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What is 3D Printing?

17/11/2020

Studio Victoria

3 minutes

3D printing is a technological advancement that has been around for decades helping industry sectors such as communications, imaging, architecture, and engineering. In today’s article, we are going to be diving into 3D printing and explaining what it is by answering the following questions: what is 3D printing? What are some examples of 3D Printing? How does additive manufacturing work? As well as covering 3D Modelling and drones Keep reading and find out about 3D printing and how it can help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!

WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?

3D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing (AM), is by definition the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model.

The additive manufacturing process achieves a three-dimensional object by using 3D object scanners or data computer-aided-design (CAD) software to layer materials and create accurate geometric shapes. The materials are layered, joined and solidified under computer control until the object is achieved therefore, additive manufacturing adds material to create an object.

WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF 3D PRINTING?

Various industries sectors have adopted 3D printing technology because it enables them to work more efficiently because of ease of manufacturing complex objects and creating custom designs. 3D printers can be owned and operated by anyone as there is a whole range of 3D Printers that come in various sizes enabling you to have one in your own home.

Here is a list of examples of 3D printed objects:

  • Replicated ancient artefacts
  • Prosthetics
  • An architect's model of a house
  • Dental products
  • Manufacturing tools
  • Prototypes
  • Furniture
  • Reconstructed evidence in forensic pathology
  • A maquette
  • Automobile spare parts

HOW DOES ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING WORK AND WHAT ARE THE PROCESSES?

As we mentioned above, additive manufacturing adds superfine layers upon layers of material creating three-dimensional objects. Working automatically, 3D printers will turn a 3D CAD drawing into a 3D model using materials such as molten plastic or powder where they are fused together with adhesive or ultraviolet light.

Below we will walk through the various additive manufacturing processes:

  • Sheet Lamination: there are two sheet lamination methods, one being ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) and the second being Laminated object manufacturing (LOM). UAM is known to be the low-energy pross as it uses low-temperature with various metals. Whereas LOM is suited more towards creating visual or aesthetic models as it uses alternate layers of paper and adhesive
  • Powder Bed Fusion (PBF): this technique is used in multiple AM processes such as selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), electron beam melting (EBM), selective heat sintering (SHS), and direct metal laser melting (DMLM). It melts ultra-fine layers of materials to create a 3D model, where excess powder is removed from the object when completed
  • Binder Jetting: the print head lays layers of powdered material and a liquid binder to act as an adhesive
  • Material Jetting: like an 2D inkjet printer the print head moves back and forth although material jetting print head moves to create 3D objects and layers harden as they cool or cured by ultraviolet light
  • Vat Polymerisation: this process uses a vat of liquid resin photopolymer to create an object layer by layer where the process of photopolymerisation occurs as ultraviolet light is reflected on to the resin layers using mirrors for them to cure
  • Material Extrusion: this process is one of the most common AM processes. It uses spooled polymers which are drawn through or extruded through a heated nozzle. The heated nozzle operates horizontally while the bed moves vertically, and the layers adhere through accurate temperature control or the use of chemical bonding agents
  • Directed Energy Deposition (DED): DED is similar to material extrusion however it is used for a wider range of materials like ceramics, metals, and polymers. It works by an electron beam gun or a laser being mounted onto an arm that melts wire, powder, or filament feedstock

3D MODELS WITH DRONES

With multiple ways of generating 3D Models. Our process usually involves using laser-based technology (LiDAR) with our drones. LiDAR produces highly accurate and detailed 3D Models and can be used to create 3D models of assets such as infrastructure, landmarks, land, buildings, and other natural and man-made structures. Giving you remarkable and accurate 3D presentations of your assets and offering a new point of view, you can learn more here.

As there are many uses for 3D modelling with drones, here we have created a list of some examples:

  • Creating fully interactive Digital Twins for Facilities Management
  • Assisting with the visual impact of a Brownfield Development
  • Helping with the content creation for promotional purposes
  • Generating an environment for video games, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Providing accident recreation for insurance claims in court
  • Allowing for preservation of historic landmarks and listed buildings

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