3D printing is known as additive manufacturing. This means the addition of thin layers between 16 to 180 microns or more to create an object. All 3D printing technologies perform similarly because these construct an object in a layer by layer until a complex shape or structure is created. You can use different kinds of “ink” or printed material to make your final 3D copy. You can use plastic, alumide, metal, wax, resin or multicolor materials to create your detailed prints.
The material that you will use will determine which printing methods are ideal for you to use. The following are the most commonly used techniques. Take note that all these 3D printers are available in the market. For most large-scale 3D printers, extra care and training are needed to operate and to maintain them. If you are new to 3D printing then a printer with FDM technology may be a good level entry 3D printer for you.
1. For Plastic and Alumide Materials
1.1 Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM Technology
This is the most popular printing method and there are a lot of FDM printers available. FDM is affordable and it works by melting the material and forcing the melted material through a nozzle to 3D print a cross-section of an object. The material is placed layer after layer. The bed lowers for each new layer and this process repeats until the printed object is finished. Some FDM printers have two or more print heads to print multiple colors and follow overhanging areas of a complex 3D print. You can order or purchase FDM printers online.
1.2 SLS Technology
Laser sintering is another popular 3D printing technique which includes the fabrication of an object by melting layers of powder together to form an object or a design. This is a good technique to print detailed objects and designs and the creation of complex and interlocking forms. Let’s check out FDM vs. SLA here.
2. For Resin or Wax Materials
If you want to use resin or wax, you need techniques that use the technology called photopolymerization. In this technique, the photosensitive resin is solidified by using UV light. Photopolymerisation is used by different 3D printing processes like the following:
2.1 Stereolithography or SLA
In this technique, a vat of curable photopolymer resin is used. The plate descends in small increments as the liquid polymer is exposed to light. The UV laser draws a cross-section one layer after another. The process is repeated until a model is completed.
The object is 3D printed by removing the object from the resin which creates space for the uncured resin at the bottom of the container and can. Then the next layer of the object is formed. Another way is to pull the object down into the tank as the next layer being cured on the top.
2.2 Digital Light Processing or DLP
DLP is a projector used to cure photopolymer resin. This is similar to SLA but instead of using a UV laser to cure the photopolymer resin, a light bulb is used. Objects are created similarly to SLA with the object pulled out of the resin that creates space for the uncured resin inside the container. The next layer is formed and cured at the top.
2.3 Continuous Liquid Interface Production or CLIP
A continuous sequence of UV images created by a digital light projected is used for this technique. The images are generated by a digital light projected using an oxygen-permeable, UV transparent window under a liquid resin bath. The dead zone above the window maintains a liquid interface. Above the dead zone, the curing part is removed from the resin bath.
3. For Metal Material 3D Printing
DLP and lost-wax casting technique let objects to be printed in 3D. First, a wax model is printed. Then a lost-wax casting technique or a mold is made around the wax before this is melted and filled with silver, thus creating the object.
4. Direct Metal Laser Sintering or DMLS
This uses a laser to sinter metal powder. The laser is used to aiming and trace a cross section of the object one layer at a time. This is similar to the selective laser Sintering technique. This is also a good way to print objects and designs in great detail and create complex and interlocking forms.
5. Electron Beam Melting or EBM
This uses an electron beam as the power source rather than a laser to 3D print metal. An electron beam melts metal powder one layer at a time in a high vacuum environment. This can achieve full melting of the metal powder to create high-density metal parts thus retaining the material’s properties.
6. 3D Printer Selecting
The 3D printer that we recommend to use is Dremel Digilab 3D45 3D Printer that is an award winning 3D printer and it is one of the best 3D printers in 2018 as well. This 3D printer is an idea builder with heated build plate to print Nylon, ECO ABS, PETG, PLA at 50 micron resolution with a high quality standard.
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