DEC 08 2018

3D Printing Technology

The method of transferring an image into solidified under computer control to create a 3d dimensional object. 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing.

How it works

The Creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross section of the eventual object.

Process

Some of the different types of processes like extrusion, light polymerization, continuous liquid interface production and power bed. Each process and piece of equipment has pros and cons associated with it. There are several types of process

  • Extrusion deposition
  • Binding of granular materials
  • Photopolymerisation
  • Lamination

Extrusion Deposition

Extrusion deposition is a process of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), derives from automatic polymeric foil hot air welding system, hot melt gluing and automatic gasket deposition. It was developed by S. Scoot Crump in late 1980s and was commercialized in 1990 by stratasys.

The Computer- Aided manufacturing (CAM) software package is used to generate the G-code that is sent to microcontroller to controls the motors. Plastic is the most common material for such printing.

Binding of granular materials

The selective fusing of materials in a granular bed is another approach. The technique fuses parts of the layer and then moves upward in the working area. This process uses the unfused media to support overhangs and thin walls in the part of being produced, which reduces the need for temporary auxiliary supports for the piece. Laser sintering techniques includes selective laser sintering (SLS). SLS was developed by Dr. Carl Deckard and Dr. Joseph Beaman in 1980s.

Photopolymerization

The stereolithography (SLA) process is based on light curing of liquid materials into a solid shape, it was invented by Chuck Hull in 1986. In this process a vat of liquid polymer is exposed to control lighting under safelight conditions. The exposed liquid polymer hardens.

Polymerization of monomers lead to cross-linking, which creates a polymer. Inkjet printer systems like the objet PolyJet system spray photopolymer materials onto a build tray in ultra-thin layers until the part is completed.

Lamination

In some printers, paper can be used as a build material, resulting in a lower cost to print. In 2005 Mcor technologies developed a different process using ordinary sheets of office paper. There are some companies selling printers that print laminated objects using thin plastic and metal sheets.

Printers

There are several types of printers available according to their usage. The list of printers are mentioned below

  • Industry use
  • Consumer use
  • Large 3D printers
  • Microscale and nanoscale 3D printing

Industry Use

As of October 2012, additive manufacturing systems were on the market and employed in industries including aerospace, architecture, automotive, defense and medical replacements. Higher education has proven to be a major buyer of desktop and professional 3D printers. Libraries around the world have also become locations to house smaller 3D printers for educational and community access.

Consumer Use

Several projects and companies are making efforts to develop affordable 3D printers for home desktop use. RepRap project is one of the longest running projects in the desktop category. The RepRaps have already been shown to be able to print circuit boards and metal parts.

The most popular 3D printer in the world is the prusia i3, a RepRap printer. The availability of these open source designs means that variants of 3D printers are easy to invent. This rapid development of open source 3D printers is gaining interest in many spheres as it enables hyper customization and the use of public domain designs to fabricate open source appropriate technology. Some companies also offering software for 3D printing, as a support for hardware manufactured by other companies.

Large 3D Printers

Large printers have been developed for industrial, education and demonstrative uses. A large delta-style 3D printer was built in 2014 by SeeMeCNC. The printer is capable of making an object with diameter of up to 4 feet and up to 10 feet in height. It also uses plastic pellets as the raw material instead of typical plastic filaments used in other 3D printers. Another type of large printer is Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM).

The goal is to develop printers that can produce a large object in high speed. A BAAM machine can produce an object at the speeds 200 to 500 times faster than typical 3D printers available in 2014. Another BAAM machine is being developed by Lockheed Martin with an aim to print long objects of up to 100 feet to be used in aerospace industries.

Microscale and nanoscale 3D Printing

Microelectronic device fabrication methods can be employed to perform the 3D printing of nanoscale size objects. Such printed objects are typically grown on a solid substrate. In one technique, 3D nanostructures can be printed by physically moving a dynamic stencil mask during the material deposition process.

Programmable height nanostructures with resolutions as small as 10 nm have been produced in this passion by metallic physical vapor deposition Mechanicalpiezo-actuator controlled stencil mask having a milled nanopore in a silicon nitride membrane.

Applications

In current Scenario, 3D printing or Additive manufacturing has been used in industry, medical and sociocultural sectors which facilitate 3D printing to become successful commercial technology.

The earliest application of 3D printing or additive manufacturing was on the tool room end of the manufacturing spectrum.

3D printing or Additive manufacturing has entered the world of clothing industry, with fashion designers experimenting with 3D-printed shoes and dresses, for example; In commercial production Nike used 3D printing to prototype and manufacture the 2012 Vapor Laser Talon football shoe for players of American football.

Health and Safety

Research on the health and safety concerns of 3D printing is new and in development due to the recent proliferation of 3D printing devices. A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) studied particle emissions from a fused filament peaked a few minutes after printing started and returned to baseline levels.

Conclusion

Thus the end of 3D printing or additive manufacturing to print in various processors under computer control to create three dimensional objects.

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