Technology

How Does 3D Printing Work?

Rapid manufacturing and 3D printing are both processes that use plastic materials. Liquid plastic resin is heated and hardened using light. A result is a 3D object that can be used to build models, prototypes, components, and computer hardware. In some cases, this process can help people create prototypes of medical devices, architectural features, and other objects. The main drawbacks of 3D printing are that it can be expensive, so many people are skeptical about it.

Material jetting

Material jetting is a form of additive manufacturing that creates objects similar to those made by a two-dimensional inkjet printer. In this process, the material is deposited onto a build platform in layers or droplets and then solidifies as it cools. Materials are jetted from a nozzle moving horizontally across the build platform. Different types of machines use different methods for controlling the deposition of material. Once the layers have formed, ultraviolet light is used to harden the materials.

Stereolithography

When 3D printing is desired to be a more accurate representation of a real-world part, stereolithography is the ideal method to accomplish that. This process is capable of producing parts that are both natural and intricately detailed, with multiple finishes, including embossed and engraved parts. This technology is already successful in the automotive industry and is quickly being adopted in mechanical modeling. To find out more, read on to learn more about stereolithography.

Building-up principle

Known as additive manufacturing, the process of making a product from a digital model involves adding layers of 3d material to create the final product. Originally, the process involved depositing binder material on a powder bed, using inkjet printer-like heads to build up a model. Today, 3D printing has many applications. Here are some of the most common ones. But how does 3D printing work?

Energy efficiency

As 3D printing becomes increasingly popular, the question arises of how it will affect energy consumption. With the rise of 3D printers, engineers can explore innovative design practices to reduce energy consumption. One such technique is topology optimization, where computational algorithms are applied to a pre-existing design to reduce its shape and weight. Compared to centralized manufacturing processes, 3D printed products require much less energy than their corresponding large-scale counterparts. Moreover, these products can be produced with a smaller carbon footprint than conventionally manufactured parts. This means that the weight of the system can be reduced, which results in lower CO2 emissions.

Cost-effectiveness

One important consideration when deciding if 3D printing is cost-effective for your business is how much labor it will require to operate a printer. The cost of operating a 3D printer can vary wildly, with some models costing thousands of dollars to produce. To calculate the cost of 3D printing, you’ll need to know what your 3D model is, as well as its overall size and complexity. Then, you’ll need to figure out how many hours of manual labor will be required to operate a 3D printer.

Applications

There are many applications of 3D printing in the field of manufacturing. This technology is very helpful in research labs as it allows for the creation of bespoke geometries that are not possible in traditional manufacturing. The University of Glasgow has successfully 3D printed a reaction vessel, deposited reactants inside it, and created new compounds. This research has yet to receive a specific application, but it is an interesting proof of concept.

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