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What is 3D Printing?

3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing is the process of making a solid object from a digital CAD file. This solid model can be achieved in a number of ways but all involve splitting the CAD file into many layers. These layers are then printed by laying down your chosen material on top or below of each other to create the final model.

3D Printing is disrupting traditional manufacturing methods as you have very little waste from machining, overflow etc and in many cases can be quicker to manufacture. As such, you can produce prototypes or functional parts with much less material wastage than traditional methods.
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How does 3D Printing work?

How does 3D Printing work?

Typically you will create your CAD file then use a 3D Printing software (typically supplied by the manufacturer) to slice your model into layers, create supports, check build times, layer resolution etc.

Once this is achieved the file is transferred to the printer (either via network, Wi-Fi or USB dongle and the print commences.

History of 3D Printing

History of 3D Printing

For thousands of years, humans have traditionally used subtractive methods of manufacturing. Whether it be using flint to create an arrow head, or a milling machine there is a lot of waste.

Most business' now use 3D Printing to complement their traditional manufacturing processes and the 2 methodologies work together depending upon quantity, quality, material properties & speed of the parts required.

The Future of 3D Printing

The Future of 3D Printing

3D Printing is becoming more accurate, faster & cheaper with every iteration making it an even more viable sole manufacturing solution. With the adaption of Topology Optimisation (Simulation led design) the lightweight shapes created are becoming more organic & the ability to manufacture these shapes by traditional manufacturing techniques is increasingly difficult.

This poses no problem for additive manufacturing however as any shape can be created.

Types of 3D Printing Technology

FDM

FDM
Fused Deposition Modelling

BMD

BMD
Bound Metal Deposition

SLA

SLA
Stereolithography

DLP

DLP
Digital Light Processing

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