At Tripomaker, our mission is to make additive manufacturing accessible to everyone. In the past years we have gathered a tremendous amount of information on the 3D printing sphere and we are willing to share it with you!
Are you a 3D printing enthusiast and are you getting started with 3D printing yourself? Do you want to learn about the techniques and benefits that bring products to life?
Keep reading to the end, we may just have the right thing for you!
GETTING STARTED WITH 3D PRINTING
- THE SERIES -
Additive manufacturing offers consumers and professionals the ability to create, customize and repair products. When used instead of traditional manufacturing methods it constitutes a great way to save money or time since products are brought to market in days instead of months. For those interested in rapid prototyping, 3D printing is extremely beneficial, allowing designers and businesses to get their products more quickly. How to start? Everyone is looking for a cost-competitive option that will deliver the best performance as efficiently as possible. If you’re not sure what process you need, this blog post will tell you.
3D printing technology is already a revolutionizing industry as it is making waves in the consumer market and professional workplace, changing the way we produce objects. The term ‘additive manufacturing” (AM) is increasingly used as a synonym for “3D printing”. It refers to a process by which digital 3D design data is used to build up a component in layers by depositing material. Every month we will share information that will help you chose the appropriate technology and guide you step by step in this exciting adventure!
PART 1: 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGIES
Additive manufacturing offers consumers and professionals the ability to create, customize and repair products. When used instead of traditional manufacturing methods it constitutes a great way to save money or time since products are brought to market in days instead of months. For those interested in rapid prototyping, 3D printing is extremely beneficial, allowing designers and businesses to get their products more quickly. How to start? Everyone is looking for a cost-competitive option that will deliver the best performance as efficiently as possible. If you’re not sure what process you need, this blog post will tell you.In today’s blog post we will discuss the seven different types of additive manufacturing processes. Materials can vary from technology to technology, but there are some common features for all additive manufacturing, such as the use of a special 3D modeling software. Step one of every process is the creation of a computer aid design (CAD) sketch. The additive manufacturing device reads data from the CAD file and builds a structure layer by layer from printing material.
The most widely used and cost effective method of 3D printing is a process known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). FDM printers use a thermoplastic polymer filament which is heated to its melting point and then extruded, layer by layer in a cross-hatching fashion to create the desired three dimensional object. This thin layer of plastic cools and hardens immediately binding to the layer beneath it. This process is the primary technology that we will discuss more thoroughly in our blog. If you are interested, stay tuned to our monthly posts!
2. VAT PHOTOPOLYMERIZATION
The VAT Photopolymerization Process is a method in 3D printing that exposes liquid polymers to ultraviolet (UV) light, in order to turn the liquids into solids. Curable resins are used for the process. First, a 3D design is created in a 3D software. Then, the 3D printer is using digital light technology to harden the liquid material layer by layer. This process of draining and exposing to UV light is repeated until the object is complete, leaving a solid 3D object of the desired shape.
The VAT Photopolymerization Process is divided into two distinct technologies whose major difference is the light source:
- The DLP, or Digital Light Processing is using a UV Beamer to solidify the plastic pattern layer by layer.
- The SLA or Stereolithography is using an Ultraviolet Laser to solidify the plastic pattern layer by layer.
PolyJet 3D printing Process is similar to inkjet printing, but instead of jetting drops of ink onto paper, PolyJet uses layers of curable liquid resins onto a build tray. Liquid photopolymer plastic is sprayed for each new layer and is cured once it falls into place.
4. BINDER JETTING
Binder Jetting uses a wide range of material types such us ceramics, polymers and metals. Inkjet print heads apply a liquid bonding agent onto thin layers. By gluing the particles together, the part is built up layer by layer. Parts in full color are possible when a colored print is desired.
5. POWDER BED FUSION
The Powder Bed Fusion Process uses polymers, metals, and ceramics and includes the following commonly used techniques:
- Selective laser sintering (SLS) and Selective laser melting (SLM). This process uses lasers to melt and fuse material powder together.
- Electron beam melting (EBM): During this process the powder bed is selectively melted layer by layer by an electron beam under high vacuum atmosphere.
6. SHEET LAMINATION
The Sheet Lamination Process stacks layered cut-outs and works effectively for paper, polymers and metal.
7. DIRECT ENERGY DEPOSITION
The Direct Energy Deposition Process is comparable to welding, the material and heat added simultaneously. This method works most effectively with polymers and metals. It is a more complex printing process commonly used to repair or add additional material to existing components.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE 3D TECHNOLOGY?
Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks. The main considerations in choosing a 3D printer are the speed, the precision, the quality, the cost, the choice of the materials and the color possibilities. The VAT and Polyjet processes are mainly used for high-precision and high-quality parts, like jewelry molds. Binder jetting and Power-Bed fusion are versatile enough to use a variety of materials.
At Tripodmaker, we are using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D Printers. The material extrusion process is the prominent technique used in desktop 3D printing for three main reasons:
- First of all because it’s clean and office friendly. There is no dust, no glue, no sticky liquid resins.
- Secondly, it has a low energy consumption as no high-powered laser or compressed air is required.
- Last, but not least, it is easy to maintain.
Our products have a full automatic calibration and they are incredibly fast due to our delta robot set-up as well as their limited weight. They come along with a Prisma Software and a heated bed that allows your print to stick better. The Tripodmaker has a rigid high quality designed structure. The resulting accuracy is a combination of hardware, software and extrusion. Getting started with 3D printing? Check out our professional TripodMaker Delta Printer.
3D printing may have a profound impact on the world as big as the industrialization. It is not easy to foresee its long-term impact, but the technology is coming and is likely to disrupt every field it touches. There are many applications for AM technologies including architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech, fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, research, food and many other fields that we will discuss on a different blog post. We hope you found this useful! Stay tuned for our next article in the series “Getting started with 3D printing”.