3-D Printing and 3-D Printers Basics

3 D printing is an advanced technology also popularly known as additive manufacturing. In this process, three dimensional solid objects are evolved from a digital file. Employing additive processes. In other words the object is created by laying down the given material in successive layers until the object is created in full. These layers when separated will look like the thin layer of horizontal cross-section of the object. There are other gadgets too that evolved along with printers that include 3D scanners and 3D printing pens, etc.

How 3D printers work

The process of 3D printing begins when you create the virtual design of the object you will make. The kind of design that will be useful for this purpose is like a CAD (computer aided design) file. You can create this CAD file with the help of a 3D modeling application or using a 3D scanner in order to copy an object that already exists. For instance, a 3D scanner can create a 3D digital copy of a given object.

How 3D scanners work

3D scanners deploy a variety of technologies to create a 3D model. Some of the technologies we can think of in these lines are modulated or structured light, volumetric scanning and time-of-flight. During the recent years, Microsoft and Google have manufactured hardware to do 3D scanning. For instance, the Kinect is Microsoft’s offering meant for this purpose. In future, we can easily digitalize real objects into 3D models.

About 3D modeling software

3D modeling software is available in several forms. You can get access to both industrial grade software that is available for a heavy price as well as many open source software like Blender for example. Before 3D printing an object, it has to be made as a 3D model also known as slicing. In this process, the given 3D model is sliced into hundreds and thousands of horizontal layers with the help of software. Once the 3D model is sliced, you can feed it into 3D printer. The 3D printer in turn reads every single slice of the 2D image and creates a three dimensional object.

3D printers

Venturing into 3D printing has to be approached based on your goals. In the first place, you must decide whether you look forward to the hardware or want to focus on creating 3D objects. You can either go for a 3D printer or a 3D printer kit. Cheap 3D printers can provide a smart starting point. There are seven types of 3D printing technologies.

Desktop 3D printers can support the 3D printing technologies like FFF or FDM and SLA. The former technology uses strings of plastic filaments as the printing material while SLA 3D printers make use of liquid resin. Though both these 3D printing technologies are almost the same, everyone cannot make use of the term FDM since it is trademarked by Stratasys.

SLA can otherwise be known as Stereolithography. Notably, this is the first ever 3D printing technique. SLA 3D printers can assure high resolution output. These printers are very popular among those who wish to print scale models and with minute details and can also be used for jewelry designers.

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