As more industries expand into 3D printing, we encounter more new customers who want answers to their questions to learn more about the process and how they can benefit.
We encourage all of our current and future customers to engage with us to learn as much as they can about the 3D printing process.
As 3D printing continues to offer faster prototyping and production opportunities, engineers in the aerospace, automotive and healthcare industries continue devising ways to create parts used in race cars, airplane interiors, medical devices and other useful machines. But even these examples hardly break the surface of what 3D printing can accomplish when creative thinking and technology are put to the test.
Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a new and improved way of making objects. Instead of traditional manufacturing, 3D printing enables industries to create customized, light-weight products designed for a specific need, while remaining cost-effective.
3D printing is done by uploading a digital file (CAD format) to a 3D printer to create a solid object. From there, the printer adds layer upon layer of material to build the object. According to experts, thermoplastics are the most frequently used materials, but the technology also includes photopolymers, epoxy resins, metals and more.
The use of 3D printing is rising in nearly every industry, including aerospace, architectural, the automotive industry and the healthcare industry. With cutting-edge bioinks, which use a mixture of human cells and gelatin, experts have been able to 3D print complex tissue models and even edible materials like chocolate. 3D printing allows companies to have more complex design freedom and customization, all while using light-weight, advanced materials.
Depending on your desired product, 3D printing can take a matter of hours instead of days with the rapid prototyping of parts. According to experts, it depends on the size of your order, type of material, and what printing equipment is being used.
Much like the time it takes to 3D print a product, the cost of 3D printing varies. According to experts, some of the factors that go into cost include the energy used, the time it takes to print and the material used.
Polyjet technology cures liquid resin with an ultraviolet light to create a solid plastic product.
Deemed “amazing” for its quality, it enables consumers to receive a high-definition product with great surface resolution. Because of this, Polyjet is used when a consumer needs a product with fine features such as a showpiece for a trade show.
Also known for being one of the fastest 3D printing technologies offered, clients are able to get several pieces in their hands within hours, making it a popular option.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) works with production-grade thermoplastics such as ABS, polycarbonate and Ultem to create prototype and end-use parts.
Using a layer additive manufacturing process, FDM is known to produce accurate feature details with excellent strength-to-weight ratio and is ideal for concept models, functional prototypes, manufacturing aids and low-volume end-use parts. Because of the materials used for this 3D printing option, FDM is also considered functional and durable.
Capable of printing 30 million drops per second, the Multi-jet Fusion printing process is broken into two fast area-wide passes to ensure a production speed up to ten times faster than today’s competing products.
The Multi-jet Fusion process begins by applying a fusing agent to a material layer, producing quality, functional parts with extreme precision and dimensional accuracy.
Multi-agent printing process produces smooth edges, while maintaining quality and improving speed — a fusing agent is applied on a material layer where the particles are fused together. A detailing agent is used to modify fusing and create fine detail and smooth surfaces
Exposing the part to energy, the agents and material cause the material to selectively fuse together to form a part.
In order to get prototype parts in consumer’s hands quickly, the process for Stereolithography, also known as SL, has to be extensive.
Using a photo curable resin, SL uses an ultraviolet laser to cure and recreate digital files. Scanning one layer at a time, the laser allows for extreme definition as the product is recoated with layers of resin with each sweep.
After the layers are created, the product is then put into a post-processing area where it is cleaned off and ran through another ultraviolet light to finish hardening the finished product.
Using these processes, SL enables 3D printing companies to produce extremely accurate products, extremely fast.