3D Printing: A Newbie’s Guide to 3D Printing

3D Printing: A Newbie’s Guide to 3D Printing


A few years ago, if you need to get some prototyping work done for a product or design you are working on, you are required to spend a lot of man-hours just to come up with the model. Those hours will be spent creating miniature parts of your design using wood and then gluing all those parts together painstakingly. Prototyping is, at the very least, time-consuming and extremely tedious.

These days, however, you can take the tediousness and the time investment out of your prototyping tasks through 3D printing. 3D printing is a revolutionary method for creating 3D models with the use of inkjet technology. Many engineers have even dubbed 3D printing as the process of creating something out of nothing.

How 3D Printing Works

So how does 3D printing work? There are many technologies involved in 3D printing though many of the 3D printers available today work using inkjet technology. Basically, what a 3D printer does is to render the image fed to it by special graphics software. Using fine powder such as plaster, resin or cornstarch, a 3D model is created by building cross-sections of the image layer upon layer.

To make these layers stick, adhesives can be applied to each layer so that the layers atop it would bind together as the 3D model is created. Some printer models make use of ultraviolet lamps to cure the model. Other printers use laser to fuse the powder together.

Depending on the size of the 3D printer, it is highly possible to create anything through 3D printing. Through this kind of printing technology, there is no longer a need to make prototyping tedious and complicated. This process can definitely finish a prototyping job in a matter of hours instead of days and with a lot less effort in the building as well.

Applications of 3D Printing

There are so many applications of 3D printing today. Engineers and architects can make their product and design models as well as their mockups using 3D printers. Artists can create small sculptures and figurines through this new printing technology. Jewelry designers can make unique jewelry pieces with 3D printing.

Educators can entice students to learn more about subjects like chemistry, mathematics, history, physics and others with the help of 3D models. In archaeology, scientists can create replicas of relics they need to study with 3D printing, thus lessening the need to handle original objects that can be priceless.

One of the most important applications of 3D printing is in the medical field. With 3D printing, surgeons can create mockups of areas of their patient’s body that needs to be operated upon. By practicing certain surgical procedures on a mockup before the actual surgery, physicians can perfect the procedure, if not lessen the probability for error in the process.

3D printing has completely revolutionized prototyping and the creation of models in many fields. While 3D printers are more commonly seen today in offices and industrial premises, it would not be long before they became a mainstay in households.

This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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