3D Printing is recognized as “additive manufacturing” and it is seen to be very interesting to people. The process involves image of a 3D object (known as model) located in a computer and making real physical object.
Different sorts of materials can be used for its production, like ABS, PLA, plastic, biological materials etc. Print head puts different layers of the printing material layer by layer which results in real object. Often used software is 3D CAD software ranging from amateur level as Google Scetch Up to professional as AutoCAD or Solidworks etc. Users also use readymade models online and download then for free as at thingiverse.com. 3D Printing can be found in different environments as design agencies, schools, prototyping agencies or at home settings.
Professional 3D printers are used for over twenty years in commercial settings, costing several hundred dollars but in past few years it’s making giant steps forward. Technological improvements leaded to printers costing several hundred dollars and more.
More details on 3D printing principles
Different types of 3D printers exist today and many of them use different technology and materials but all of them have one basic role to fulfill and that is to make/print objects. Almost all models put very thin layers of material on top of each other.
First step in this process is to design 3D image of an object with usage of CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This model is rendered and sliced into many layers (few hundred to thousands, depending of object size). Layers may vary from 0.01 microns to 0.04 microns.
One 3D printing model uses UV light to cure layers of material, cheaper models involve hot print head that melts ABS or PLA plastic and some models use light and oxygen as in Carbon3D explained by chief executive Prof Joseph DeSimone.