How 3D printers Work

3D printing, a concept in development for over 20 years, is quickly becoming a reality for masses. From desktop 3D printers in every home to 3D printing of organs and car, this technology will impact how we buy, think, create and share.
3D printers replace ink with everything from plastic to chocolate to concrete, and instead of spitting out a flat ink-on-paper product, they stack thousands upon thousands of extremely thin printed layers on top of each other to create complex three-dimensional objects.

Take a look at its history, how it functions and the ways it’s shaping  our future.

What is 3D Printing?

A relatively new technology, 3D printing is the process of making three-dimensional solid objects from digital model. Emerging in late 1970s, 3D printing has drastically evolved to become the latest trend in printer technology.

In 1979, Dr Carl Deckard and Dr. Joseph Beaman developed Selective Laser Sintering, the use of a high power laser to combine small fragments of plastic, metal, glass, or ceramic to form a desired 3D shape.

Fused deposition modeling, dveloped by S. Scott Crump in the 1980s that involves the building of supportive structures around printed material that is then disposable.

Chuck Hull patented Stereolithography in 1987 which is the process of using resin and a laser to build objects, layers at a time.

All of these developments in the 3D printing process are called “additive manufacturing”, which is the technology that creates objects through a layering process.

How 3D Printers Work

  1. A model of the objects is created on a computer. Software analyses this model, taking a series of cross-sections and working out the distribution of space and solid matter within each layer.
  2. The 3D printer builds up the object, one layer at a time, using one of several methods. A bed of powder may be laid down and then solidified in certain places by squirting a liquid binder onto it(above); lasers may be used to fuse together powdered ceramic, metal or glass in selected areas; plastic may be squirted out of a nozzle to build up material in the appropriate parts of each layer; or light may be used to harden selected regions of a photosensitive gel. Some devices can use more than one material for each layer, or apply inks to produce multicolored objects.
  3. Once each layer is complete, the build tray is lowered by a fraction of millimeter and the construction of the next layer begins. When all the layers have been completed, any excess material is cleaned away to reveal the finished objects.

Printing Materials

Plastic, Metal, Ceramic Composite, Rubber, Paper, Sugar, Sand, Meat, Chocolate

Which Industries Benefit?

Food Industry, Machinery, Automotive Industry, Medical Industry, Dentistry, Toy Manufacturers, Wearable Fashion, Sex Toys

Advanteges of 3D Printing

  • Very Little wate
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Gives customer more control
  • Cheap production
  • Downloadable products

What are people printing (most popular to less)

  • Prototypes
  • Gadgets
  • Scale Models
  • Gifts
  • Phone Add-ons
  • Fashion Items
  • Replacements
  • DIY
  • Toys