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3D Printing: An Evolution Of Printing Technology || Know all about 3D Printing

New Delhi, 26 December: 3D printing is something called additive manufacturing. Most manufacturing techniques we use today are subtractive manufacturing, i.e. you cut something away from a larger piece of material to make your finished product. A good example of this would be that clothing is made by cutting fabric away from a bolt of fabric, then sewing it together. A good example of additive manufacturing would be injection molding. Plastic is melted down, and the liquid plastic is pushed into a mold, and is allowed to cool into the shape of the mold. Injection molding still requires you to use subtractive manufacturing to carve out the shape of the mold, though.

Process of 3D Printing

3D printing works similarly to how 2D printing works. If you have ever opened the cover on your bubble jet printer while it was working, you would see a head scanning back and forth on a sheet of paper, and with each pass, a bit more ink was printed onto the page. By the time the page was fed all the way through the printer, the page had everything printed on it.

With a 3D printer, if we continue to think of the bubble jet printer, after the first page was printed, we reverse the sheet, and use more ink to print another layer. If you continue to do this, the layers of ink would build up, one on top of the other. If you then made your printing head so it could raise up above the paper, you could continue to put layers of ink on top of other layers of ink. Eventually, you could make a useful shape in this way.

How 3D Printer Works

One popular type of 3D printing is FDM printing, or fused deposition modeling, is kind of like freeform injection molding. A printing head, instead of carrying ink, carries an extruder, which melts and forces out plastic through a nozzle. Instead of this plastic being used to fill a mold, it is used to trace an outline, similar to a bubble jet printer, and this plastic outline is then filled in with plastic outlines as well. This plastic is allowed to cool, and then, another layer of plastic is extruded on top. By allowing the plastic to cool layer by layer, the printer gets rid of the need to have a mold to make the shape. Since you aren’t just filling a mold up with plastic that is very liquidy, and then worrying about cooling it once it’s in the mold, you have to be a bit more careful with putting each layer down, and there is more time involved. The main benefit is that you don’t need to spend extra time carving out a mold to begin with.

With a 3D printer, if we continue to think of the bubble jet printer, after the first page was printed, we reverse the sheet, and use more ink to print another layer. If you continue to do this, the layers of ink would build up, one on top of the other. If you then made your printing head so it could raise up above the paper, you could continue to put layers of ink on top of other layers of ink. Eventually, you could make a useful shape in this way.

 

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