Introduction

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The 3D printer builds the object layer by layer. Each layer is built on top of the previous layer to create an object

History

3D printing is a relatively new technology, having been invented in the 1980s. Its first use was in the aerospace industry and it soon spread to the automotive industry. 3D printing has also made its way into healthcare with companies such as Organovo using bio-printing to create tissue for research purposes.

3D printing today is used by both hobbyists and professionals who have access to a wide variety of materials and equipment, including desktop 3D printers that can be purchased at consumer electronics stores or online at retailers like Amazon or Best Buy.

Overview

3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a 3D model. The term additive manufacturing describes the process used to create objects by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. This is in contrast with traditional machining methods, which use cutting tools to remove material from an existing block.

In 3D printing, the digital file for a design is sliced into hundreds or thousands of horizontal cross-sections and then printer nozzles deposit one layer at a time (usually 0.1 mm thick) until it builds up into a full three-dimensional object.

Applications

3D printing is used in many applications, including:

  • consumer products
  • industrial design
  • architecture
  • medical and dental
  • education
  • art
  • mechanical engineering * military * food printing & drug printing

Processes

3D printing is a process which involves the creation of three-dimensional objects from a digital file. There are two main types of 3D printing: FDM and SLA. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) uses melted plastic to form a layer, which then chars and cools before the next layer can be applied. Selective Laser Sintering (SLA) uses a laser to harden liquid resin in layers until an object is formed. The process of FDM is also known as solid state manufacturing because it does not use any material except for what is inside the printer itself.

The additive manufacturing industry has been growing rapidly in recent years due to its low cost compared with traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding or casting processes.

Materials

3D printing materials can be divided into two categories: thermoplastics and waxes. Thermoplastics are plastics that become soft when heated, allowing them to be extruded through the 3D printer. Common thermoplastics include PLA, ABS, nylon and PVA. Waxes need to be melted by a laser or hot plate before they are able to be extruded. Common waxes include ceramic and wood filament. Flexible filaments are plastic that will bend instead of break when bent too far (think rubber band). Other types of filaments include polycarbonate and polypropylene which have more industrial applications than the others listed above

Objects printed

3D printing can be used to print:

  • Tools
  • Parts
  • Prototypes
  • Models
  • Clothing, including shoes and hats. The first 3D-printed dress was made in 2016 by Anouk Wipprecht and her team at the Delft University of Technology. It’s made of thin slices of recycled plastic bottles, glued together with a special kind of glue that melts when it comes in contact with skin or hair. You can buy one here! https://www.etsy.com/listing/619457649/3d-printed-dress?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1
  • Food—both sweet (like chocolate truffles) and savory (like burgers).

3D Printing is a new, growing technology

3D printing is a new technology, but it’s growing in popularity. 3D printers are used by many industries to create prototypes and finished products. In education, the technology has been used to help students understand complex subjects like biology or chemistry by reproducing biological structures such as DNA molecules, or chemical structures like benzene rings. The medical field uses 3D printing for patient-specific surgical guides and for creating prosthetics for people who need them.

Conclusion

3D printing is a very exciting new technology that can be used in many different industries. It’s also an industry that continues to grow, with more companies using 3D printers and other related technologies, such as CNC routers or laser cutters. We hope this article has given you some insight into how 3D printing works, what kinds of objects can be printed, and what applications there are for 3D printing in everyday life!