What is 3D Printing?

by | 28 Mar, 2023 | Technology

3D printing is a procedure that employs computer-aided design, or CAD, to produce items layer by layer. 3D printing is widely employed in the industrial and automotive industries, where tools and components are created utilizing 3D printers. 

As 3D printing skills improve, so does its value: by 2029, the 3D printing sector is expected to be worth $84 billion. Because of this expansion, we will undoubtedly interact with 3D-printed items, including houses and structures.

Use of 3D Printing

The healthcare business is likewise being shaken by 3D printing. The COVID-19 epidemic overtook hospitals in 2020, increasing the demand for personal protective equipment. Many healthcare institutions used 3D printing to provide their employees with the much-needed safety equipment as well as components to repair their ventilators. 

Large firms, startups, and even high school students equipped with 3D printers rushed up to meet the call. Not only will 3D printing transform the way we produce PPE and medical equipment, but it will also speed up prostheses and implants. While 3D printing is not a new concept, some people are still confused about what it is and how it works. Here’s an introduction to 3D printing.

When was 3D Printing Developed?

Hideo Kodama finished his early work in laser-cured resin fast prototyping in 1981, building on Ralf Baker’s work in the 1920s for manufacturing ornamental products. With the development of stereolithography in 1984, his innovation was developed throughout the next three decades. In 1987, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems created the first 3D printer, which employed stereolithography. 

This was followed by advancements such as selective laser sintering and selective laser melting. Other pricey 3D printing methods were created in the 1990s and 2000s, but their prices dropped drastically after the patents expired in 2009, allowing the technology to be used by a wider range of people.

Technologies of 3D Printing

The three basic 3D printing techniques are sintering, melting, and stereolithography:

  1. Sintering is a high-resolution manufacturing technology that heats but does not melt the material. Metal powder is utilized in direct metal laser sintering, whereas thermoplastic powders are used in selective laser sintering.
  2. Powder bed fusion, electron beam melting, and direct energy deposition are three 3D printing melting technologies that use lasers, electric arcs, or electron beams to melt the components together at high temperatures to print objects.
  3. Photopolymerization is used in stereolithography to produce components. This process selectively interacts with the material using the appropriate light source to cure and solidify a cross-section of the product in thin layers.

What is the process of 3D printing?

To make an item, the 3D printing process entails building up layer upon layer of molten plastic. As each layer dries, the next layer is printed on top, and the item is constructed.

To generate a 3D print, a digital file that instructs the 3D printer on where to print the material is necessary. The most often utilized file type for this is G-code files. This file effectively includes “coordinates” that direct the printer’s horizontal and vertical movements – commonly known as the X, Y, and Z axes. 

Layer height is the maximum thickness that 3D printers can manufacture these layers at. More layers in a print, like pixels on a screen, equals better resolution’. This gives a better-looking result but takes longer to print.



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