How Does 3D Printing Work Step By Step?
3D printing is an ever-changing and expanding field. If you are just starting out, the number of possibilities and applications may seem so vast, it can be a bit overwhelming when you are just starting to learn about this technology. It is a versatile method, but you might be surprised how simple the concept and process are. New softwares are made to simplify the workload such as 3D printing management software, slicer, etc. 3D printing cloud monitoring is an advanced feature that is used nowadays to control and monitor the workspace. Let’s understand the complete process in detail.
Explain – What Is 3D Printing?
3D Printing or additive manufacturing is the process of creating a physical object from a digital file. This is performed systematically by adding layers on the top of it. The technique reads the digital files (i.e. g-code) from a computer which describes how to add layers to build a three-dimensional product correctly. This is why it is also called additive manufacturing.
Detailed Explanation – How does a 3D printer work?
The printing process starts with designing a graphical model of the object/prototype to be printed. These designs are made by using Computer-Aided Design software such as TinkerCAD, Fusion360, and more. For complex objects, these models are often tested extensively in simulations for any potential defects in the final product. Of course, if the item to be printed is purely decorative, this is less important.
Once you have a design, you need to send it to the 3D printer. There are two options for this, either you send an STL file (usually from software such as Autocad), or you can send a file that can be read by an open-source 3D printing software. You can control and monitor using 3D printing cloud monitoring and management software.
The software then converts it into instructions that the printer understands is called an online slicer. These instructions have to describe how layers are printed one on top of the other to build the object. Also, on the 3D printer, multiple heads are used to provide different colors/materials (some models allow mixing materials as well).
Slicing is usually performed by an online slicing software such as Cloud 3D Print. This slicing software will also handle the “filling” of the model by creating a lattice structure inside a solid model for added stability when needed. The slicer will also add support columns wherever is necessary. These are necessary because plastic cannot be held in thin air, and the columns help the printer to bridge the gap. These columns are later removed when needed. In the final stage, the data will then be sent to the printer for the final step.
From here, the printer will start printing the model as per instructions of slicer software. The process may take from a few minutes to a few hours or days depending on the complexity of the project.
Steps To 3D Print an object
- Design and create a three-dimensional model using CAD software.
- This CAD file is converted to standard tessellation language (.stl) format. Some 3D printers use CAD files whereas some use ZPR and OBJECT file formats.
- Convert STL files to the printer file format.
- Slices individual layers to be printed using a slicing program
- Generate a g-code that will tell the 3D printer how to build the final object (filament is fed into an extruder head)
- Generate instructions for the printer to print it.
- Load printer head and start printing
3D printing is a big industry. The development of this process over the past twenty years has been phenomenal. Nowadays, there are many so-called cheap and low-cost 3D printers that can be produced as well. At the moment, there are a large number of printers both available commercially and designed to use off-the-shelf parts in your own garage. With this technology, a wide range of solutions become possible.
How To Make 3D Printing Simple & Fast?
You can make the 3D printing production process simple and fast by using online software. Software such as slicer is provided online by different vendors. But a reliable platform such as Cloud 3D Print offers online slicer and 3D printing management software that controls, monitors, and slices three-dimensional objects online. This helps you control, track, and manage 3D printing production. You can also create quotes, invoices, to-do-list, and printing reports using this software.
What are the benefits of 3D printing?
Additive manufacturing technology is easier to scale up and can be used to manufacture plans that could be too complex or too small for traditional production methods to typically use.
- Easy production – 3D printing is great for mass production due to the fact that there are relatively small set-up costs that are required for the technology to be implemented into the production line. Therefore, saving in overhead costs, and allowing for a fast production rate of new products, for example, 3D print shoes and clothing.
- Time-efficient – With the capability to 3D print a one-off product, or a unique creation, a longer production time can be taken to create bespoke manufactured products.
- Better quality products – 3D printing technology can create complex objects of intricate design in a rapid way, to a very high degree of accuracy. This can be highly customizable for a better fit, or aesthetic appeal.
- Less waste – In the past, there were quite high costs required in manufacturing 3D printed products, due to its high degree of customization that was often required to be made in the one-off products. However, with the improved technology, the costs have been reduced considerably, with the ability to produce higher quality.
- Cost-effective – 3D printing is extremely cost-effective, each individual part can be produced on an industrial scale. When compared to traditional manufacturing, which might require multiple subcontractors and thousands of workers, 3D printing reduces the number of transactions that are required.
You can take help from several 3D printing project management softwares such as Cloud 3D Print that also provides additional 3D printing cloud monitoring, 3D printing project management, etc. Thus, stop thinking and dive into this modern technology to learn and gain experience.
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