What is a 3D Printer?

What Is A 3D Printer?

When a printer is capable of printing the desired product into 3-dimensional model then it is known to be a 3D printer. The printer prints the desired output layer by layer, cutting and binding the material. The whole process of printing the desired product is also known as rapid prototyping.

The working principle of the printers is the same. A material will be heated to a certain temperature until the material melts. For different materials, the temperature might vary. As the printer melts the material, it is cut through by various means like knife or laser, depending on the printer, to form the desired model.

3D Printer

Most of the 3D printers work on the same principle regardless the different material and techniques used.

Before going into deeper analysis of the printers, one should get through with the history of the printers and how was it invented.

History of 3D printers

You might find the printing technique to be relatively modern, but the idea was proposed way back in the year 1981. The idea came into reality when Charles Hull invented and developed the world’s first 3D printer in the year 1984. Mr. Hull, in fact, founded the company, 3D Systems, in 1986 which is the leading manufacturer of 3D printers today.

With the invention done in 1986, developments took place rather at a rapid rate and many types of 3D printers were produced. One of the most significant printers were SLA printers, also known as Stereolithographic machines, invented in 1992.

With further innovation and progress in the 2000s, the 3D printers got a huge commercial bump with as many as 10 different types of 3D printers being invented.

The paragraph gives you a gist on how the 3D printers found their way into the modern world. It’s important to know how the printers work.

Working of a 3D printer

There are 3 basic steps to get your product printed by the printer.

The primary step towards printing is to generate a file of the desired product which is recognizable by the printers. The majorly accepted file types can be generated by CAD software or 3D scanner. You can also find free 3D printing files online which are easily downloadable. When you are ready with the file, you may proceed to the next step of printing.

The secondary step is basically the part where the printing is done. Depending on the product you desire, you need to choose the material used for printing. Many materials are used in the printing process which includes, plastics, ceramics, powder and metal sheets as well. With the printers also having the finishing options available, you will achieve a precise and accurate product in the end.

The last and final step of the printing process is the finishing part. People who have a proper skill set and tools are usually entertained to manage the finishing the product. The printing undoubtedly gives you a finished and polished product but these can’t be directly given to the customers as the product would need sanding or painting or any other polishing before delivery which is done by the particular set of people.

Applications of 3D printers

Many uses and applications of the printers are found in the market.

The printers can be found from jewelry making industries to the military purposes. From textile and clothing industries to the food industries. All industries do have some or the other applications in them for 3D printing.

Since the printers have the capability to print small, complex parts they are also used in the medical sector for various medical implants.

Environmental issues

Many environmental problems have found their way through for the printers. It was found that, when the printer starts the printing process, the emissions produced by the printer goes way above the level set by various organizations.

Basically, depending upon the material used, the level of toxicity goes up and the emissions produced might even lead to dangerous diseases like asthma.

How Does A 3D Printer Work?

3D printing can be explained as the process of making solid three-dimensional objects with the help of a digital file. This is done using a lot of additive processes. The excessive layers of the materials are laid down in such a process.

The manufacturing methods that are used nowadays use a lot of excess material that is more than the necessary amount whereas 3D printing helps with getting the complex shapes more easily.

The creation of a model or a frame starts from the computer itself. The design that is portrayed in the image is done with the help of Computer Aided Design also known as AID. Basically, it uses the means of software or a scanner to create the ultimate model that is to be taken into consideration. The scanners prove their efficiency by creating a copy of the object coming out of the printer.

It is more like creating a prototype; say, a prototype of a building or a garage or anything. The basic things needed for building a house are solid blocks, carves etc. So, the entire focus would be on gluing the wood into the desired shape and creating mini replicas to find out how and where would it fit, but to add much to your woes, a 3D printer doesn’t follow this particular fashion.

If you have ever seen an inkjet printer, this is what a 3D printer looks like. The 3D printers are capable of building layers after layers at one time. The process takes place in a different manner as the layers are manually formed from bottom to top, vertically downward and so on. This method is known as fused deposition modelling in which the printing is done at one place continuously. These tiny layers stick along the whole time to form a subsequent layer. With the help of the correct mechanism, all the functionalities can be brought up in one place like a bike with all its different parts. With the help of 3D printing, it has become a lot easier to produce complex objects.

Limitations of 3D Printer

Buying and installing a 3D printer is very easy but the cost produced for every part is higher. The 3D printers are nowhere equivalent to the smooth machines running freely in the industries but it’s certain that the price will go down and varieties will increase in mass too.

Advantages of 3D Printer

They are almost 10x times faster than the present day methods used for printing and also friendly to pockets as they are cheaper. In case a prototype is needed very quickly, a 3D printer can come to the rescue and serve the purpose correctly. If there is a need for a high-end printer, they are generally more expensive than the rest. Their other features include their size, efficiency, and being handy and very easy to use.

Some of the cons associated with 3D Printers

  • There are always two sides to a picture and hence, there are also a few drawbacks of having a 3D printer as the models and products coming out of them are comparatively low in quality than the machines serving on the higher end.
  • The material choice often gets limited because of its bad feature of consumption.
  • The texture and the accuracy are also affected when it comes to processing designs and finished goods.

Applications of 3D Printers

Well, a 3D printer comes bundled with a lot of applications for it in different sectors. They have a high ton of astonishing uses all across, and with the modern technology, it has volunteered a lot more than it would have 25 years ago.

A 3D printer is used in aerospace and defense, educational purposes, in the medical field, for creating personalized models, creating prototype, manufacturing, modeling, and the list is infinite and goes on and on.

Future of 3D Printers and 3D Printing

It has been taken into consideration that there is a plenty of usage of these printers like in construction and manufacturing etc that will drive the economy to a whole different level in no time. It is also believed that 3D printing will provide the privilege of making your own things very soon. The 3D printers are also going to wave their flags in the field of productivity as in such cases the cost of production will be low thus leading not only to higher demands but also help in achieving lower cost for the bulk material produced turning it as an advantage for the consumers, manufacturers, etc.

3D Printer PicturesImage of 3D PrinterPicture of 3D Printer

Pictures of 3D Printer

Photo of 3D Printer

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the 3D printers are a boon to the world. While it makes the expensive products cheap and affordable, it can also print products which are small in size. The printers can also print products which have high complexity easily and efficiently without much of errors.

The major drawback to the printers is the toxicity level which they emit. Measures and innovations are going under to bring down the toxicity level.

All in all the printers are at the heart of most of the commercial industries and hence are very useful innovation.

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