We all at least once in our life used the printer and we know very well that with its help you can print any image on paper. Such a phenomenon as three-dimensional printing is heard very often in recent years. This will be discussed in today’s article. We will tell you what this technology is, why it is needed and how it can be applied in everyday life in various spheres of life.
- What is a 3D printer?
- A bit of history
- What is a print like on a 3D printer?
- What are 3D printing technologies?
- Spheres of application of 3D printing
1. What is a 3D printer?
In simple words, a 3D printer is an electronic device through which you can create objects from a wide variety of materials in three-dimensional space (that is, height, width, and depth): a stand for soap, a children’s toy, a gas turbine compressor, organic fabrics, a phone case – all these and much more can be created using 3D printing technology.
2. A bit of history
It should be noted that although the three-dimensional printing gained its popularity quite recently, in fact, it was invented many decades ago. Let’s go back 35 years, in 1984, it was then that Charles Hull company developed the technology of three-dimensional printing. This company was the first in the world to understand how objects can be reproduced using digital data. Literally two years later, Charles Hull specialists put on the market the first ever industrial 3D printer. And in 1988, the first ever 3D home printer, the SLA-250, was created; it was designed by 3D Systems company.
Three decades after these events, we have an improved technology of three-dimensional printing, with which it is possible to print almost any object, even from organic materials (blood vessels, body parts, etc.), but let’s talk about this a little bit later.
3. What is a print like on a 3D printer?
The basis of this technology is the principle of gradual, or rather layer-by-layer application of consumables to create a certain object, which is literally “grown” in the printer. The main advantages of three-dimensional printing over traditional methods of producing various objects are higher speed, the simplicity of the process (everything should be adjusted only once), as well as relative cheapness.
For example, in order to create an object (for example, a children’s constructor-toy) by hands, it may take a lot of time (weeks, or even months). Before to proceed directly to the production process itself, first we need to carry out design work (diagrams and drawings), which, by the way, will still not be able to give a full vision of the final result. As a result, development costs significantly increase, the elapsed time increases, which should be spent on preparatory work before the start of mass production.
With the help of three-dimensional printing technology, manual work can be completely eliminated. The software allows you to immediately see how the final product will look on the computer monitor, which excludes the need in paper drawings. Therefore, you can quickly eliminate all the flaws that occurred during the development phase. As practice shows, with certain experience, simple models of objects can be created in just a few hours. You should also take into account the fact that when using three-dimensional printing, the possibility of errors that are inherent in manual work, is practically excluded.
4. What are 3D printing technologies?
It should be noted that this industry is actively developing, so there are several technologies on the market that allow creating various objects using 3D printers.
- SLA technology. With the help of a laser beam, the consumable material (photopolymer) is melted, then it hardens and is perfectly amenable to gluing and additional processing.
- SLS technology. It consists of gluing powder reagents under the influence of a laser.
- DLP technology. Equipment of this type uses the principle of digital light processing. It is also worth noting that photopolymer resins are used as consumables in such 3D printers.
- EBM technology. After many years of research, engineers have come to the conclusion that a unique material – metal clay it is best to use for three-dimensional printing of metal objects. It is made from metal shavings, water and a mixture of organic glue. Then this ink is placed in certain conditions, under which water and glue evaporate, and the metal shavings turn into a monolithic object.
- HPM technology. With its help, it is possible to achieve the greatest mechanical, thermal and chemical strength of the produced parts from thermoplastic.
5. Spheres of application of 3D printing
With the help of 3D printers, it is now possible to create real buildings, and experts in this field assume that in the near future it will be possible to significantly speed up and simplify the process of building new houses on an industrial scale. California engineers developed a large 3D printer that looks like a construction crane. This “crane” can independently, without the participation of people, build a two-story building in 20 hours. After that, people only need to do finishing works.
3D printers are successfully used in medicine. For example, using this technology, doctors were able to get an exact copy of the human skeleton, on what they can work out various techniques and hypotheses. This will allow achieving a higher percentage of successful operations. A few years ago, scientists from Germany were able to print human skin. For it, a special gel was needed that was previously obtained from living human cells. Back in 2011, scientists were able to make a living internal human organ – a kidney.
Because of the higher speed and accuracy, 3D printing is actively used in the field of prosthetics, as well as dentistry.
As you can see, the technology of three-dimensional printing can be used in almost all spheres of human activity. Already now, 3D printers can easily print children’s toys, various accessories, furniture, clothing, whole houses, artificial limbs, human organs and much more. Considering that this technology is actively developing, who knows what else it can offer us in the future.
Subscribe to The Coin Shark news in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coinshark/