3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material. It is also known as rapid prototyping, is a mechanized method whereby 3D objects are quickly made on a reasonably sized machine connected to a computer containing blueprints for the object. The 3D printing concept of custom manufacturing is exciting to nearly everyone. This revolutionary method for creating 3D models with the use of inkjet technology saves time and cost by eliminating the need to design; print and glue together separate model parts. Now, you can create a complete model in a single process using 3D printing. The basic principles include materials cartridges, flexibility of output, and translation of code into a visible pattern.
3D Printers are machines that produce physical 3D models from digital data by printing layer by layer. It can make physical models of objects either designed with a CAD program or scanned with a 3D Scanner. It is used in a variety of industries including jewelry, footwear, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education and consumer products.
Stereo lithographic 3D printers (known as SLAs or stereo lithography apparatus) position a perforated platform just below the surface of a vat of liquid photo curable polymer. A UV laser beam then traces the first slice of an object on the surface of this liquid, causing a very thin layer of photopolymer to harden. The perforated platform is then lowered very slightly and another slice is traced out and hardened by the laser. Another slice is then created, and then another, until a complete object has been printed and can be removed from the vat of photopolymer, drained of excess liquid, and cured.
Fused deposition modeling - Here a hot thermoplastic is extruded from a temperature-controlled print head to produce fairly robust objects to a high degree of accuracy.
The model to be manufactured is built up a layer at a time. A layer of powder is automatically deposited in the model tray. The print head then applies resin in the shape of the model. The layer dries solid almost immediately. The model tray then moves down the distance of a layer and another layer of power is deposited in position, in the model tray. The print head again applies resin in the shape of the model, binding it to the first layer. This sequence occurs one layer at a time until the model is complete.
The algorithm used in the Inkjet 3-D Printing is depicted in the figure mentioned below.
The workflow can be easily understood with the help of the flowchart given below.
A 3-D prototype of a desired object is created in three basic steps and these steps are:
The 3D printer runs automatically, depositing materials at layers ~.003? thick. This is roughly the thickness of a human hair or sheet of paper. The time it takes to print a given object depends primarily on the height of the design, but most designs take a minimum of several hours. The average cost for printing a full color prototype is somewhere between 50 - 100 $.
3D printing has a bright future, not least in rapid prototyping (where its impact is already highly significant), but also in medicine the arts, and outer space. Desktop 3D printers for the home are already a reality if you are prepared to pay for one and/or build one yourself.
3D printers capable of outputting in color and multiple materials also exist and will continue to improve to a point where functional products will be able to be output. As devices that will provide a solid bridge between cyberspace and the physical world, and as an important manifestation of the Second Digital Revolution , 3D printing is therefore likely to play some part in all of our futures.