Printing The Real World Objects – 3D Printers

Technology, 19 Nov - 2014 ,

Printing The Real World Objects – 3D Printers

Can you imagine you have a printer at home that takes material as input, 3-D model as instructions and gives the product of any customized design as output? The answer is yes.

Can you imagine you have a printer at home that takes material as input, 3-D model as instructions and gives the product of any customized design as output? The answer is yes. The common terminology and concept related to printing signifies the printing of text and images on paper or charts etc. but the world is going to rejuvenate the concept of printing from paper printing to the real world object printing that is known as 3D printing.

Early in the 1980’s the term coined as additive manufacturing, to build models and prototypes of the products is a predecessor of the 3D print technology. The technology involves the printing of real world 3D objects from the digital data created on specific computer aided software using the specific printers known as 3D printers. The technology was given by Charles hull in 1984 and the same was patented by him in 1986.

Real world object printing or 3D printing is a technology in which 3D objects are created from the 3D printers by laying down the layers of material supported by the printer one after the another (from 5 to 10 layers per millimeter) to create the object. The printers can support the materials like plastics, ceramics and metals. Auto-functional objects cannot be created till date but the scientists are working on it to create auto-functional objects directly from the printer.

Recently in Sudan, a project named as Daniel initiated by an American Mick Ebeling helped many victims of the war with the artificial prosthetic limbs that were printed using the 3D print technology. The artificial limbs printed are low cost, quickly printed and easily customizable and helped a lot to the victims to restart their lives.

 The desktop 3D printers i.e. printers that can be used at home are very cheap and easily customizable according to the need of the user. However, the commercial printers are somewhat costly but the running cost is so inexpensive that can easily be afforded. The main reason why the companies prefer the use of 3D printers is the cost, easy customization and anything of any design can be printed.  

Mainly the technologies used in 3-D printers are:-

1.      Stereo lithography – This technology uses liquid photo curable polymer for the creation of objects. A perforated platform is placed just below the surface of liquid polymer. A UV laser beam traces the first layer of the object on the liquid and hardens a very thin layer of the liquid on the platform and then the platform moves a bit downwards and the same process is repeated till the object is completely printed. The object is then rinsed with a solvent to get the exact finish of the object.

2.      Fused Deposition Modeling – It is most widely used 3-D manufacturing technique. In this technology a plastic filament is supplied from the coil of filament to the highly heated extrusion nozzle. It is just like the hot glue gun. The filament is melted and dropped on the platform. The nozzle is programmed with the software and is capable of moving in both the horizontal and vertical directions. The nozzle moves and drops liquid filament layer by layer which solidifies automatically and the process is repeated to create the final object.

3.      Inkjets – This technique uses single jet for each type of material that is stored in the liquid form in the storage unit attached to the printer. It is based on the technology used in the current inkjet printers. The liquid material is supplied to each jet and the head of the jets extrude tiny droplets of the material to create a layer of the object. The head moves in the x-y-z direction on the platform and accordingly sprinkles the drops of the material creating the layers of the objects till the object is fully completed.

These are various techniques that can be used in the printers for printing the real world objects. The technology can be used in innumerable industries like architectural, industrial, engineering, footwear, medical, aerospace, jewelry and even in agricultural implements.   

Scientific India Newsletter

Enter your email address:

© 2013-2014 Scientific India Magazine

Note: This website is for educational Purposes only.