What is 3D Printing?
Three Dimensional printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
How does 3D printing works?
Every 3D printer builds parts based on the same principle: a digital model is turned into a physical 3D object by adding material a layer at a time. It is a basically different way of producing parts compared to a traditional subtractive (CNC machining) or formative (Injection molding) manufacturing technologies. There is no special tools are required in 3D printing (for example, a cutting tool with certain geometry)Instead, the part is manufactured directly onto the built platform layer-by-layer, which leads to a unique set of benefits and limitations. 3D printing always starts with a digital 3D model – the blueprint of the physical object. The printer’s software is sliced into thin, 2D layers and then turned into a set of instructions in machine language that is G-code for the printer to execute.
From here, the way a 3D printer works varies by the process. For example, desktop FDM printers melt plastic filaments and lay it down onto the print platform through a nozzle (like a high-precision, computer-controlled glue gun). Large industrial SLS machines use a laser to melt (or sinter) thin layers of metal or plastic powders.
The available materials vary by the process. Plastics are the most common, but metals can also be 3D printed. The produced parts can also have a huge range of specific physical properties, ranging from optically clear to rubber-like objects. Depending on the size of the part and the type of printer, a print usually takes about 4 to 18 hours to complete. 3D printed parts are rarely ready-to-use out of the machine though. They frequently require some post-processing to achieve the desired level of surface finish. These steps take additional time and effort.
Area use 3D printing today
The hype of the previous years was based on the idea of general consumer adoption. This was (and still is) a misleading interpretation of where the technology actually adds value.3D printing today has found major roles in the world of manufacturing. The inflated expectations of the previous years have given their place to increased productivity. Many aspects of the technology are now mainstream and adopted by both professional and hobbyists. Of course, 3D printing is an evolving technology. Every year new 3D printers are released that can have a significant impact on the industry.
Benefits & Limitations of 3D printing
It is important to understand that 3D printing is a rapidly booming technology. It comes with its unique set of advantages but also lags behind traditional manufacturing in some ways.Here we something the most important benefits and limitations of 3D printing, taking into account the pro’s and con’s of all 3D printing technologies currently available. Use them to understand where 3D printing stands today and where it is headed in the near future.