3D Printing

What is 3D Printing?

As the name suggests, the 3D printing process (also called additive manufacturing) involves the use of specialist CAD software and printer which deposits material over a number of layers to create a desired, 3D shape.

3D printing is commonly used in rapid prototyping to test designs as it can quickly “bring designs to life”

3D Printer

3D Printing Process

Like most normal ink printers, 3D printers use a variety of technologies and come in various shapes and sizes; but they all begin with the creation of a CAD (Computer Aided Design) part which can programmed and sent to the printer to control the movements and deposition layers of the printer.

Simply put, a plastic/polymer (like the ink in a traditional printer) is deposited down (printed) in layers to generate the shape required.

3D Printer

Types of 3D Printing

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) / Fused filament fabrication (FFF)

This is the most common type of 3D printing, where a thermoplastic polymer; in a filament form, is heated and deposited through a nozzle, layer by layer, to form the complete shape.

Stereolithography (SLA) / Digital light processing (DLP)

These two processes use photosensitive resins in liquid form, which are then heated with a laser or under UV light, which cures the material into a solid at each point the laser of light hits

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

This process uses a bed of powdered polymer material, which is then hit by a laser to melt the powder particles and fuse them together to form the solid object.

Examples of 3D Printed Parts