What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model. The term "3D printing" can refer to a variety of processes in which material is deposited, joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with material being added together (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer.
How does 3D printer work?
Every 3D printer builds parts based on the same main principle: a digital model is turned into a physical three-dimensional object by adding material a layer at a time. This where the alternative term Additive Manufacturing comes from.
3D printing is a fundamentally different way of producing parts compared to traditional subtractive (CNC machining) or formative (Injection molding) manufacturing technologies.
In 3D printing, no special tools are required (for example, a cutting tool with certain geometry or a mold). Instead the part is manufactured directly onto the built platform layer-by-layer, which leads to a unique set of benefits and limitations - more on this below.
The process always begins with a digital 3D model - the blueprint of the physical object. This model is sliced by the printer's software into thin, 2-dimensional layers and then turned into a set of instructions in machine language (G-code) for the printer to execute.
Depending on the size of the part and the type of printer, a print usually takes about 4 to 18 hours to complete. 3D printed parts are rarely ready-to-use out of the machine though. They often require some post-processing to achieve the desired level of surface finish. These steps take additional time and (usually manual) effort.
Applications of 3D printing
The 3D printing is most used are automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, industrial goods, medical, education and DIY.
The main benefits include being able to:
• Create custom models
• Rapidly create prototypes
• Design 3D models with complex geometry
• Reduce costs and speed up key processes
• Make tooling for manufacturing
• Print end-use parts
What 3D printer should you buy？
At LABISTS we are building the smartest manufacturing solution on the planet. One of our main offerings is our 3D Printer.