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How 3D Printer Works

3D printing is leading a revolution beyond traditional printing and manufacturing industries.

    Let's understand how 3D printers operate and learn how a 3D printer can be an exciting addition to your own home or business.

    What is 3D printing, and how does it work?

    3D printing is the creation of a three-dimensional solid object printed in successive thin layers of material, as directed by a digital file you create. 3D-printed objects begin with a digital blueprint created using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

    With the blueprint ready, 3D print creators simply:

    • Gather raw materials
    • Fill the printer with materials
    • Prepare the 3D build platform
    • Let the 3D printer work its magic

    The physical object is printed layer by layer per the computer-aided design (CAD) software blueprint until it’s completed. 3D printers may use different technologies or methods, but here are the four most common 3D printing processes:

    • Polyjet
    • Stereolithography (SLA)
    • Digital laser projection (DLP)
    • Filament deposition modeling (FDM), aka fused filament fabrication

    What do 3D printers use for printing materials?

    While 3D printing materials have typically been metals and plastics, recent innovations have expanded the types of usable materials.

    Aside from the materials 3D printers can use, it’s critical that these printers use them efficiently while extracting and reclaiming any unused material.

    Consider these 3D printing use cases across various industries:

    • Customizing and printing auto parts
    • Casting in concrete for architecture and engineering projects
    • Assembling crash dummies to better simulate crash impacts, particularly for elderly passengers
    • Using isomalt sugar as a scaffolding to create complex biological structures, for human cell and tissue growth

    How to use a 3D printer in your home

    While these printers may not be in every home yet, they do offer the opportunity to print many common items you may normally buy or assemble yourself. When you can customize your blueprint designs and print these items at home, 3D printers offer several benefits:

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    • Bring art projects to life
    • Create unique gifts for family and friends
    • Reduce household expenses on everyday objects
    • Print spare parts to repair furniture and appliances
    • Produce prototypes of items for your business or hobby

    Summary

    3D printing requires upfront investment for the printer and raw materials, which can put it out of reach for many novice makers. But with strategic planning and implementation, 3D printing can deliver numerous new opportunities for creativity and utility in your home and business.

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