3D printing is an innovating process that allows the development of an object from a digital model. Fast prototyping started developing in the 1980s with the purpose of offering a faster and cheaper method of production of objects, as opposed with the traditional one.
There are many technologies that transposes a digital model into a physical one. As examples: SLA (Stereolithography), DLP (Digital light printing), FDM (Fused filament fabrication), the latter being the most used one due to its cheap price, accessibility and ease of use.
How 3D printing works?
There are three steps to follow in order to develop a 3D printed object:
The first step is creating the object in a digital model using a 3D modeling software like: Solidworks, Catia, Inventor etc. there are easier methods of developing the models like scanning an physical object or downloading them from sites like: thingiverse.com or myminifactory.com.
After the digital model is ready, it must be imported in a software named Slicer (e.g. Cura, Slic3r etc.). This software has the ability of transposing the model in instructions that the 3D printer can follow.
The last step is sending the data to the 3D printer. There are a few methods of doing this, the Bitmi printers use Wi-Fi that make the last step be just about pressing the Upload&Print button. There is also the possibility of copying the data on an SD card that can be used with the printing.
How does a 3D printer works?
As was said before, there are many technologies for 3D printing but most of them use a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material that is deposited in successive layers. FDM printers use a plastic filament (1) as stock (this is the equivalent of ink used in normal printers) which is introduced using an extruder (2) in the printhead (3). Depending on the type of filament used, the printhead can reach as high as 2800C in order to melt the raw material. After it is melted, the material is extruded through a nozzle and placed on the printing surface (4) in the instructed shape.
1. Plastic filament
3. The printhead
4. Printing surface
What can be made with a 3D printer?
The applicability of this technology brings many benefits to various areas (e.g. Product design, engineering, architecture, production etc.). Every day, new materials are developed and more and more industries use the benefits 3D printers bring.
DIY&Hobby – In the world of the makers, the sky is the limit. 3D printers accelerates the materialization of your dream and putting innovating ideas into practice. Besides the creative side, it an allow the development of layouts, drones, robots, lego pieces, characters from favorite movies, missiles, functional models, decorative pieces, airplanes and many more.
Fast prototyping – 3D printing offers the possibility of creating models and functional prototypes at minimal costs. By using 3D printing, engineers and architects are able to interact with their clients in a faster and easier way.
Developing complex shapes – Due to the fused filament fabrication method, a 3D printer can develop a complex shapes that are hard to imagine in an easy way. Thereby, a 3D printer offers a physical examples of complex geometry in an easy and interesting mode.
Because the possibilities are endless, we invite you to find out more about this technology that offers solutions and benefits to your business or your personal hobby HERE.