3d printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.3d printing creates parts by building up objects one layer at a time.3d printing is unlikely to replace many traditional manufacturing methods yet there are many applications where a 3d printer is able to deliver a design quickly, with high accuracy from a functional material.
- It all begins with the creation of a 3d model on your computer. There are many 3d modelling softwares you can use. We advise using Simplify 3d & also deliver a free copy of this program when you buy a tractus 3d printer.
- When 3d model is ready then next step is to make it in 3d printable form. This process is called slicing it means dividing 3d model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. This is all done automatically with simplify 3d so you don’t need any additional slicing software.
- When your 3d model is sliced, you are ready to feed it to your 3d printer. When the file is uploaded to a 3d printer, the object is ready to be 3d printed.
- The object will be created by laying down successive layers of material. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.
Printing allows designers to make better decisions when selecting a manufacturing process and enables them to deliver an optimal product.
One of the main advantages of additive manufacture is the speed at which parts can be produced compared to traditional manufacturing methods. Complex designs can be uploaded from a CAD model and printed in a few hours. The advantage of this is the rapid verification & development of design ideas.
Where in the past it may have taken days or even weeks to receive a prototype, additive manufacturing places a model in the hands of the designer within a few hours. While the more industrial additive manufacturing machines take longer to print & post-process a part, the ability to produce functional end parts at low to mid volumes offers a huge time-saving advantage when compared to traditional manufacturing techniques (often the lead time on an injection molding die alone can be weeks).
Single step manufacture:-
The biggest concerns for a designer is how to manufacture a part as efficiently as possible. Most parts require a large number of manufacturing steps to be produce by traditional technologies. The order these steps occur affects the quality & manufacture of the design.
Consider a custom steel bracket that is made via traditional manufacturing methods:-
Similarly to additive manufacturing, the process begins with a CAD model. Once the design is finalized, fabrication begins with first cutting the steel profiles to size. The profiles are then clamped into position & welded one at a time to form the bracket. Sometimes a custom jig will need to be made up to ensure all components are correctly aligned. The welds are then polished to give a good surface finish. Next holes are drilled so the bracket can be mounted on the wall. Finally, the bracket is sandblasted, primed and painted to improve its appearance.
Additive manufacturing machines complete a build in one step, with no interaction from the machine operator during the build phase. As soon as the CAD design is finalized, it can be uploaded to the machine & printed in one step in a couple of hours.
The ability to produce a part in one step greatly reduces dependence on different manufacturing processes (machining, welding, painting) & gives designer greater control over final product.
The cost of manufacture can be broken down into 3 categories: machine operation costs, material cost and labor costs.
1.Machine operation costs:-
Most desktop 3d printers use the same amount of power as a laptop computer. Industrial additive manufacturing technologies consume a high amount of energy to produce a single part. However, the ability to produce complex geometries in a single step results in higher efficiency & turnaround. Machine operation costs are typically the lowest contributor to the overall cost of manufacture.
The cost of material manufacturing will be vary significantly by technology.FDM printers use filament coil that is cost of $25 per kg while SLA printing require that retail $150. The range of material for manufacturing makes quality comparison with traditional manufacturing is difficult.
The main advantage of 3d printing is low cost of labor. Post-processing aside, the majority of 3d printers only require an operator to press a button. The machine follows a completely automated process to produce part.Compared to traditional manufacturing, where highly skilled machinists & operators are typically required,labor costs for a 3d printer are almost zero.
Additive manufacturing at low volumes is very competitively costed compared to traditional manufacturing. The production of prototypes that verify form & fit, it is significantly cheaper than other alternative manufacturing methods (e.g. injection molding) & is often competitive for manufacturing one-off functional parts. Traditional manufacturing techniques become more cost-effective as volume increases & high setup costs are justified by large volumes of production.
Ordering a faulty prototype costs the designer time & money. Even small changes in a mold or fabrication method may have a large financial impact.Being able to verify a design by printing a production-ready prototype before investing in expensive manufacturing equipment (e.g. molds or tooling & jigs) eliminates the risk during prototyping process. This helps with building confidence in one's design before making large investments required for mass production level.
The restrictions imposed by traditional manufacturing on what can be made are generally not relevant for additive manufacturing. Since components are constructed one layer at a time, design requirements such as draft angles, undercuts & tool access do not apply, when designing parts to be 3d printed.
While there are some restrictions on minimum size features that can be accurately printed, most of the limitations of additive manufacturing center around how to optimally orientate a print to reduce support dependency & likelihood of print failure. This gives designers a large amount of design freedom & enables easy creation of very complex geometries.
3d printing allow more design freedom, it also allows complete customization of designs. Since, current manufacturing technologies excel in building single parts at a time, they are perfectly suite for 1 production.
This concept has been embraced by medical & dental industry for manufacture of custom prosthetics, implants, & dental aids. High-level sporting gear that is tailored to fit an athlete perfectly to custom sunglasses & fashion accessories, additive manufacturing allows cost-effective single run production of custom parts.
Ease of access:-
Manufacturing is around 30year, growth will be in 2010.3d printers enter in industry, making it easy for designers to access manufacturing technology.
The number of printers sold doubled consistently since. The technology accessible only to small segment of manufacturing industry is now readily available & cost competitive method of part production utilized by a vast range of industries.
Subtractive manufacturing methods, such as CNC milling or turning, remove a significant amount of material from an initial block, resulting in high volumes of waste material.Additive manufacturing methods generally only use the material needed to build a part.
Most processes use raw materials that can be recycled & re-used in more than one builds. As a result, additive manufacturing process produces very little waste.The increase in number of manufacturing machines in world will also impacted distance prototypes are shipped.3d printers have a relatively small learning curve to operate successfully, designs will not be send away to expert to be manufactured.
Moreover, footprint of an industrial additive manufacturing system is much smaller than the footprint of a traditional manufacturing site.3d printing services are created around world, even in locations where the cost of land is high (ex: london & new york). The reduction in shipping requirements has a positive environmental impact. This, coupled with the ability to print & produce spare parts on site, results in a much smaller carbon footprint for most parts produced via additive manufacturing.