The phrase “3D printing” refers to several manufacturing processes that construct parts layer by layer. Each has a unique manner of shaping plastic and metal components, as well as variations in material choice, surface quality, durability, manufacturing efficiency, and price.
There are various kinds of 3D printing, such as:
- Stereolithography (SLA) (SLA)
- Choosen Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Modeling a Fused Deposition (FDM)
- Electronic Light Process (DLP)
- Numerous Jet Fusion (MJF)
- Direct Metal Laser Sintering using PolyJet (DMLS)
- Melting by Electron Beam (EBM)
Rapid prototyping and Beyond using 3D Printing
It’s safe to argue that prototyping is the primary application for 3D printing. Product developers may swiftly validate and discuss ideas with one another while saving money because to its capacity to create a single part quickly. Which 3D printing technology will be most helpful for your prototype depends on what it is intended to do.
A variety of prototypes, ranging from straightforward physical replicas to components needed for functional testing, can be made using additive manufacturing.
3D printing using polymers
Let’s go through some popular plastic 3D printing techniques and talk about when each one benefits product creators, engineers, and designers the most. Visit this website to know more about printing!
Stereolithography (SLA) (SLA)
The first 3D printing method used in industry was stereolithography (SLA). SLA printers are exceptional at creating items with fine details, flawless surface finishes, and exact tolerances.
Quality surface finishes on SLA parts can help the part operate by, for instance, verifying the assembly’s fit in addition to looking good.
The medical sector makes extensive use of it, and popular uses include microfluidics and anatomical modeling. For SLA parts, we employ 3D Systems’ Vipers, ProJets, and iPros 3D printers.
Laser Direct Metal Sintering (DMLS)
New design options for metal parts are made possible by metal 3D printing. Direct metal laser sintering is the method Protolabs employs to 3D print metal components (DMLS). It is frequently applied to create lightweight pieces with internal channels or hollowed-out features from metal, multi-part assemblies.
Since DMLS parts are just as dense as those made with conventional metal manufacturing techniques like machining or casting, it is practical for both prototype and production.
The ability to fabricate metal parts with intricate geometries also makes them appropriate for use in medical applications where a part design must resemble an organic structure.
Use Cases for 3D Printing
There are a few things that all 3D printing applications have in common, as was already said. The recommendation we make to our customers who use our 3D printing services is often 1 to 50 pieces.
If your part quantities are relatively low, 3D printing can be ideal. It is important to look into alternative manufacturing techniques as production numbers approach the hundreds.
Using 3D printing may be your only choice if your design includes intricate geometry that is essential to the function of your item, such as an aluminum component with an interior cooling channel.
The key to choosing the best method is to match the benefits and constraints of each technology to the most crucial needs of your application. Those stair-stepping surface finishes on your part aren’t very important in the early phases when ideas are being discussed and all you need is a model to show a colleague.
However, once you need to undertake user testing, aspects like durability and appearance start to matter. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but using 3D printing technology appropriately will lower design risk and, eventually, produce superior products.