What is a 3d printer? – Find out everything
So there’s a lot going on and 3D printing is the new revolution of this generation. With the boom of personal 3D printing, probably in few years everyone will have a 3D printer at home but do you really know what is a 3D printer?
First, to understand what is a 3D printer you have to understand the concept of 3D printing.
In a few words, 3D printing is a new way to create objects by simply adding material layer by layer and that’s why it is also called additive manufacturing. This is the complete opposite of the traditional production process like forging, molding and sculpting that produces with a subtractive manufacturing logic.
So, what is a 3D printer?
Unlike the other printers we are used to, on a 3D printer the object is printed by three dimension and built layer by layer, adding material instead of subtracting it. Think of a Lego construction where you can build an object by simply adding more Lego pieces (that in this case are the layers).
The most common material used on 3D printers is PLA and that’s actually the best one for you to get started with 3D printing.
Although you know already what is a 3D printer, you must also know that not all 3D printers use the same technology to create objects. The difference is mainly on the way layers are added to create the final object. There are 3 main technologies for 3D printing: Selective laser sintering (SLS) and Fused deposition modeling (FDM) that use melting or softening material to produce the layers. And then there’s the Stereolithography (SLA) that lays liquid materials such as photopolymer.
Today 3D printers are not exclusive for big corporations and prototyping, you can find more and more people getting their own desktop 3D printers (also called “home 3D printers”) for their projects. If you want to start your 3D printing adventure find out the 5 things you need to know before buy a 3d printing machine.