It goes without saying that technology has revolutionized how human beings live. Not only has it made it easier to do difficult and highly complex operations, but it has also ensured that things are done to perfection in the shortest time possible.
This industry has seen a number of innovations that have completely changed the way the industry operates and 3D printing is one of them. Not only does this printing technique take things to a higher level, but 3D printing is perhaps the biggest innovation in the printing industry in the 21st century.
This technology has made it possible to do printing on a totally different scale and level. Take for example printing high-quality images on things such as socks. This is something that could not be achieved with normal printers previously. However, you are able to do this today comfortably. One such website utilizing this technique is customweekend.com, which is an online store specializing in the art of delivering quality 3d printed socks to its consumers. What makes this website unique is that you are able to design or choose the desired design yourself, send it over to the website and they will print whatever you need to be printed exactly as you imagined. This coupled with the friendly prices for their services makes this online store the best in the market.
Just like the way this online store works, you will need to create a design of an object first using the software. Thereafter, the 3D printer will go ahead to create the object through different layers of material put together to form a definitive shape.
Sounds complicated? These overviews will give you an in-depth understanding of different 3D technologies used today.
Stereolithography is one of the technologies that has completely taken the 3D printing industry by storm. Basically, this technology makes use of liquid plastic as the sole source of material to create a 3D layer. But how does it work? You may ask.
Well, since the plastic is in liquid form, the resin is placed in a vat with a transparent bottom side. Once the liquid resin is placed on the transparent vat, a UV laser light is passed through it to map out a pattern. While the UV laser passes through the liquid resin through the transparent bottom, is consequently cures and dries off the liquid paraffin, layer by layer.
Once the layer is solidified, it is then dragged up slowly, but progressively by the use of a lifting platform. As this happens, the laser, on the other hand, continues to form different patterns on each layer in a bid to create the desired image in 3D form on an object.
Digital light processing (DLP)
This is another technology that has aided the printing industry to make great leaps in its endeavors. It is quite similar to stereo lithography. However, the two techniques differ from each other because digital light processing uses light, unlike SLA which uses liquid paraffin resin.
Even so, this technique uses a number of advanced technologies such as light which are unlike normal conventional lights. Additionally, the lights are controlled by the use of micromirrors. The micromirrors function by controlling and focusing the amount of light incident on the surface of the object to be printed on. Actually, this technology works in unison with the liquid crystal panel, which works best as a photo mask.
The best thing about this technology is that it allows for the use of a large amount of light to be projected on to the surface to be printed on. This makes the resin dry even faster, thus consuming even less time and saving more money in the long run.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Third on the list is Fused Deposition Modeling. This is another revolutionizing technology that works quite differently from the other two techniques. Essentially, FDM uses thermoplastic to built objects. The production-grade thermoplastic ensures that images are precisely produced on the target surface.
This technology works by heating up thermoplastic filaments until they reach a melting point. One the liquid filaments have completely liquefied, it’s then extruded on a layer by layer basis. With such ability, this technique can be used to create structures or images that are quite complex to build with other printing forms. For example, a 3D printer utilizing this technology can easily extrude a different material from the primary material, which aims at providing support for the targeted material while it’s being built. Once the building of the target material is over, the support material can then be removed or dissolved.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Unlike other techniques, selective laser sintering comes quite close in the manner in which it works to stereo lithography. However, the difference comes with the form of material used to create an image or the target object.
Selective Laser Sintering utilizes powdered materials to make them objects. Even so, the common factor is that the material is paced in a vat. Once the powdered material is placed in a vat, each layer is then created and placed on top of another by the use of a roller. Thereafter, each layer is sintered by the use of a laser ray. The sintering process aims at creating each layer in accordance with the desired pattern that conforms to the image being created. Interestingly, all the material that is being sintered does not go to waste. What the material does is that it provides support to the primary material being created. It can later be removed once the object being created is complete.