(Image by Asher N, www.flickr.com)
3-D printing may be defined as the additive manufacturing of various process used for making three dimensional solid objects of any shape or geometry from a digital file. The technology uses successive layers of material which are laid under computer control. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
Is been said that the technology will revolutionized the industrial revolution as it will bring a sharp changes in every aspect of life because of its wide range of application.
The idea of 3D printing is believed to be started by Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute. In 1981 he invented two AM fabricating methods of a three-dimensional plastic model with photo-hardening polymer, where the UV exposure area is controlled by a mask pattern or the scanning fiber transmitter. Later in 1984 Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corporation, developed a prototype system based on this process known as stereo lithography, in which layers are added by curing photopolymers with ultraviolet light lasers.
(Image by Red Wharf, www.flickr.com)
How Does it Works:
The model of the object to be created need to be designed virtually using CAD (Computer Aided Design) or other 3D modeling program. If you are to make an existing mode you will need to use a 3D scanner so as to copy the exact object. This scanner makes a 3D digital copy of an object and puts it into a 3D modeling program. Based on the data , the desired three dimensional model of the scanned or the designed object can be produced.
The technology used in the 3D printer may differ or rather no 3D printer does not uses the same technology. There are 3 main technology used in three printing today which are:
1. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
2. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
3. Stereolithography (SLA)
(Image by runnerfrog_-_object_00002)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective laser sintering (SLS) technology uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered particles of plastics, or metals or ceramics into a mass that has the final shape of the object to be printed. The laser first fuses the cross-section of the object as generated by the 3D modeling program then the powdered material is applied to the surface and top until the object is completed.
(Image by RapidPSI, www.flickr.com)
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
This technology is developed by S. Scott Crump and uses a plastic filament or metal wire which is unwound from the coil and supplies the material to an extrusion nozzle which can turn the flow on and off. The nozzle is heated to melt the material. The thermoplastics are heated past their glass transition temperature and are then deposited by an extrusion head. The object is produced by extruding melted material to form layers as the material hardens immediately after extrusion from the nozzle.
(Image by runnerfrog_-_object_00002, www.flickr.com)
Main advantage of this method is the speed of printing the odjects and also the functional parts can be manufactured within a day. The technology employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer resin and an ultraviolet laser to build the object’s layers one at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below.
3D printing has wide range of application which include the field of Automobiles, construction, medicine, fashion, Electric motors and generators, firearm, computers and robots, etc.,
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