The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
How does 3D printing work?
It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is for instance a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file. This CAD file is created using a 3D modeling application or with a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). A 3D scanner can make a 3D digital copy of an object.
Different types of 3D Printing technologies and Processes
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
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FDM printers use long plastic filaments.
The nozzle moves to place one layer of the heated material at the correct locations.
When a layer is drawn, the platform lowers by one layer thickness so the printer can start with the next layer.
A second (dissolvable) filament is used for building support material.
Stereolithography process (SLA)
The Stereolithography process takes place in a large tank and begins with a layer of liquid polymer spread over a platform.
Since this piqued polymer is UV-sensitive, a UV laser hardens the area that will become one layer of your 3D print. The rest of the layer stays liquid.
The platform is then lowered and the next layer is drawn directly on top of the previous one.
When the object is complete, it is raised out of the tank via the supporting platform with the excess liquid flowing away.
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