Working Principle of 3D Printing

3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing in which material is added layer by layer.

The main steps in 3D printing are designing the required model from CAD software or with the use of a 3D scanner and then converting it into the required file (example: standard tessellation language .stl file).

Then virtual slicing is done using slicing software so that material can be added in layers. Once the required design is ready, we need to import it into the computer software.

The software will then turn your design into a G-Code file. Then the saved file needs to be supplied through a USB stick into the 3-D printer.

Finally, model is printed by extruding molten plastic through a tiny nozzle that moves precisely according to computer control. It prints one layer, waits for it to dry, and then prints the next layer on top till a required three-dimensional object is formed.

The nozzle of the printer moves along three principal axes, i.e., x, y, z axes so that material can be deposited in layers according to the required shape. Parts with overhanging features need supports to be printed.

These should be cleaned by removing the supports after the model is completely printed. Depending on the size of the required object and the type of printer, a print usually takes about 4 to 18 hours to complete.

3D printed parts are rarely ready-to-use out of the machine, most of the 3D printers require post-processing, such as brushing off any remaining powder or washing the printed object to remove water-soluble supports.

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