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About 3D Printing

WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?

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Additive manufacturing or 3D printing has been a popular method of creating prototypes since the 1980's and is quickly becoming the fastest and most affordable way to create custom consumer goods. There are several different methods of 3D printing, but the most widely used is a process known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). FDM printers use a thermoplastic filament, which is heated to its melting point and then extruded layer by layer to create a dimensional object. The technology behind FDM was invented in the 1980s by Scott Crump, co-founder and chairman of Stratasys Ltd., a leading manufacturer of 3D printers. Other 3D printing organizations have since adopted similar technologies.

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

To print a 3D model, a slicing software converts a 3D design file (.stl, .obj or .amf) and converts it into machine language or .gcode. This code is what controls all the movements of the 3D printer to print successive layers of filament. These layers correspond to the virtual cross sections of the CAD model. The primary advantage of these techniques is its ability to create almost any shape or geometric feature that traditional CNC subtractive machining techniques are unable to produce. The resolution of a 3D print describes the layer thickness. Typical layer thickness for prosumer level printers is about 0.2 mm. Industrial machines can print layers as thin as 16 µm.

ADVANTAGES OF 3D PRINTING

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Construction of a model with contemporary methods can take anywhere from several days to several weeks, depending on the method used and the size and complexity of the model. Additive systems can typically reduce this time to a few hours, although it varies widely depending on the type of machine used and the size and volume of models being produced simultaneously. Traditional techniques like injection molding can be less expensive for manufacturing polymer products in high quantities, but additive manufacturing can be faster, more flexible and less expensive when producing relatively small quantities of parts. 3D printers give designers and concept development teams the ability to produce parts and concept models using a desktop size printer.

THE BOTTOM LINE

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The adoption of 3D printing as a method to manufacturing complex parts or assemblies has lead to cost reductions for many companies as they realize these savings in the time to produce parts. Production efficiency due to inventory levels no longer needing to be high to meet production targets and long lead times disappear. Read more about ROI and The True Value of 3D Printing.

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Revolution 3D Printers

5 2064 Henry Avenue,

Sidney, BC V8L 5Y1

Phone. 877-269-5510

Email. sales@revolution3dprinters.com