3D Printing Technologies: An Overview

The 3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process that enables us to create a three dimensional solid object out of a digital file. It is done by adding successive layers of materials with the help of specific software until the desired shape is formed. This is in contrast to subtractive manufacturing, which cuts away layers of material from a solid block to form a 3D object.  However, in this article, we will concentrate mainly on the 3D printing technology and talk about the various applications available in the market.

A look at the advantages:

Now, let us first talk about some of the advantages offered by this technology. According to experts, the rapid prototyping is greatest among them. Earlier it took weeks and even months to create a prototype. But now it can be done within few days. Altering the design is no problem either. One does not need to start from the beginning. Therefore we can rightly say that, speed and flexibility are the two basic advantages, which in their turn lead to lower cost and higher quality, giving the user a competitive edge. As a result, we can now see a surge in the use of 3D printing technology in construction industry.

The scope for work is diverse:

However, 3D printing applications are not limited to the construction industry alone. In fact, every sector, including architecture, healthcare, medicine, fashion, electronics, aerospace, defense, automobile, maritime industry, chemical industry etc, has great use for it. In many modern educational institutes, the technology is regularly used to make the subject easier to understand. Student too can use the technology to make their projects livelier.

An insight into the varied modes of 3D printing:

But before we go any further let us talk about the various types of 3D printing technologies available today. Indeed there are plenty of them, out of which Stereolithography, technically known as SLA, comes first. The process makes use of liquid plastic as source material. Very similar to it is Digital Light Processing (DLP), which use light sources and liquid crystal display panel to create the design. Then there is Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), which use powdered material instead of liquid or light. Other processes include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electronic Beam Melting (EBM) and Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM).

One must not forget the printing machine:

However, all these technologies need printers to perform. Let us therefore talk about 3D printing machine.  As you realize, there are various types of it, each having its own advantages. Therefore before you embark on a shopping spree you will have to decide why you want to buy one.  For example, a student will need a less sophisticated tool than a researcher. Then again, an entrepreneur, working in the construction business, will need a different kind of machine than one involved in the automobile industry.  There is also a variation in the price. An entry level printer will naturally cost much less than one used in industries; however, it will also have limited use. Therefore, choose carefully and make sure that it meets your requirements.

This is a brief guide on the concept of 3D print and how it has helped modern business owners with simplified solutions for work. This technological development is of great use for commerce and industry.

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