3D printing technique
3D Printing | An Overview of 3D Printing Technologies
3D printing is sometimes referred to as Additive Manufacturing (AM). In 3D printing, one creates a design of an object using software, and the 3D printer creates the object by adding layer upon layer of material until the shape of the object is formed. The object can be made using a number of printing materials, including plastics, powders, filaments and paper.
There are a number of 3D printing technologies, and this article provides an overview of those technologies.
Stereolithography makes use of a liquid plastic as the source material and this liquid plastic is transformed into a 3D object layer by layer1. Liquid resin is placed in a vat that has a transparent bottom. A UV (UltraViolet) laser traces a pattern on the liquid resin from the bottom of the vat to cure and solidify a layer of the resin. The solidified structure is progressively dragged up by a lifting platform while the laser forms a different pattern for each layer to create the desired shape of the 3D object3.
Schematic representation of Stereolithography: a light-emitting device a) (a laser or DLP) selectively illuminates the transparent bottom c) of a tank b) filled with a liquid photo-polymerizing resin. The solidified resin d) is progressively dragged up by a lifting platform e)
Digital Light Processing (DLP)
3D printing DLP technology is very similar to Stereolithography but differs in that it uses a different light source and makes use of a liquid crystal display panel1. This technology makes use of more conventional light sources and the light is controlled using micro mirrors to control the light incident on the surface of the object being printed. The liquid crystal display panel works as a photomask. This mechanism allows for a large amount of light to be projected onto the surface to be cured, thereby allowing the resin to harden quickly1.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
With this technology, objects can be built with production-grade thermoplastics1. Objects are built by heating a thermoplastic filament to its melting point and extruding the thermoplastic layer by layer. Special techniques can be used to create complex structures. For example, the printer can extrude a second material that will serve as support material for the object being formed during the printing process1. This support material can later be removed or dissolved.
Fused deposition modelling: 1-Nozzle ejecting molten material, 2-Deposited material (modeled part), 3-Controlled movable table
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
SLS has some similarities with Stereolithography. However, SLS makes use of powdered material that is placed in a vat. For each layer, a layer of powdered material is placed on top of the previous layer using a roller and then the powdered material is laser sintered according to a certain pattern for building up the object to be created. Interestingly, the portion of the powdered material that is not sintered can be used to provide the support structure and this material can be removed after the object is formed for re-use1.
Selective Laser Sintering Process
Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
The SLM process is very similar to the SLS process. However, unlike the SLS process where the powdered material is sintered the SLM process involves fully melting the powdered material1.
Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)
This technology is also much like SLM. However, it makes use of an electron beam instead of a high-powered laser1. The electron beam fully melts a metal powder to form the desired object. The process is slower and more expensive than for SLM with a greater limitation on the available materials.
Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)
This is a rapid prototyping system. In this process, layers of material coated with adhesive are fused together with heat and pressure and then cut into shape using a laser cutter or knife1,2. More specifically, a foil coated with adhesive is overlaid on the previous layer and a heated roller heats the adhesive for adhesion between the two layers. Layers can be made of paper, plastic or metal laminates1. The process can include post-processing steps that include machining and drilling. This is a fast and inexpensive method of 3D printing1. With the use of an adhesion process, no chemical process is necessary and relatively large parts can be made2.
Laminated Object Manufacturing
Types of 3D Printers, Materials, and Applications
3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM) technologies create three-dimensional parts from computer-aided design (CAD) models by successively adding material layer by layer until physical part is created.
While 3D printing technologies have been around since the 1980s, recent advances in machinery, materials, and software have made 3D printing accessible to a wider range of businesses, enabling more and more companies to use tools previously limited to a few high-tech industries.
Today, professional, low-cost desktop and benchtop 3D printers accelerate innovation and support businesses in various industries including engineering, manufacturing, dentistry, healthcare, education, entertainment, jewelry, and audiology.
All 3D printing processes start with a CAD model that is sent to software to prepare the design. Depending on the technology, the 3D printer might produce the part layer by layer by solidifying resin or sintering powder. The parts are then removed from the printer and post-processed for the specific application.
See how to go from design to 3D print with the Form 3 SLA 3D printer. This 5-minute video covers the basics of how to use the Form 3, from the software and materials to printing and post-processing.
3D printers create parts from three-dimensional models, the mathematical representations of any three-dimensional surface created using computer-aided design (CAD) software or developed from 3D scan data. The design is then exported as an STL or OBJ file readable by print preparation software.
3D printers include software to specify print settings and slice the digital model into layers that represent horizontal cross-sections of the part. Adjustable printing settings include orientation, support structures (if needed), layer height, and material. Once setup is complete, the software sends the instructions to the printer via a wireless or cable connection.
Some 3D printers use a laser to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic, others fuse small particles of polymer powder at high temperatures to build parts. Most 3D printers can run unattended until the print is complete, and modern systems automatically refill the material required for the parts from cartridges.
With Formlabs 3D printers, an online Dashboard allows you to remotely manage printers, materials, and teams.
Depending on the technology and the material, the printed parts may require rinsing in isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to remove any uncured resin from their surface, post-curing to stabilize mechanical properties, manual work to remove support structures, or cleaning with compressed air or a media blaster to remove excess powder. Some of these processes can be automated with accessories.
3D printed parts can be used directly or post-processed for specific applications and the required finish by machining, priming, painting, fastening or joining. Often, 3D printing also serves as an intermediate step alongside conventional manufacturing methods, such as positives for investment casting jewelry and dental appliances, or molds for custom parts.
The three most established types of 3D printers for plastics parts are stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), and fused deposition modeling (FDM). Formlabs offers two professional 3D printing technologies, SLA and SLS, bringing these powerful and accessible industrial fabrication tools into the creative hands of professionals around the world.
Stereolithography was the world’s first 3D printing technology, invented in the 1980s, and is still one of the most popular technologies for professionals. SLA 3D printers use a laser to cure liquid resin into hardened plastic in a process called photopolymerization.
SLA resin 3D printers have become vastly popular for their ability to produce high-accuracy, isotropic, and watertight prototypes and parts in a range of advanced materials with fine features and smooth surface finish. SLA resin formulations offer a wide range of optical, mechanical, and thermal properties to match those of standard, engineering, and industrial thermoplastics.
Resin 3D printing a great option for highly detailed prototypes requiring tight tolerances and smooth surfaces, such as molds, patterns, and functional parts. SLA 3D printers are widely used in a range of industries from engineering and product design to manufacturing, dentistry, jewelry, model making, and education.
- Rapid prototyping
- Functional prototyping
- Concept modeling
- Short-run production
- Dental applications
- Jewelry prototyping and casting
Learn More About SLA 3D Printers
Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing uses a laser to cure liquid photopolymer resin into solid isotropic parts.
SLA parts have sharp edges, a smooth surface finish, and minimal visible layer lines.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers use a high-power laser to sinter small particles of polymer powder into a solid structure. The unfused powder supports the part during printing and eliminates the need for dedicated support structures. This makes SLS ideal for complex geometries, including interior features, undercuts, thin walls, and negative features. Parts produced with SLS printing have excellent mechanical characteristics, with strength resembling that of injection-molded parts.
The most common material for selective laser sintering is nylon, a popular engineering thermoplastic with excellent mechanical properties. Nylon is lightweight, strong, and flexible, as well as stable against impact, chemicals, heat, UV light, water, and dirt.
The combination of low cost per part, high productivity, and established materials make SLS a popular choice among engineers for functional prototyping, and a cost-effective alternative to injection molding for limited-run or bridge manufacturing.
- Functional prototyping
- End-use parts
- Short-run, bridge, or custom manufacturing
Learn More About SLS 3D Printers
SLS 3D printers use a high-powered laser to fuse small particles of polymer powder.
SLS parts have a slightly rough surface finish, but almost no visible layer lines.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM), also known as fused filament fabrication (FFF), is the most widely used type of 3D printing at the consumer level. FDM 3D printers work by extruding thermoplastic filaments, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), PLA (Polylactic Acid), through a heated nozzle, melting the material and applying the plastic layer by layer to a build platform. Each layer is laid down one at a time until the part is complete.
FDM 3D printers are well-suited for basic proof-of-concept models, as well as quick and low-cost prototyping of simple parts, such as parts that might typically be machined. However, FDM has the lowest resolution and accuracy when compared to SLA or SLS and is not the best option for printing complex designs or parts with intricate features. Higher-quality finishes may be obtained through chemical and mechanical polishing processes. Industrial FDM 3D printers use soluble supports to mitigate some of these issues and offer a wider range of engineering thermoplastics, but they also come at a steep price.
- Basic proof-of-concept models
- Simple prototyping
Learn More About FDM 3D Printers
FDM 3D printers build parts by melting and extruding thermoplastic filament, which a printer nozzle deposits layer by layer in the build area.
FDM parts tend to have visible layer lines and might show inaccuracies around complex features.
Having trouble finding the best 3D printing process for your needs? In this video guide, we compare FDM, SLA, and SLS technologies, the most popular types of 3D printers, across the most important buying considerations.
Each 3D printing process has its own benefits and limitations that make them more suitable for certain applications. This video compares the functional and visual characteristics of FDM, SLA, and SLS printers 3D printers to help you identify the solution that best matches your requirements.
Do you need custom parts or prototypes fast? Compared to outsourcing to service providers or using traditional tools like machining, having a 3D printer in-house can save weeks of lead time. In this video, we compare the speed of FDM, SLA, and SLS 3D printing processes.
Comparing the cost of different 3D printers goes beyond sticker prices—these won’t tell you the full story of how much a 3D printed part will cost. Learn the three factors you need to consider for cost and how they compare across FDM, SLA, and SLS 3D printing technologies.
As additive manufacturing processes build objects by adding material layer by layer, they offer a unique set of advantages over traditional subtractive and formative manufacturing processes.
With traditional manufacturing processes, it can take weeks or months to receive a part. 3D printing turns CAD models into physical parts within a few hours, producing parts and assemblies from one-off concept models to functional prototypes and even small production runs for testing. This allows designers and engineers to develop ideas faster, and helps companies to bring products more quickly to the market.
Engineers at the AMRC turned to 3D printing to rapidly produce 500 high-precision drilling caps used in drilling trials for Airbus, cutting the lead time from weeks to only three days.
With 3D printing, there’s no need for the costly tooling and setup associated with injection molding or machining; the same equipment can be used from prototyping to production to create parts with different geometries. As 3D printing becomes increasingly capable of producing functional end-use parts, it can complement or replace traditional manufacturing methods for a growing range of applications in low- to mid-volumes.
Pankl Racing Systems substituted machined jigs and fixtures with 3D printed parts, decreasing costs by 80-90 percent that resulted in $150,000 in savings.
From shoes to clothes and bicycles, we’re surrounded by products made in limited, uniform sizes as businesses strive to standardize products to make them economical to manufacture. With 3D printing, only the digital design needs to be changed to tailor each product to the customer without additional tooling costs. This transformation first started to gain a foothold in industries where custom fit is essential, such medicine and dentistry, but as 3D printing becomes more affordable, it’s increasingly being used to mass customize consumer products.
Gillette's Razor Maker™ gives consumers the power to create and order customized 3D printed razor handles, with the choice of 48 different designs (and counting), a variety of colors, and the option to add custom text.
3D printing can create complex shapes and parts, such as overhangs, microchannels, and organic shapes, that would be costly or even impossible to produce with traditional manufacturing methods. This provides the opportunity to consolidate assemblies into less individual parts to reduce weight, alleviate weak joints, and cut down on assembly time, unleashing new possibilities for design and engineering.
Nervous System launched the first-ever 3D printed ceramic jewelry line, consisting of intricate designs that would be impossible to manufacture using any other ceramic technique.
Product development is an iterative process that requires multiple rounds of testing, evaluation, and refinement. Finding and fixing design flaws early can help companies avoid costly revisions and tooling changes down the road. With 3D printing, engineers can thoroughly test prototypes that look and perform like final products, reducing the risks of usability and manufacturability issues before moving into production.
The developers of Plaato, an optically clear airlock for homebrewing, 3D printed 1,000 prototypes to fine tune their design before investing in expensive tooling.
3D printing accelerates innovation and supports businesses across a wide range of industries, including engineering, manufacturing, dentistry, healthcare, education, entertainment, jewelry, audiology, and more.
Rapid prototyping with 3D printing empowers engineers and product designers to turn ideas into realistic proofs of concept, advance these concepts to high-fidelity prototypes that look and work like final products, and guide products through a series of validation stages toward mass production.
- Rapid prototyping
- Communication models
- Manufacturing validation
Manufacturers automate production processes and streamline workflows by prototyping tooling and directly 3D printing custom tools, molds, and manufacturing aids at far lower costs and lead times than with traditional manufacturing. This reduces manufacturing costs and defects, increases quality, speeds up assembly, and maximizes labor effectiveness.
- Jig and fixtures
- Molding (injection molding, thermoforming, silicone molding, overmolding)
- Metal casting
- Short run production
- Mass customization
3D printers are multifunctional tools for immersive learning and advanced research. They can encourage creativity and expose students to professional-level technology while supporting STEAM curricula across science, engineering, art, and design.
- Models for STEAM curricula
- Fab labs and makerspaces
- Custom research setups
Affordable, professional-grade desktop 3D printing helps doctors deliver treatments and devices customized to better serve each unique individual, opening the door to high-impact medical applications while saving organizations significant time and costs from the lab to the operating room.
- Anatomical models for surgical planning
- Medical devices and surgical instruments
- Insoles and orthotics
High definition physical models are widely used in sculpting, character modeling, and prop making. 3D printed parts have starred in stop-motion films, video games, bespoke costumes, and even special effects for blockbuster movies.
- Hyper-realistic sculptures
- Character models
Jewelry professionals use CAD and 3D printing to rapidly prototype designs, fit clients, and produce large batches of ready-to-cast pieces. Digital tools allow for the creation of consistent, sharply detailed pieces without the tediousness and variability of wax carving.
- Lost-wax casting (investment casting)
- Fitting pieces
- Master patterns for rubber molding
Hearing specialists and ear mold labs use digital workflows and 3D printing to manufacture higher quality custom ear products more consistently, and at higher volumes for applications like behind-the-ear hearing aids, hearing protection, and custom earplugs and earbuds.
- Soft silicone ear molds
- Custom earbuds
The market for 3D printing materials is wide and ever-growing, with printers for everything from plastics to metals, and even food and live tissue in development. Formlabs offers the following range of photopolymer materials for the desktop.
Standard 3D printing materials provide high resolution, fine features, and a smooth surface finish ideal for rapid prototyping, product development, and general modeling applications.
These materials are available in Black, White, and Grey with a matte finish and opaque appearance, Clear for any parts requiring translucency, and as a Color Kit to match almost any custom color.
Explore Standard Materials
3D printing materials for engineering, manufacturing, and product design are formulated to provide advanced functionality, withstand extensive testing, perform under stress, and remain stable over time.
Engineering materials are ideal for 3D printing strong, precise concept models and prototypes to rapidly iterating through designs, assess form and fit, and optimize manufacturing processes.
Explore Engineering Materials
Medical resins empower hospitals to create patient-specific parts in a day at the point of care and support R&D for medical devices. These resins are formulated for 3D printing anatomical models, medical device and device components, and surgical planning and implant sizing tools.
Explore Jewelry Materials
Jewelry resins are formulated to capture breathtaking detail and create custom jewelry cost-effectively. These resins are ideal for jewelry prototyping and casting jewelry, as well as vulcanized rubber and RTV molding.
Explore Jewelry Materials
Specialty Resins push the limits of 3D printing, featuring advanced materials with unique mechanical properties that expand what’s possible with in-house fabrication on our stereolithography 3D printers.
Explore Specialty Materials
In recent years, high-resolution industrial 3D printers have become more affordable, intuitive, and reliable. As a result, the technology is now accessible to more businesses. Read our in-depth guide about 3D printer costs, or try our interactive tool to see if this technology makes economic sense your business.
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New to 3D printing? Explore our guides to learn about the key terms and specific characteristics of 3D printing to find the best solution for your business.
For further questions,
Explore 3D Printing Resources
All about 3D printing. additive manufacturing. Basic concepts.
- 1 Technology
- 2 Terminology
- 3 Fundamentals
- 4 Printing Technologies
- 5 3D printers
- 6 Application
- 7 Domestic and hobby use
- 8 Clothing
- 9 3D bioprinting
- 10 3D printing of implants and medical devices
- 11 3D printing services
- 12 Research into new applications
- 13 Intellectual Property
- 14 Influence of 3D printing
- 15 Space research
- 16 Social change
- 17 Firearms
Charles Hull - the father of modern 3D printing
3D printing is based on the concept of building an object in successive layers that display the contours of the model. In fact, 3D printing is the complete opposite of traditional mechanical production and processing methods such as milling or cutting, where the appearance of the product is formed by removing excess material (so-called "subtractive manufacturing").
3D printers are computer-controlled machines that build parts in an additive way. Although 3D printing technology appeared in the 80s of the last century, 3D printers were widely used commercially only in the early 2010s. The first viable 3D printer was created by Charles Hull, one of the founders of 3D Systems Corporation. At the beginning of the 21st century, there was a significant increase in sales, which led to a sharp drop in the cost of devices. According to the consulting firm Wohlers Associates, the global market for 3D printers and related services reached $2.2 billion in 2012, growing by 29%.% compared to 2011.
3D printing technologies are used for prototyping and distributed manufacturing in architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military-industrial, engineering and medical industries, bioengineering (to create artificial fabrics), fashion and footwear, jewelry, in education, geographic information systems, food industry and many other areas. According to research, open source home 3D printers will allow you to win back the capital costs of your own purchase through the economy of household production of items.
Additive manufacturing involves the construction of objects by adding the necessary material, and not by removing excess, as is the case with subtractive methods
The term "additive manufacturing" refers to the technology of creating objects by applying successive layers material. Models made using the additive method can be used at any stage of production - both for the production of prototypes (so-called rapid prototyping) and as finished products themselves (so-called rapid production).
In manufacturing, especially machining, the term "subtractive" implies more traditional methods and is a retronym coined in recent years to distinguish between traditional methods and new additive methods. Although traditional manufacturing has used essentially "additive" methods for centuries (such as riveting, welding, and screwing), they lack a 3D information technology component. Machining, on the other hand, (the production of parts of an exact shape), as a rule, is based on subtractive methods - filing, milling, drilling and grinding.
The term "stereolithography" was defined by Charles Hull in a 1984 patent as "a system for generating three-dimensional objects by layering".
3D printed models
3D models are created by hand-held computer graphic design or 3D scanning. Hand modeling, or the preparation of geometric data for the creation of 3D computer graphics, is somewhat like sculpture. 3D scanning is the automatic collection and analysis of data from a real object, namely shape, color and other characteristics, with subsequent conversion into a digital three-dimensional model.
Both manual and automatic creation of 3D printed models can be difficult for the average user. In this regard, 3D printed marketplaces have become widespread in recent years. Some of the more popular examples include Shapeways, Thingiverse, and Threeding.
The following digital models are used as drawings for 3D printed objects , powder, paper or sheet material, building a 3D model from a series of cross sections. These layers, corresponding to virtual cross-sections in the CAD model, are connected or fused together to create an object of a given shape. The main advantage of this method is the ability to create geometric shapes of almost unlimited complexity.
"Resolution" of the printer means the thickness of the applied layers (Z-axis) and the accuracy of positioning the print head in the horizontal plane (along the X and Y axes). Resolution is measured in DPI (dots per inch) or micrometers (the obsolete term is "micron"). Typical layer thicknesses are 100µm (250 DPI), although some devices like the Objet Connex and 3D Systems ProJet are capable of printing layers as thin as 16µm (1600 DPI). The resolution on the X and Y axes is similar to that of conventional 2D laser printers. A typical particle size is about 50-100µm (510 to 250 DPI) in diameter.
One of the methods for obtaining a digital model is 3D scanning. Pictured here is a MakerBot Digitizer
3D Scanner Building a model using modern technology takes hours to days, depending on the method used and the size and complexity of the model. Industrial additive systems can typically reduce the time to a few hours, but it all depends on the type of plant, as well as the size and number of models produced at the same time.
Traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding can be less expensive when producing large batches of polymer products, but additive manufacturing has advantages in small batch production, allowing for higher production rates and design flexibility, along with increased cost per unit produced. In addition, desktop 3D printers allow designers and developers to create concept models and prototypes without leaving the office.
FDM Type 3D Printers
Although the resolution of the printers is adequate for most projects, printing slightly oversized objects and then subtractively machining them with high-precision tools allows you to create models of increased accuracy.
The LUMEX Avance-25 is an example of devices with a similar combined manufacturing and processing method. Some additive manufacturing methods allow for the use of multiple materials, as well as different colors, within a single production run. Many of the 3D printers use "supports" or "supports" during printing. Supports are needed to build model fragments that are not in contact with the underlying layers or the working platform. The supports themselves are not part of the given model, and upon completion of printing, they either break off (in the case of using the same material as for printing the model itself), or dissolve (usually in water or acetone - depending on the material used to create the supports). ).
Since the late 1970s, several 3D printing methods have come into being. The first printers were large, expensive and very limited.
Complete skull with supports not yet removed
A wide variety of additive manufacturing methods are now available. The main differences are in the layering method and consumables used. Some methods rely on melting or softening materials to create layers: these include selective laser sintering (SLS), selective laser melting (SLM), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), fusing deposition printing (FDM or FFF). Another trend has been the production of solid models by polymerization of liquid materials, known as stereolithography (SLA).
In the case of lamination of sheet materials (LOM), thin layers of material are cut to the required contour, and then joined into a single whole. Paper, polymers and metals can be used as LOM materials. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, which is why some companies offer a choice of consumables for building a model - polymer or powder. LOM printers often use regular office paper to build durable prototypes. The key points when choosing the right device are the speed of printing, the price of a 3D printer, the cost of printed prototypes, as well as the cost and range of compatible consumables.
Printers that produce full-fledged metal models are quite expensive, but it is possible to use less expensive devices for the production of molds and subsequent casting of metal parts.
The main methods of additive manufacturing are presented in the table:
|Extrusion||Fused deposition modeling (FDM or FFF)||Thermoplastics (such as polylactide (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), etc. )|
|Wire||Manufacture of arbitrary shapes by electron beam fusing (EBFȝ)||Virtually all metal alloys|
|Powder||Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)||Virtually all metal alloys|
|Electron Beam Melting (EBM)||Titanium alloys|
|Selective laser melting (SLM)||Titanium alloys, cobalt-chromium alloys, stainless steel, aluminum|
|Selective heat sintering (SHS)||Powder thermoplastics|
|Selective laser sintering (SLS)||Thermoplastics, metal powders, ceramic powders|
|Inkjet||3D Inkjet Printing (3DP)||Gypsum, plastics, metal powders, sand mixtures|
|Lamination||Lamination Object Manufacturing (LOM)||Paper, metal foil, plastic film|
|Digital LED Projection (DLP)||Photopolymers|
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM/FFF) was developed by S. Scott Trump in the late 1980s and commercialized in the 1990s by Stratasys, a company of which Trump is credited as one of the founders. Due to the expiration of the patent, there is a large community of open source 3D printer developers as well as commercial organizations using the technology. As a consequence, the cost of devices has decreased by two orders of magnitude since the invention of the technology.
3D printers range from simple do-it-yourself printers to plastic...
Fusion printing process involves the creation of layers by extrusion of a fast-curing material in the form of microdrops or thin jets. Typically, consumable material (such as thermoplastic) comes in the form of spools from which the material is fed into a printhead called an "extruder". The extruder heats the material to its melting temperature, followed by extrusion of the molten mass through a nozzle. The extruder itself is driven by stepper motors or servomotors to position the print head in three planes. The movement of the extruder is controlled by a manufacturing software (CAM) linked to a microcontroller.
A variety of polymers are used as consumables, including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polycarbonate (PC), polylactide (PLA), high pressure polyethylene (HDPE), polycarbonate-ABS blends, polyphenylene sulfone (PPSU), etc. Typically, polymer supplied in the form of a filler made of pure plastic. There are several projects in the 3D printing enthusiast community that aim to recycle used plastic into materials for 3D printing. The projects are based on the production of consumables using shredders and melters.
FDM/FFF technology has certain limitations on the complexity of the generated geometric shapes. For example, the creation of suspended structures (such as stalactites) is impossible by itself, due to the lack of necessary support. This limitation is compensated by the creation of temporary support structures that are removed after printing is completed.
Selective sintering of powder materials is one of the additive manufacturing methods. Model layers are drawn (sintered) in a thin layer of powdered material, after which the work platform is lowered and a new layer of powder is applied. The process is repeated until a complete model is obtained. The unused material remains in the working chamber and serves to support the overhanging layers without requiring the creation of special supports.
The most common methods are based on laser sintering: selective laser sintering (SLS) for working with metals and polymers (e.g. polyamide (PA), glass fiber reinforced polyamide (PA-GF), glass fiber (GF), polyetheretherketone) (PEEK), polystyrene (PS), alumide, carbon fiber reinforced polyamide (Carbonmide), elastomers) and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
... to expensive industrial plants working with metals
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) was developed and patented by Carl Deckard and Joseph Beeman of the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1080s under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). A similar method was patented by R. F. Householder in 1979, but has not been commercialized.
Selective laser melting (SLM) is characterized by the fact that it does not sinter, but actually melts the powder at the points of contact with a powerful laser beam, allowing you to create high-density materials that are similar in terms of mechanical characteristics to products made by traditional methods.
Electron Beam Melting (EBM) is a similar method for the additive manufacturing of metal parts (eg titanium alloys) but using electron beams instead of lasers. EBM is based on melting metal powders layer by layer in a vacuum chamber. In contrast to sintering at temperatures below melting thresholds, models made by electron beam melting are characterized by solidity with a corresponding high strength.
Finally, there is the 3D inkjet printing method. In this case, a binder is applied to thin layers of powder (gypsum or plastic) in accordance with the contours of successive layers of the digital model. The process is repeated until the finished model is obtained. The technology provides a wide range of applications, including the creation of color models, suspended structures, the use of elastomers. The design of models can be strengthened by subsequent impregnation with wax or polymers.
FDM 3D printers are the most popular among hobbyists and enthusiasts
Some printers use paper as a material for building models, thereby reducing the cost of printing. Such devices experienced the peak of popularity in the 1990s. The technology consists in cutting out the layers of the model from paper using a carbon dioxide laser with simultaneous lamination of the contours to form the finished product.
In 2005, Mcor Technologies Ltd developed a variant of the technology that uses plain office paper, a tungsten carbide blade instead of a laser, and selective adhesive application.
There are also device variants that laminate thin metal and plastic sheets.
3D printing allows you to create functional monolithic parts of complex geometric shapes, like this jet nozzle
Stereolithography technology was patented by Charles Hull in 1986. Photopolymerization is primarily used in stereolithography (SLA) to create solid objects from liquid materials. This method differs significantly from previous attempts, from the sculptural portraits of François Willem (1830-1905) to photopolymerization by the Matsubara method (1974).
The Digital Projection Method (DLP) uses liquid photopolymer resins that are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light emitted from digital projectors in a coated working chamber. After the material has hardened, the working platform is immersed to a depth equal to the thickness of one layer, and the liquid polymer is irradiated again. The procedure is repeated until the completion of the model building. An example of a rapid prototyping system using digital LED projectors is the EnvisionTEC Perfactory.
Inkjet printers (eg Objet PolyJet) spray thin layers (16-30µm) of photopolymer onto the build platform until a complete model is obtained. Each layer is irradiated with an ultraviolet beam until hardened. The result is a model ready for immediate use. The gel-like support material used to support the components of geometrically complex models is removed after the model has been handcrafted and washed. The technology allows the use of elastomers.
Ultra-precise detailing of models can be achieved using multiphoton polymerization. This method is reduced to drawing the contours of a three-dimensional object with a focused laser beam. Due to non-linear photoexcitation, the material solidifies only at the focusing points of the laser beam. This method makes it easy to achieve resolutions above 100 µm, as well as build complex structures with moving and interacting parts.
Another popular method is curing with LED projectors or "projection stereolithography".
This method involves dividing a 3D digital model into horizontal layers, converting each layer into a 2D projection similar to photomasks. The 2D images are projected onto successive layers of photopolymer resin that harden according to the projected contours.
In some systems, the projectors are located at the bottom, helping to level the surface of the photopolymer material when the model moves vertically (in this case, the build platform with the applied layers moves up, rather than sinking into the material) and reduces the production cycle to minutes instead of hours.
The technology allows you to create models with layers of several materials with different curing rates.
Some commercial models, such as the Objet Connex, apply resin using small nozzles.
Industrial adoption of additive manufacturing is proceeding at a rapid pace. For example, US-Israeli joint venture Stratasys supplies $2,000 to $500,000 additive manufacturing machines, while General Electric uses high-end machines to produce gas turbine parts.
LOM takes papier-mâché to the next level The development of 3D printers for home use is being pursued by a growing number of companies and enthusiasts. Most of the work is done by amateurs for their own and public needs, with help from the academic community and hackers.
The oldest and longest running project in the desktop 3D printer category is RepRap. The RepRap project aims to create free and open source (FOSH) 3D printers provided under the GNU General Public License. RepRap devices are capable of printing custom-designed plastic components that can be used to build clones of the original device. Individual RepRap devices have been successfully applied to the production of printed circuit boards and metal parts.
Due to the open access to drawings of RepRap printers, many of the projects adopt the technical solutions of analogues, thus creating a semblance of an ecosystem consisting mostly of freely modifiable devices. The wide availability of open source designs only encourages variations. On the other hand, there is a significant variation in the level of quality and complexity of both the designs themselves and the devices manufactured on their basis. The rapid development of open source 3D printers is leading to a rise in popularity and the emergence of public and commercial portals (such as Thingiverse or Cubify) offering a variety of printable 3D designs. In addition, the development of technology contributes to the sustainable development of local economies through the possibility of using locally available materials for the production of printers.
Stereolithographic 3D printers are often used in dental prosthetics
The cost of 3D printers has been declining at a significant rate since about 2010: devices that cost $20,000 at the time are now $1,000 or less. Many companies and individual developers are already offering budget RepRap kits under $500. The [email protected] open source project has led to the development of general purpose printers capable of printing anything that can be squeezed through a nozzle, from chocolate to silicone putty and chemicals.
Printers based on this design have been available as kits since 2012 for around $2,000. Some 3D printers, including the mUVe 3D and Lumifold, are designed to be as affordable as possible from the start, with the Peachy Printer being priced around $100. .
Professional Kickstarter funded printers often perform well: Rapide 3D printers are quiet and fumes free at $1499. 3D Doodler's '3D Printing Pen' Raised $2.3M in Kickstarter donations, with a selling price of $99 for the device itself. True, it is difficult to call the 3D Doodler a full-fledged 3D printer.
3D Systems Cube is a popular consumer 3D printer
As prices drop, 3D printers are becoming more attractive for home production. In addition, home use of 3D printing technologies can reduce the environmental footprint of industry by reducing the volume of consumables and the energy and fuel costs of transporting materials and goods.
Parallel to the creation of home 3D-printing devices, the development of devices for processing household waste into printed materials, the so-called. Recyclebot. For example, the commercial model Filastrucer was designed to recycle plastic waste (shampoo bottles, milk containers) into inexpensive consumables for RepRap printers. Such methods of household disposal are not only practical, but also have a positive impact on the ecological situation.
The development and customization of RepRap 3D printers has created a new category of semi-professional printers for small businesses. Manufacturers such as Solidoodle, RoBo and RepRapPro offer kits for under $1,000. The accuracy of these devices is between industrial and consumer printers. Recently, high-performance printers using a delta-shaped coordinate system, or the so-called "delta robots", are gaining popularity. Some companies offer software to support printers made by other companies.
The use of LED projectors helps reduce the cost of stereolithography printers. In the illustration DLP printer Nova
3D printing allows you to equalize the cost of producing one part and mass production, which poses a threat to large-scale economies. The impact of 3D printing may be similar to the introduction of manufacture. In the 1450s, no one could predict the consequences of the printing press, in the 1750s, no one took the steam engine seriously, and transistors 19The 50s seemed like a curious innovation. But the technology continues to evolve and is likely to have an impact on every scientific and industrial branch with which it comes into contact.
The earliest application of additive manufacturing can be considered rapid prototyping, aimed at reducing the development time of new parts and devices compared to earlier subtractive methods (too slow and expensive). The improvement of additive manufacturing technologies leads to their spread in various fields of science and industry. The production of parts previously only available through machining is now possible through additive methods, and at a better price.
Applications include breadboarding, prototyping, molding, architecture, education, mapping, healthcare, retail, etc.
Rapid prototyping: Industrial 3D printers have been used for rapid prototyping and research since the early 1980s . As a rule, these are quite large installations using powder metals, sand mixtures, plastics and paper. Such devices are often used by universities and commercial companies.
Advances in rapid prototyping have led to the creation of materials suitable for the production of final products, which in turn has contributed to the development of 3D production of finished products as an alternative to traditional methods. One of the advantages of fast production is the relatively low cost of manufacturing small batches.
Rapid production: Rapid production remains a fairly new method whose possibilities have not yet been fully explored. Nevertheless, many experts tend to consider rapid production a new level of technology. Some of the most promising areas for rapid prototyping to adapt to rapid manufacturing are selective laser sintering (SLS) and direct metal sintering (DMLS).
Bulk customization: Some companies offer services for customizing objects using simplified software and then creating unique custom 3D models. One of the most popular areas was the manufacture of cell phone cases. In particular, Nokia has made publicly available the designs of its phone cases for user customization and 3D printing.
Mass production: The current low print speed of 3D printers limits their use in mass production. To combat this shortcoming, some FDM devices are equipped with multiple extruders, allowing you to print different colors, different polymers, and even create several models at the same time. In general, this approach increases productivity without requiring the use of multiple printers - a single microcontroller is enough to operate multiple printheads.
Devices with multiple extruders allow the creation of several identical objects from only one digital model, but at the same time allow the use of different materials and colors. The print speed increases in proportion to the number of print heads. In addition, certain energy savings are achieved through the use of a common working chamber, which often requires heating. Together, these two points reduce the cost of the process.
Many printers are equipped with dual printheads, however this configuration is only used for printing single models in different colors and materials.
Consumer and hobby use
Today, consumer 3D printing mainly attracts the attention of enthusiasts and hobbyists, while practical use is rather limited. However, 3D printers have already been used to print working mechanical clocks, woodworking gears, jewelry, and more. Home 3D printing websites often offer designs for hooks, doorknobs, massage tools, and more.
3D printing is also being used in hobby veterinary medicine and zoology – in 2013, a 3D printed prosthesis allowed a duckling to stand up, and hermit crabs love stylish 3D printed shells. 3D printers are widely used for the domestic production of jewelry - necklaces, rings, handbags, etc.
The [email protected] open project aims to develop general purpose home printers. The devices have been tested in research environments using the latest 3D printing technologies for the production of chemical compounds. The printer can print any material suitable for extrusion from a syringe in the form of a liquid or paste. The development is aimed at the possibility of home production of medicines and household chemicals in remote areas of residence.
Student project OpenReflex resulted in a design for an analog SLR camera suitable for 3D printing.
3D printing is gaining ground in the fashion world as couturiers use printers to experiment with swimwear, shoes and dresses. Commercial applications include rapid prototyping and 3D printing of professional athletic shoes - the Vapor Laser Talon for soccer players and New Balance for track and field athletes.
EBM titanium medical implants
3D printing is currently being researched by biotech companies and academic institutions. The research is aimed at exploring the possibility of using inkjet/drip 3D printing in tissue engineering to create artificial organs. The technology is based on the application of layers of living cells on a gel substrate or sugar matrix, with a gradual layer-by-layer build-up to create three-dimensional structures, including vascular systems. The first 3D tissue printing production system based on NovoGen bioprinting technology was introduced in 2009year. A number of terms are used to describe this research area: organ printing, bioprinting, computer tissue engineering, etc.
One of the pioneers of 3D printing, research company Organovo, conducts laboratory research and develops the production of functional 3D human tissue samples for use in medical and therapeutic research. For bioprinting, the company uses a NovoGen MMX 3D printer. Organovo believes that bioprinting will speed up the testing of new medicines before clinical trials, saving time and money invested in drug development. In the long term, Organovo hopes to adapt bioprinting technology for graft and surgical applications.
3D printing of implants and medical devices
3D printing is used to create implants and devices used in medicine. Successful surgeries include examples such as titanium pelvic and jaw implants and plastic tracheal splints. The most widespread use of 3D printing is expected in the production of hearing aids and dentistry. In March 2014, Swansea surgeons used 3D printing to reconstruct the face of a motorcyclist who was seriously injured in a road accident.
3D printing services
Some companies offer online 3D printing services available to individuals and industrial companies. The customer is required to upload a 3D design to the site, after which the model is printed using industrial installations. The finished product is either delivered to the customer or subject to pickup.
Exploring new applications
3D printing makes it possible to create fully functional metal products, including weapons.
Future applications of 3D printing may include the creation of open source scientific equipment for use in open laboratories and other scientific applications - fossil reconstruction in paleontology, the creation of duplicates of priceless archaeological artifacts, the reconstruction of bones and body parts for forensic analysis, the reconstruction of heavily damaged evidence collected from crime scenes. The technology is also being considered for application in construction.
In 2005, academic journals began to publish materials on the possibility of using 3D printing technologies in art. In 2007, the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine included 3D design in their list of the 100 most significant achievements of the year. The Victoria and Albert Museum at the London Design Festival in 2011 presented an exhibition by Murray Moss entitled "Industrial Revolution 2.0: how the material world materializes again", dedicated to 3D printing technologies.
In 2012, a University of Glasgow pilot project showed that 3D printing could be used to produce chemical compounds, including hitherto unknown ones. The project printed chemical storage vessels into which “chemical ink” was injected using additive machines and then reacted. The viability of the technology was proven by the production of new compounds, but a specific practical application was not pursued during the experiment. Cornell Creative Machines has confirmed the feasibility of creating food products using hydrocolloid 3D printing. Professor Leroy Cronin of the University of Glasgow has suggested using "chemical ink" to print medicines.
The use of 3D scanning technology makes it possible to create replicas of real objects without the use of casting methods, which are costly, difficult to perform and can have a destructive effect in cases of precious and fragile objects of cultural heritage.
An additional example of 3D printing technologies being developed is the use of additive manufacturing in construction. This could make it possible to accelerate the pace of construction while reducing costs. In particular, the possibility of using technology to build space colonies is being considered. For example, the Sinterhab project aims to explore the possibility of additive manufacturing of lunar bases using lunar regolith as the main building material. Instead of using binding materials, the possibility of microwave sintering of regolith into solid building blocks is being considered.
Additive manufacturing allows you to create waveguides, sleeves and bends in terahertz devices. The high geometric complexity of such products could not be achieved by traditional production methods. A commercially available professional EDEN 260V setup was used to create structures with a resolution of 100 microns. The printed structures were galvanized with gold to create a terahertz plasmonic apparatus.
China has allocated nearly $500 million. for the development of 10 national institutes for the development of 3D printing technologies. In 2013, Chinese scientists began printing living cartilage, liver and kidney tissue using specialized 3D bioprinters. Researchers at Hangzhou Dianqi University have even developed their own 3D bioprinter for this challenging task, dubbed Regenovo. One of Regenovo's developers, Xu Mingeng, said it takes less than an hour for the printer to produce a small sample of liver tissue or a four to five inch sample of ear cartilage. Xu predicts the emergence of the first full-fledged printed artificial organs within the next 10-20 years. That same year, researchers at the Belgian Hasselt University successfully printed a new jaw for an 83-year-old woman. After the implant is implanted, the patient can chew, talk and breathe normally.
In Bahrain, sandstone-like 3D printing has created unique structures to support coral growth and restore damaged reefs. These structures have a more natural shape than previously used structures and do not have the acidity of concrete.
Section of liver tissue printed by Organovo, which is working to improve 3D printing technology for the production of artificial organs
3D printing has been around for decades, and many aspects of the technology are subject to patents, copyrights, and trademark protection. However, from a legal point of view, it is not entirely clear how intellectual property protection laws will be applied in practice if 3D printers become widely used.
distribution and will be used in household production of goods for personal use, non-commercial use or for sale.
Any of the protective measures may negatively affect the distribution of designs used in 3D printing or the sale of printed products. The use of protected technologies may require the permission of the owner, which in turn will require the payment of royalties.
Patents cover certain processes, devices, and materials. The duration of patents varies from country to country.
Often, copyright extends to the expression of ideas in the form of material objects and lasts for the life of the author, plus 70 years. Thus, if someone creates a statue and obtains copyright, it will be illegal to distribute designs for printing of an identical or similar statue.
Influence of 3D printing
Additive manufacturing requires manufacturing companies to be flexible and constantly improve available technologies to stay competitive. Advocates of additive manufacturing predict that the opposition between 3D printing and globalization will escalate as home production displaces trade in goods between consumers and large manufacturers. In reality, the integration of additive technologies into commercial production serves as a complement to traditional subtractive methods, rather than a complete replacement for the latter.
In 2010, work began on the application of 3D printing in zero gravity and low gravity. The main goal is to create hand tools and more complex devices "as needed" instead of using valuable cargo volume and fuel to deliver finished products to orbit.
Even NASA is interested in 3D printing
At the same time, NASA is conducting joint tests with Made in Space to assess the potential of 3D printing to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of space exploration. Nasa's additive-manufactured rocket parts were successfully tested in July 2013, with two fuel injectors performing on par with conventionally produced parts during operational tests subjecting the parts to temperatures of around 3,300°C and high pressure levels. It is noteworthy that NASA is preparing to launch a 3D printer into space: the agency is going to demonstrate the possibility of creating spare parts directly in orbit, instead of expensive transportation from the ground.
The topic of social and cultural change as a result of the introduction of commercially available additive technologies has been discussed by writers and sociologists since the 1950s. One of the most interesting assumptions was the possible blurring of boundaries between everyday life and workplaces as a result of the massive introduction of 3D printers into the home. It also points to the ease of transferring digital designs, which, in combination with local production, will help reduce the need for global transportation. Finally, copyright protection may change to reflect the ease of additive manufacturing of many products.
In 2012, US company Defense Distributed released plans to create a "design of a functional plastic weapon that could be downloaded and played by anyone with access to a 3D printer." Defense Distributed has developed a 3D printed version of the receiver for the AR-15 rifle, capable of withstanding more than 650 shots, and a 30-round magazine for the M-16 rifle. The AR-15 has two receivers (lower and upper), but legal registration is tied to the lower receiver, which is stamped with a serial number. Shortly after Defense Distributed created the first working drawings for the production of plastic weapons in May 2013, the US State Department requested that the instructions be removed from the company's website.
The distribution of blueprints by Defense Distributed has fueled discussion about the possible impact of 3D printing and digital processing devices on the effectiveness of gun control. However, the fight against the proliferation of digital weapon models will inevitably face the same problems as attempts to prevent the trade in pirated content.
Go to the main page of the Encyclopedia of 3D printing
Technologies and methods of 3D printing - ANRO technology
The active introduction of 3D technologies contributed to the creation of progressive 3D printers with a rich set of options. 's high-performance 3 D-printing technologies of have produced original designs for marketing, catering, industry and landscaping.
3D printing is a procedure for designing three-dimensional compositions of a given geometric shape. The process of obtaining the original model is based on the phased construction of the object with clear applied layers, clearly demonstrating the edges of the product.
Innovative 3D printing techniques are in great demand in the construction industry, architecture, education, medicine, bioengineering and many other fields. Unlike traditional methods of obtaining parts - milling, turning, they allow you to achieve high accuracy, the greatest savings in materials and time.
3D printing features
Designed models are reproduced using special computer graphics programs, which are designed specifically for this purpose. Building one model can take from a couple of hours to two or more days, depending on the specifics of the project. The desktop device allows designers and design professionals to turn original prototypes into reality.
The advantage of modern technology is the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of modeling objects, for example, in the manufacture of products in production. 3D printers are indispensable for creating unique products in preschool educational institutions, building more complex samples in schools and specialized institutions. Modern technologies make it much easier to work with 3D models, so this technology becomes accessible to children. 3D modeling allows you to create objects of unique geometric shapes of varying degrees of complexity.
Basic 3D printing
- Fusion deposition prototyping (FDM). An accessible method of modeling, which consists in the layer-by-layer application of a hot thread from a fusible working product (wax, metal, plastic). Most often used for rapid prototyping of various models, for example, mass production of jewelry, souvenirs and toys;
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). One of the famous prototyping methods. The product is formed from a powder product (ceramics, metal-plastic) by melting under the influence of a laser. The advantage of SLS is that you don't have to use a special structure to support floating elements;
- Laser stereolithography (SLA). The most famous modeling method using a special liquid polymer that hardens under the influence of mercury radiation. The advantages include high print resolution, the least amount of waste and ease of finishing the product;
- Electron Beam Melting (EBM). An advanced adaptive manufacturing method using special electron beams. Widely used in the production of various titanium products. Unlike models produced by SLS, blanks are solid and highly durable;
- Production of models using lamination (LOM). Progressive method of forming various models using layer-by-layer gluing. The resulting objects can be upgraded by machining. The advantage of this technology is the availability of the main consumable material - paper;
- Multi-jet simulation (MJM). A popular type of printing based on multi-jet simulation of a photopolymer product. It is used in various industries. The advantages include the possibility of multi-color printing and the interaction of materials of different properties and characteristics.
Other 3D modeling technologies are common in adaptive and industrial manufacturing. All of them have their own characteristics and nuances. However, the simplest and most popular 3 D-printing method for is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
3 reasons to choose FDM technology
- Simplicity. Printing technology is accessible even to small children. Therefore, it can be used both in schools and offices, and in preschool institutions;
- Originality. FDM technology allows you to design objects with unusual geometry and cavities, which is not possible with other types of modeling;
- Variety. When working with FDM technology, a wide variety of plastics can be used, so you can get a fairly wide range of models with different physical and chemical properties. 3D objects can be durable, flexible, luminous, soluble in water, and with many other properties.
FDM technology uses time-tested thermoplastics that are used in traditional manufacturing of various products.
Advantages of modern 3D printing technology from ANRO-technology
- High speed. Modern technologies provide short terms of product prototype development;
- Minimum material consumption. Progressive 3D printers allow you to produce objects with the lowest waste rates;
- Robust internal structure. Innovative devices help design large objects with minimal weight;
- Sustainability. The materials used in prototyping are completely safe and do not pose any harm to the user.