesn’t matter to you. What matters is that we can take your idea, something intangible and personal, design it and print it, creating a tangible object you can hold in your hands.
We have years of experience behind us that means we’ll get your project right the first time. In fact, in many cases people come to us when they’re dissatisfied with their experience elsewhere.
Give us a call or send us an email today and we’ll get back to you with a quote on your project in 5 – 10 minutes (seriously). We look forward to hearing from you today!