You probably have seen one online and wondered how the 3D printer operates. Well, it is not rocket science and indeed not magic, but a 3D printer could change the way we approach design and manufacturing.
Just in case you are wondering how it truly functions, here are some of the basics of the 3D printer you should know.
What is a 3D printer?
A 3D printer is a tool that is used in three-dimensional manufacturing of a wide variety of objects. And this is done with the use of computer-aided designs. Many of the available brands come in different types, shapes, and sizes, but they perform one primary function, to replicate an actual image from a computer design. For this to be made possible, you would need to provide a base material for the machine to print.
It is like in the case of the paper printer, where you need to provide ink and paper for the machine to use in printing. We can refer to these printers as an additive manufacturing machine since it adds the materials in bits, depending on what you intend to create.
What are the Different Types of 3D Printers?
Just like with regular printers, 3D printers come in different types. The type of machine usually depends on the 3D printer file format or printing process it adopts. Some brands work well with large scale manufacturing, while others make it possible to include multiple colors and materials during the printing process.
The popular types of machine are
- Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)
While there are many others available, the four machines listed above are the most common types of 3D printers. The FDM is the easiest to grab for beginners, compared to the rest of them. The material used is usually an ABS or PLA plastic. The printer head melts down the content, and it is then released into the printer bed. These machines are inexpensive and can be quickly built from scratch with the right tools.
The Stereolithographic method is one of the oldest 3D printing methods. It involves the use of a laser to harden a liquid resin with the use of ultraviolet light. While these printers are fast and precise, the raw material, which is the adhesive is usually expensive. SLS and SLA are quite similar in operation, and the only difference is the base material. While SLA makes use of resin, you would need to make use of powdered material with Selective Laser Sintering.
In the case of LOM, the base material is paper or plastic, which makes it cost-effective compared to SLA and SLS. But you should know that 3D designs made from paper wear easily compared to the other methods.
Now that you know what a 3D printer is and the different types available, you should be able to say a few things about these incredible masterpiece printers.