Technological innovations like 3D printing and 3D pens are taking the world by storm – perhaps a bit but still people are going wild after these pieces of technology. The technology underlies some efficient industrial aspects and processes we currently enjoy that are simply incredible. 3D printing is more than just easy and quick manufacturing. The rapid prototyping gives techies the freedom to work through the simplest design issues in just a matter of hours, whereas earlier it would take them weeks to finish a project.
The technology has come a long way and is now making its way to research labs, hospitals and many other important institutions where it can be of great help and benefit. But first, let’s see what this technology actually is and how it works.
What 3D Printing Is?
Chuck Hull is the brains behind this concept of 3D printing. He started it back in 1986. The process is creating a 3D digital while which you can turn into a physical object. Hull was in the process of launching the world’s largest 3D system. However, his technology was based on one single fabrication process known as the Stereolithography (SLA). Ever since then, the world has seen far more complicated and advanced technologies of 3D printing such as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)/Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Polyjetting and many others. These technologies rely mainly on the process of layer-by-layer fabrication. The computer feeds a code to the printer for further processing.
3D Pens – The Latest Form Of 3D Printing
3D pens are the latest creation, the latest form of a 3D printer. It does the same process as a printer, only you have the freedom to do whatever you want because you use it like any normal pen. You can create objects of your desired shape with your mind and hands.
The 3D pen requires a filament that is inserted in it. The pen has a heating system. Once you turn it on, it melts the plastic material and it comes out of the nob on the tip of the pen and you can shape an object the way you like.
Though the 3D pens are becoming increasingly popular, still they can’t come close to the printer itself. The printer will always have an edge when it comes to 3D objects, unless some new technology comes along.
How 3D Printer Works
You need to have a creative mind, a creative flair that goes beyond imagination. The first and foremost step of the process is forming an original idea with the help of digital modeling. You can use either animation modeling software or computer aided design (CAD) for the layering process.
No matter which program you choose for the process, you will be able to form the object’s virtual blueprint that you want to print. The object is then divided into cross-sections for the printer so it can easily build it layer by layer. The cross sections act as a guide for the printer itself. With the help of cross-sectioning, the object can be created in the exact same shape and size as you desire. Both these programs have a graphic editing feature in it called WYSIWYG. It means ‘What You See Is What You Get’.
If you have a creative mind, you can come up with some of the best looking designs but for those people who are not that idealistic, creative, they don’t have a wild imagination, they can always download designs from the internet for the process. There are many websites from where you can get ready-made designs.
Once the design is finished, send the file to the printer with STL, a standard file extension. The files consist of three-dimensional polygons. These are sliced into pieces to make it easy for the printer to comprehend the information and digest it.
Now the fun part begins. Mainly 3D printing is considered additive manufacturing. The printer creates a 3D object by adding material in the form of layers. In contrary to the ‘subtractive’ process in which the object that you are constructing needs to be cut into the desired shape, the additive process is more fun and exciting.
Once you send the final file to the 3D printer, you have to choose a material. the choice of material depends entirely on the type of printer you have. You can choose from plastics, rubbers, metals, polyurethane-like fabric, and a lot others.
The processing of the printer may vary from design. It depends on the object which we are looking to print and the type of printer, but the material being used for the object is mainly squeezed, sprayed or in some cases, transferred to a platform from the printer itself.
Once you printer receives the command, it starts constructing the object just as you desire. The heating process starts and once the material melts. Then it comes out of the nozzle to the platform and creates the object.
This is how 3D printing actually works. Indeed it is a great innovation to technology.