Technology

3D printing: answers to the most popular questions in 2022

Hubs.com, a custom manufacturing company, offers custom made parts, often using 3D printing technology. She recently analyzed Google search data to identify the top 10 technology-related questions people ask Google.

Although the press release lists the questions, they are used to illustrate the size of the market and notes that 3D printing has grown substantially, it does not attempt to answer them. This is where this article comes in. We’re going to walk around the table where we’ll answer all the questions in order of popularity, each in a few paragraphs.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a term applied to a form of manufacturing called additive manufacturing. Essentially, objects are built layer by layer, with each layer adding material on top of the previous layer. The process is very similar to printing on paper, except that the material (usually plastic) adds a third dimension.

This process is different from other manufacturing processes, which are often subtractive. They remove material to create an object. CNC machines are often subtractive, cutting through wood, plastic, or metal to create a finished object.

How much does it cost ?

The price range of 3D printers is quite wide. You can buy one for amateur use for less than $200, or you can buy a giant industrial machine for over a million. In practice, for home, office, and conceptual prototyping, you can buy very good quality 3D printers ranging from $200 to several thousand dollars.

The price is often determined by the size of the machine, its strength (whether it is made of steel or plastic) and the features that come with it. Among the slightly more expensive models, some have Wi-Fi, a camera, and various printing amenities such as automatic platform leveling.

How does a 3D printer work?

A number of technologies allow the use of additive manufacturing. The two most popular are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA).

FDM printers use rolls of plastic filament. This filament is threaded through the machine, a drive mechanism pushes the filament filament into a “hot end” that melts the plastic, and the extruder pushes the molten plastic onto the plate. A series of portals move the extruder around the plate to accommodate the filament, and the plate or portals move up and down as layers are added.

SLA printers work differently. They use a resin tank with a transparent bottom. Under the tank is a light source. This is usually an LCD screen, such as the one on your smartphone or tablet. Some of the pixels will light up, exposing the resin and causing it to harden. With each impact, the portal platform lifts the exposed resin from the transparent bottom of the tank, exposing the next layer.

Other 3D printing technologies include the use of molten powders, sand, and a host of other approaches, but are mostly limited to heavier industrial uses.

What can I do with a 3D printer?

Lots of everything from miniature houses for mock-ups to real houses and pretty much everything in between. In fact, if you can design an object for 3D printing and your equipment can handle it, you can make it.

More precisely, what can be done with a printer for less than 1000 euros? Resin printers produce amazing detail and are widely used by board games, miniatures, and railroad modellers to create model trains and accessories. They are also used to create product prototypes and physical layouts.

FDM printers do not produce small parts either, but many useful things can be made from them. I use it to make stirrups, bases and video stands. Automakers use them to create fixtures and fittings right at the factory. Warships use it to make spare parts. Schools make scale models of dinosaur skeletons to teach history.

What is PLA?

PLA, or polylactic acid, is a material for making plastic filaments. This is perhaps the most common 3D printing material as it is very easy to use. It adheres well to the build plate, it has no issues with temperature changes, it produces fairly clean objects that don’t require much post-processing, and it’s relatively environmentally friendly.

However, it does not hold the sun well. It can be a little brittle, and while quite strong, it’s nowhere near as strong as nylon or even ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), another common plastic. For example, Lego is made of ABS plastic.

Overall, PLA is a good general purpose printing filament, available at a relatively low price and in a wide range of colors and variations.

Who Invented 3D Printing?

3D printing is a technology concept that has been around for decades. Chuck Hull is considered the inventor of stereolithography in 1984. He took out a patent in 1986. But authorship is disputed. Japanese inventor Hideo Kodama applied for a patent in 1981 but was unable to fund it to the end.

An excellent article on the history of 3D printing is available on the All3DP website. Justin Haynes, author of the article, traces back to a science fiction short story written in 1945 by Murray Leinster that describes a pretty good prediction of what 3D printing will become. If you want to know more about the history of 3D printing, I recommend reading the article.

What materials are used for 3D printing?

Today, the most common material for 3D printing is plastic. Used in filament or FDM printing, it melts easily, extrudes smoothly, and solidifies when cooled. Therefore, it is especially easy to build objects with it.

Some manufacturers fill their filaments with particles of other materials. Wood thread is a plastic impregnated with wood and sands well. The copper thread is filled with copper bits that tarnish and polish just like real copper. Carbon fiber is, you guessed it, a plastic fiber impregnated with carbon fiber for extra strength.

Resin-printed objects begin life as liquid, moderately harmful resin. Light (especially some wavelengths of ultraviolet light), rather than heating and cooling, causes the resin to cure.

Other materials are also used in 3D printing. The 3D-printed houses are made from concrete that hardens in air after being pushed out of a system of movable gantry structures. Metal objects have been made using 3D printers that use metal dust (like sawdust, but metallic) that is either heated to form a bond or mixed with a glue-like substance to hold everything together. There are even 3D printers that extrude chocolate and other food to make 3D printed food.

Expect a lot of innovation when it comes to 3D printing materials. This is a growing area, especially as metal 3D printing becomes more convenient, affordable and widespread.

How to design for 3D printing?

Most 3D printed designs are created in CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs such as Fusion 360, Tinkercard, or Blender.

It’s basically drawing shapes on the screen, combining them, and creating objects from those shapes. When I first became interested in 3D printing, I wrote an article called “If you can work in PowerPoint, you can 3D design” because a lot of basic 3D printing design is just drawing and placing rectangles.

Blender is a free and open source project that provides professionals and other users with an all-in-one 3D modeling tool, as well as an animation and video editing tool for Hollywood-style creations.

  • Downloads: 19
  • Release date : 08.03.2022
  • Author: Blender Foundation
  • License: Free license
  • Categories:
    Multimedia – video
  • Operating system : Linux – 64-bit Windows – XP/Vista/7/8/10/11 – Windows Portable – XP/Vista/7/8/10/11 – macOS

Personally, I use Tinkercard for quick and easy designs. It’s very fast and easy to learn and use, and if I’m creating a relatively simple object and want to do it quickly, Tinkercard (free) is a great option.

Autodesk Tinkercad is a completely free online 3D creation and modeling service offered by the famous AutoDesk editor to which we owe the AutoCAD software. You will learn everything you need to know about 3D creation.

  • Downloads: 96
  • Release date : 04/25/2022
  • Author: Autodesk
  • License: Free license
  • Categories:
    Multimedia – Office – Development – Education
  • Operating system : Online Service All Internet Browsers – iOS iPad

When I design something more complex, I turn to Fusion 360. Not only is it more powerful, but it also uses something called “parametric design”. This is a function that allows you to assign variables to dimensions, and by changing the number assigned to the variable, the size of the entire project is changed.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a cloud-based collaboration platform for CAD, CAM, CAE and PCB design tools. This allows you to manage a project from concept to completion.

  • Downloads: 120
  • Release date : 20.07.2022
  • Author: Autodesk
  • License: Demonstration
  • Categories:
    Utilities – Development
  • Operating system : Android – Windows – iOS iPhone/iPad – macOS

What is 3D printing used for?

The answer has already been given, but when googling it differs from “What can I do with a 3D printer?” “. Instead of listing a bunch of other things you can build, I’ll share my tips with you as you get started.

3D printing is far from magic. Each object must be built from a set of shapes. It is not enough to wave an artist’s brush to get a picture of a master. Just like painting, 3D printing requires a certain level of design and effort. In the same way as when painting, you should remember about the support. You cannot create large open areas with molten plastic, otherwise the plastic will simply sag. Instead, you need to design “props” or other ways to handle the material properties of the plastic.

3D printing is used for rapid prototyping, product design, small batch production, hobbies, home crafts, and more. It excels at creating low cost customized solutions. But to get a 3D printed object, you either need to buy or download an already created object, or design it yourself in a CAD program.

Source: .com

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