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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

3D Printer Processes: Five Basic Functions

3D Printing

Three-dimensional printing or rapid prototyping is considered as a technology that creates a design out of a computer-aided method. Using 3d printers, different models are used. In fact, the output is utilized not only for creation of products for a consumer’s consumption. It can also be functional for relaying ideas to employees in a workplace.

These 3d modeling techniques make use of prototypes. But to make the work even faster, rapid tooling is also employed. Both small production runs and complicated object designs rely upon this type of technology. To make you appreciate more about this technological concept, take a look at its five basic processes.

The 5 basic processes behind 3d printers

Each company may employ different techniques to create 3d models. But from all these differences, there are also similar processes that are essentially included in production. These are the five basic functions adapted by businesses:

1. 3D model creation. This is that part of the process where the computer aided design software – CAD software – is used. The CAD software package creates 3d models out of a specified material. Solid modelers are said to be better than wire-frame modelers in that they produce more accurate models. As for design options, the designer chooses between an existing design and a pre-made design of the client.

2. STL-format conversion. After creating the models from the software, they are converted to stereolithography or STL format. In this part of the process, complicated parts need to be given much attention. Since the STL format cannot represent curved areas, increasing the number of triangles will be needed. The designer should focus on manageability and accuracy to have a useful design file from the STL format.

3. Slicing of the STL file. This is the process where the 3d model is adjusted depending on its size, location and orientation. The STL model is sliced or divided into several parts that range from .01 mm thin to .07 mm thick. An auxiliary structure is also produced in the process. This will help support 3d models during the building process.

4. Layering. Also known as the layer by layer construction, this is the process where the part is actually constructed. The 3d printer builds the layer one after the other. Materials such as polymers, powdered metal and paper are utilized during the layering process.

5. Finishing. This is critical to the post-production process. It is just like polishing or applying varnish on furniture. In this process of 3d printing, the prototype is cleaned. It is done by removing it from the gadget while also considering the removal of detachable supports. Photosensitive materials need to undergo curing before they are actually used. Surface treatment such as sealing, sanding and painting may also be employed.

After knowing these processes in 3d printers technologies, it would be easier for you to understand the product’s real purpose. It also gives you an idea of how you may utilize it for your business or personal consumption. In short, these 3d modeling technologies make the model available for various applications.

Posted via web from SolidWild's posterous

1 comment:

  1. Improvements in technology for 3d printers systems has today allowed a significant range of companies (not just CAD designers) to use different materials (often low cost) instead of plastic or metals. Rapid Protoype useage is in the future getting higher quality and better value for money.