We all know about 2D printing, the process of printing on a flat surface in 2D with a traditional printer. 3D printing is the process creating three dimensional objects from digital files. This object is printed layer by layer on a 3D printer. It is booming and widely used in the automotive, medical, aviation and even food industry. The printing opportunities seem to be endless.
What is 3D printing and how does it work?
A 3D printer is a printer that prints physical objects, unlike desktop printers which print text and graphics onto paper.
The main components required for 3D printing are the print head (extruder), the motor and the build platform. Instead of ink, 3D-printers use a special plastic which is called filament. This filament is wound on a spool and led to the print head. The plastic filament is melted, extruded and deposited on the build platform to form the object layer by layer. Each layer is melted according to the model sent to the 3D printer.
Various shapes, technologies and materials are available. The most common filament types are acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA).
The first 3D printer was created in 1983 by Chuck Hull. Using a 3D pen, you can literally draw a 3D physical object in thin air. A quarter of Dubai’s buildings will have 3D-printed elements by 2030.
Advantages of 3D printing
Time-efficient: As long as you have a digital design, you can turn it into an object. A lot of objects (for example walls) can be printed in only one day, small houses can be printed in just one week. It is not only fast, but also cost effective. The production of parts only requires the materials needed for the part itself, with little or no waste. Environmentally friendly: because there are no (less) transport costs and no packaging materials needed.
With 3D printing, you can create a design adapted to your needs, shapes, or patterns.
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