How does 3d printing work?
You hear a lot about 3D printing but you are still searching and trying to understand how does 3D printing work? Altough it may seem a complicated technology only accessible to experts and mad scientists, it is not.
1. The basics
The basis of 3D printing is actually very simple: this new technology operates through the additive manufacturing process, creating objects by simply adding material layer by layer. As you can see, this is the complete opposite of the traditional production process like forging, molding and sculpting that operates with a subtractive manufacturing logic.
The best way to understand the global idea of 3D printing vs the traditional manufacturing process is to think of a Lego construction that is made by adding more Lego pieces to the construction – this is the basis of 3D printing. On the other hand, if you make the same construction using the sculpting method, you’ll have to use a big block of material and then take material parts to create your construction – this is the basis of the traditional production process and that’s exactly why it is called subtractive manufacturing.
2. So, how does 3D printing work?
So, now that you know the global idea of 3D printing, you ask: how does 3D printing work?
The 3D printing process ora dditive manufacturing process has 3 important stages that must be understood in order to understand the global process:
To start your 3D printing adventure you’ll first need the blue print of the object you want to print. For that you can use modeling softwares or if you don’t feel like a model maker hero, you can also find free STL models on the internet that you can download.
Slicing is a very important part of print 3D as it turns the digital 3D model into the toolpath information understood by 3D printers. That’s why you’ll need a good slicer software as much as you’ll need a 3D printer. Did you imagine this when you were asking yourself “how does 3D printing work”?
This is the most common image that comes to our minds when we ask how does 3D printing work. But actually, although this is the main part of the process, it couldn’t be completed if you don’t start with the first 2 stages. Actually the slicer role here is vital since the slicer is the responsible for converting the model into layers, producing a G-code file that will give instructions to your printer. The printer resolution will determine layer thickness and object will be created by simply joining all the layers together.
And that’s it! Now you can start 3D printing your future!