What is 3D Printing?

Icon photo of 3D printing.
Know here all about 3D printing. At it's most basic, 3D printing is a fabrication method used to additively manufacture parts.

3D Printing Technology:

The term 3D printing no longer represents one specific technology, instead it represents a variety of processes united around one common attribute-layer-based fabrication.

In contrast to traditional subtractive methods like milling and turning in which a machinist starts with a block of material and strategically removes it to form a part, 3D printers construct parts by starting with unformed raw material and building a part up layer by layer.

Minimal wastage of material:

They start from nothing, and end with a finished part with minimal wasted material along the way. Though it's seen as an up-and-coming technology, 3D printing isn't actually that new.

It was originally introduced in the 1980s as a method to quickly and cheaply produced near net shape parts, otherwise known as looks-like prototypes. It's risen to global prominence in the last decade as machines have become more affordable, accessible, and reliable, and more materials have become available.

Now seen as one of the tenets of industry 4.0, it's considered a rising star in the manufacturing space. These machines come in all shapes and sizes, and use a wide variety of processes to fabricate parts.

Fused filament fabrication (FFF)

Fused filament fabrication (FFF), the technology most commonly associated with 3D printing creates parts by melting and extruding filament through a nozzle. The vast majority of printers sold today are still FFF machines.

Curing machines, on the other hand, use lasers or projectors, to selectively cure resin layer by layer into solid parts. Laser sintering machines use lasers to fuse metal or plastic powder together while binder-jetting machines adhere similar powders with polymer binders instead.

These four technologies are the most common in 3D printing but are by no means alone. The first 3d printers could only print with a few varieties of plastic, however, nowadays hundreds of plastics, metals, resins, and composites are available.

Carbon Fiber:

From high-grade plastics like ultimate peak, to curable resins, to continuous composites like carbon fiber, or even metals like stainless steel and titanium, today's engineers have a wide variety of options when choosing what to print their part out of.

The expansion and available materials has led to a shift towards industrial applications. Many new printers are purpose-built to produce manufacturing grade parts.

These industrial machines represent the highest class of 3D printers. Beneath them, professional-grade machines offer reliability and accuracy with less robust materials, and hobbyist machines provide a low-cost customizable option for personal use and education.

Though it took more than 30 years to catch on 3D printing is proving to be a cost-effective and cutting-edge way to produce a wide variety of parts.

The machines use a largely automated workflow and can create complex geometries for no extra cost As manufacturing continues to modernize, expect to see a lot more of 3D printing So how does Markforged fit into this? At Markorged, we make industrial grade 3D printers capable of printing plastics composites, and metals.

They're reliable and easy to use, and can print parts capable of replacing machine components if you want more information on these machines check out the link in the description or visit markforged.com. Have a great day and happy printing.
Cite this article:
Jaiswal, V. (December 20, 2019). What is 3D Printing? . Mechanical Site (www.mechanicalsite.com). URL: https://www.mechanicalsite.com/2019/12/3d-printing.html