Introduction for 3D printing:
What is 3D printing?
3D printing is an additive technology used to manufacture parts. It is ‘additive’ in that it doesn’t require a block of material or a mold to manufacture physical objects, it simply stacks and fuses layers of material. It’s typically fast, with low fixed setup costs, and can create more complex geometries than ‘traditional’ technologies, with an ever-expanding list of materials. It is used extensively in the engineering industry, particularly for prototyping and creating lightweight geometries.
3D printing and rapid prototyping
‘Rapid prototyping’ is another phrase that’s sometimes used to refer to 3D printing technologies. This dates back to the early history of 3D printing when the technology first emerged. In the 1980s, when 3D printing techniques were first invented, they were referred to as rapid prototyping technologies because back then the technology was only suitable for prototypes, not production parts.
In recent years, 3D printing has matured into an excellent solution for many kinds of production parts, and other manufacturing technologies (like CNC machining) have become cheaper and more accessible for prototyping. So while some people still use ‘rapid prototyping’ to refer to 3D printing, the phrase is evolving to refer to all forms of very fast prototyping.
The different types of 3D printing
3D printers can be categorized into one of several types of processes:
Vat Polymerization: liquid photopolymer is cured by light
Material Extrusion: molten thermoplastic is deposited through a heated nozzle
Powder Bed Fusion: powder particles are fused by a high-energy source
Material Jetting: droplets of liquid photosensitive fusing agent are deposited on a powder bed and cured by light
Binder Jetting: droplets of liquid binding agent are deposited on a bed of granulated materials, which are later sintered together
Direct Energy Deposition: molten metal simultaneously deposited and fused
Sheet Lamination: individual sheets of material are cut to shape and laminated together
Post time: Sep-17-2021