First invented in the 1980s by Chuck Hull, an engineer and physicist, 3D printing technology – also called additive manufacturing – is the process of creating an object by depositing material, one layer at a time.
Compared to how an inkjet printer adds individual dots of ink to form an image, a 3D printer adds material where it is needed, based on a digital file.
Many conventional manufacturing processes were faced with cutting excess materials to partake, and this can lead to a loss of up to 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) per pound of useful material, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory of & # 39 ; e Energy Department in Tennessee.
In contrast, with some 3D printing process, about 98 percent of the raw material is used in the finished part, and the method can be used to make small components with plastic and metal powder, with some experimenting with chocolate and other foods. , as if biomaterials were equal to human cells.
3D printers have been used to create everything from prosthetic limbs to robots, and the process follows these basic steps:
· Create a 3D blueprint with software computer supported design (CAD)
· Prepare the printer, including refilling the raw materials such as plastic, metal powder and bonding solutions.
· Initiate the printing process through the machine, which builds the object.
· 3D printing process may vary, but material extrusion is most common, and it works like a glue gun: the printing material is heated until it flows and extruded through the print cap
· Using information from the digital file, the design is split into two-dimensional cross-sections so that the printers know where the material should be placed
· The nozzle deposits the polymer into thin layers, often 0.1 millimeters (0.004 inches) thick.
· The polymer solidifies rapidly, bonding to the bottom layer before the construction platform collapses and the printhead adds another layer (depending on the object, the hot process can take anywhere from minutes to days).
· After printing is complete, each object requires something to process, ranging from unsticking the object from the construction platform to removing support, to excessive powder.
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