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Guest Post by Rout Lita
Types of 3D Printing Technologies
3D printing refers to an advanced technology that allows for the creation of a physical object from a computerized model. You only need to create a design, then transfer the file to a printer that you will be using for your three-dimensional printing, and have your object printed!
Introduction of This Technology
The 3D printing process was introduced in the 1980s, and initially, it was known as ‘rapid prototyping.’ It helped businesses in developing prototypes with error-free specifications speedily.
Today, three-dimensional printing is used for various printing needs by digital agencies all over the world and carries a wider scope. Researchers, medics, hobbyists, educators, and businesses are using this technology for a good range of various applications. However, it takes a lot of research to find a suitable and reliable digital agency in New York that understands your requirements and has the right amount of experience.
What is 3D printing?
Simply put, 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing (no material is removed but only added).
The following steps show how 3D printing works:
- A digital model is created in a three-dimensional modeling program like CAD or with the help of a 3D scanner. One more option is to look for an already existing 3D model design from a design sharing website or company database.
- The selected design is imported to 3D printing software. The software will slice your digital model into layers, and your model will be converted into a G-code file that can be easily read by your 3D printer.
- The file is then saved to a USB that you can insert into your printer. You can also save your file on the cloud and send it to the printer.
- Finally, you print it. Layers of material are produced by the printer one o top of another. This is how a finished object is formed. Desktop printers use plastic filaments that are fed in and melted. The liquid material is then ejected onto the build plate.
What Are the Types Of 3D Printing Technology?
Fused deposition modelling (FDM)
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is also referred to as Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). It is a 3D printing technology that works with material extrusion. Devises suitable for material extrusion are available widely and inexpensively as compared to other existing types of 3D printing technology.
This process requires loading a spool of filament into the 3D printer and is fed through to the nozzle of the printer. The nozzle is heated to the required temperature. A motor works to push the filament through the nozzle, causing the filament to melt.
The extrusion head is then moved along with pre-decided coordinates, layering down the melted filament onto the build plate. It is then cooled down and changed into a solid shape.
Once a layer is successfully completed, the printer repeats the process to layer another layer on top of it and keeps repeating it (process) until the object is completely formed. Sometimes it gets necessary to use supporting structures depending on the object’s geometry.
Stereolithography is the world’s very first 3D printing technology. Chuck Hull invented this technology.
A 3D printing method named as Vat Polymerization is used in the process in which material is termed as photopolymer resin (castable, standard, high temperature, transparent) is selectively cured in a vat by a light source.
An SLA printer contains mirrors that are called galvanometers (galvos). It is where one is placed on the x-axis and the other on the y-axis. The galvos are responsible for aiming the point of the laser beam across the vat of resin, curing and solidifying, selectively, the object’s cross-section in the build area, forming it up layer by layer.
Digital Light Processing (DLP)
This 3D printing technology uses a machine similar to the one used in SLA. One major difference is that DLP utilizes a digital light projector that is responsible for flashing a single image of every layer, all at a single time, or various flashes for larger parts.
The light-emitting diode (LED) screen or an ultraviolet source of light is used for projecting light onto the resin. A digital micromirror device (DMD) directs the light onto the build surface and generates the light pattern on it.
Because the projector is a digital screen, each layer’s image is made from square pixels, so all the layers are formed from tiny rectangular boxes known as voxels.
The process of DLP is much faster than SLA because, in DLP, all layers are exposed at once. Common applications for DLP and SLA are jewellery, hearing aids, and dental applications. Objects created from DLP and SLA have fine details and a fine surface finish.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)/Selective Laser Melting (SLM)/Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
These three 3D printing technologies appear similar yet carry some major differences. People tend to use these terms interchangeably, but in fact, they are not completely the same.
Both Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technologies are the same. However, the difference in their names is because of the materials used in their processes.
Layer by layer sintering by using metal powders and a laser beam is called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). In contrast, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is known for using non-metal substances such as plastics, glass, ceramics, etc.
Both SLS and DMLS do not melt the substances entirely. The substances are sintered or fused at a molecular level.
DMLS is perceived as an ideal technology for metal alloys as molecules melt at different melting points, meaning that it gets hard to achieve complete melt sometimes.
On the contrary, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is suitable for dealing with substances that are metal and consist of one material, for example, titanium. The molecules get melted altogether and completely.
In Polyjetting elements of both inkjet 2D and stereolithography are used. A liquid sensitive resin is sprayed using inkjet nozzles onto the build plate. The substance is then exposed to an ultraviolet source of light that immediately cures the material, after which the next layer is sprayed. The process is repeated until the object is completely formed.
3D printing is helping people to give physical shape to their imagination. Designers are taking benefit of these advancements so as to produce exceptional designs and visualize concepts exceptionally.
Author’s Bio Data:
Rout Lita is a professional digital content creator, SEO and editor having years of experience working for many different industries and recently working in the Digital Marketing department at Digital Gravity Agency. In her free time, she loves to watch movies, read books, and play console games.
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