3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology. It is the most common of all types of manufacturing in this category. The popularity of 3D printing can be attributed to the fact that it is cost-efficient, produces high-quality products, produces several products with the same features, and can be used for limitless applications. For this reason, 3D printers (imprimante 3D) are used in a wide range of industries like the healthcare sector, education, architecture, food, and clothing industry, to name a few.
The process of 3D printing
Below is an explanation of how 3D printing works;
1. Creating the 3D blueprint or model
The first step of 3D printing is creating the blueprint. This is done using a computer-aided design, known in short as CAD. This step requires creativity. This is because there is no limit to the type of design you create. You can use a 3D printer to manufacture any item, from household items to robots, musical instruments, and clothes. Note that you need some technical know-how when creating the model as you will be using a CAD program.
2. Slicing the model or blueprint
After creating the model, the next step is to decode it into information that the 3D printer can understand. Note that the printer is not designed to understand the complex CAD model designs. For this reason, slicing or decoding is required. Each layer of the model will get scanned, and decoded information is fed to the printer in this process. This work is done using the slicer. The slicer will make sure all the essential information is interpreted and fed to the printer.
3. Preparing the printer
After feeding all the necessary information to the printer, the next course of action is to prepare the printer for the process. Here, it would help if you did things like refilling the raw materials. Various raw materials like plastic and metal can get applied. After feeding the raw materials, the next step is to prepare the build platform. Depending on the type of printer and the kind of product you are looking to produce, you may have to use an adhesive. Using adhesive will prevent movement and warping caused by heat produced while printing.
Once the printer is prepared correctly for the printing process, all you have to do is hit the printer’s print button, and the machine will start working immediately. Here, there is nothing much you can do other than to wait for the process to wind up. Note that 3D printing usually takes a lot of time, especially if the product is large or intricate. The printing process usually involves a series of procedures, like material extrusion and heating. Once the product is printed, you also have to wait for it to get cold. This is because the process involves heat, and the raw materials are usually heated before they are extruded.
Note that the process of 3D printing may differ from one machine to the next. This is because there are various types of 3D printers in the market. Regardless, the steps mentioned above are standard for all kinds of 3D printers.