Casting Your Ideas Into Life 3D Printing
Post By Sakshi Wagh on 16-June-2015
While transporter devices and time travel may still remain a cinematic fantasy, 3D printers are very much real-capable of producing physical objects-have been in both development and application for over three decades, and are now starting to present a whole host of new digital manufacturing capabilities.
From sculptors to fashioners to engineers to military equipment prototyping, you name it and 3D printers have easily stepped in as the tech-Samaritans today.
3D printing, also known as, additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This can be done using Computer Aided Design such as Google Sketchup (it is free and easy to use). The software then slices the designed model into hundreds or thousands of thin horizontal layers. When this digital file is uploaded in a 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. And now, how does the object become tangible? Not all 3D printers use the same technology to realize their objects. The most common technology is stereo lithography.
It is an additive process. Sparing you the gorier details, the printer will consist of a mechanism which has a huge tub of liquid UV photopolymer, which can be hardened later, a UV laser to build the sliced layers of the object one at a time, and a platform which traces the pattern using the laser on the photopolymer surface.
For each layer, laser beam traces a cross-section of the pattern on a surface of the photopolymer. Exposure to the UV laser light will then harden and solidify the pattern traced on the surface. Then the platform will descend a little to print the next fresh layer on the photopolymer and this process continues. Thus, one layer on another, a complete 3D object is produced.A video on youtube can help you understand the inside of this magic box we have now come to call 3D printer.
Just as nobody could have predicted the impact of the steam engine in 1750,- or the printing press in 1450- it is impossible to foresee the long-term impact of 3D printing. But the technology is coming, and it is likely to disrupt every field it touches.
Additive process: a process in which colors are produces by mixing proportions of red, yellow and blue.
Photopolymer: a polymer that changes its properties when exposed to light, most common being, hardening properties ( curable photopolymers)