3D printer and how it works

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology in which three-dimensional objects are created by successive physical layers. Compared with other additive manufacturing technologies, 3D printers have the advantages of high speed, low price, high ease of use and the like. A 3D printer is a device that can "print" out a real 3D object. It is functionally the same as laser forming technology. It uses layered processing and superposition forming, that is, by adding materials layer by layer to generate 3D solids, and traditional material removal processing. The technology is completely different. The so-called "printer" refers to its technical principle, because the process of layered processing is very similar to inkjet printing.

In recent years, the price of 3D printers has been able to afford SMEs, so that the prototype manufacturing process of heavy industry can be completed in the office environment, and different types of raw materials can be put into printing.

Because rapid prototyping technology dominates the market, 3D printers have great potential for production applications. 3D printing technology is widely used in jewelry, footwear, industrial design, construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical.

The printing process for each layer is divided into two steps. First, a special glue is sprayed on the area to be formed. The glue droplet itself is small and difficult to spread. Then spray a uniform layer of powder, the powder will quickly solidify and bond when it encounters the glue, while the area without glue remains loose. In this way, under the alternation of a layer of glue, the solid model will be "printed". After printing, the loose powder can be removed to "plan" the model, and the remaining powder can be recycled.

Printing consumables are converted from traditional inks and papers to glues and powders. Of course, glues and powders are special materials that are processed, which not only have a requirement for curing reaction speed, but also have a direct impact on the strength of the model and the resolution of "printing". The current 3D printing technology can achieve 600dpi resolution, each layer is only 0.01mm thick, even if the model surface has text or pictures can be clearly printed. Of course, limited by the principle of jet printing, the printing speed is not very fast. At present, the more advanced products can achieve a vertical speed of 25 mm per hour, which is 10 times higher than that of the earlier products, and can achieve color printing with colored glue. The color depth is up to 24 bits.

Due to the high printing accuracy, the quality of the printed model is naturally good. In addition to the design, structural and moving parts that can be represented on the profile curve. If used to print mechanical assembly drawings, gears, bearings, tie rods, etc. can be normally moved, and the shape and position of the cavity, groove, etc. are accurate, and even meet the assembly requirements. The printed body can also be polished, drilled, and plated. Further processing in other ways. At the same time, the powder material is not limited to sand materials, and other materials such as elastic expansion, high performance composite, investment casting and the like are available.

However, although the price of 3D printers is constantly decreasing, many manufacturers, design institutes, universities, etc. are starting or preparing to be equipped, but the price of the products is still high. 3DSystems' new InVisionLD entry-level desktop product is priced at $15,900, while ZCorporation's mid-range model Z510 is priced at $100,000. Fortunately, the cost of consumables for 3D printers is not exaggerated. For example, printing a mobile phone model costs about $20, which is much lower than other molding techniques.

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