3D printing industry is a growing and expanding into markets around the world. There are a lot of vocabularies in the industry, different brands used different words to describe the operating process. Each manufacturer is the one that created the vocabulary to describe the printing process of these 3D printers.
For this reason, users, operators, customers worldwide used the wrong term to describe the printing process. Some vocabularies even used as a model name or trademark title habitually.
This article introduces glossary of 3D printers that will help redefine and change the understanding on vocabulary used to describe the printing process of the 3D printer.
7 Words to Know about 3D Printers
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) set the standard term for 3D printers named F2792 and classify 3D printer in 7 categories:
1. Material Extrusion
2. Vat Photopolymerization
3. Material Jetting
4. Binder Jetting
5. Powder Bed Fusion
6. Directed Energy Deposition
7. Sheet Lamination
This division of 3D printer categorised the products so producers, operators, customers have the same understanding about 3D printer. The 7 group are described as follows.
7 Technologies of 3D Printers
1. Material injection through injection nozzles (Material Extrusion)
Material Extrusion is the most widely used in all types of 3D printers. The process is to inject fluid to create material layer by layer, where the most popular type of material used is Thermos Plastic.
Stratasys is the company that name injection using Thermos Plastic as FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) and is the trade mark owner of the brand FDM. This technology gains name as Thermos Plastic and then further develop from inject thermos plastic to inject any material.
The below is the list of other materials type used:
- Composite injection through nozzles
- Carbon fiber injection
- Metal injection through nozzles
- Injection of various material to solidify them together
- Concrete injection through nozzles
- Clay injection through nozzles
- Food injection through nozzles
2. Solidify liquid using light (Vat Photopolymerization)
Fluorescent lighting technology to solidify liquid material as a 3D prints is another widely used printing technology has been used for a very long time. This included SLA, DLP,3SP, LCM and 2PP where each technology has the following meaning:
1. SLA (StereoLithographic Apparatus)
Stereolithography is the model of 3D printing by using ultraviolet laser beam (ultraviolet-laser) to shine on to liquefy plastic, using mirror to reflect and concentrate laser beam at plastic to encourage liquid plastic to solidify to our desire shape. This process is control by computer.
2. DLP (Digital Light Processing)
DLP is a 3D printing technology that used projection light to project transparent material, where the area that the light will fall to allow liquid to solidify can be selected. Moreover, there is other material that can be used, for example, a mixture of plastic and wax, material for dentistry, plastic for medical used, plastic for industrial use and many more.
3. 3SP (Scan Spin and Selectively Photocure)
EnvisionTec technology is a light source with 6 sided mirrors rotating inside and solidify liquid plastic with light by projecting the light curtain reflecting from 6-sided glazing mirror at 20,000 revolutions per minute, then the light curtain pass through the lens to create a sharp image.
The process starts from visualising system and light source projects the light curtain onto the surface of liquid plastic in Y axis then the light source rotates to visualise in X axis.
4. LCM (Lithography based Ceramic Manufacturing)
Ceramic production using lithography method is developed by a company in Austria called Lithoz. It is a mixture of liquid plastic and ceramic. After printing solid plastic, crystalised plastic will be removed from the product before taken to sinter to make it a strong ceramic work.
5. 2PP (Two-Photon Polymerization)
Two-photon printing technology is a Nano-scale printing process using Stereolithography principal. The process is by shining a special type of laser beam that have a very high frequency on liquid plastic to solidify plastic with accuracy up to 0.0001 millimetres in all axis, this process is 250 times more accurate than normal Stereolithography machine.
This process can print small size object with accuracy and precision like microchip or electronic circuit.
3. Material Jetting
Technology of spraying material based on basic principle of solidifying liquid, there are many types of nozzles and work like inkjet printer that are familiar. The printer has a print head that sweep over the area needed to create a workpiece; then the printer beams ultraviolet light at the workpieces to solidify it.
There is a wide variety of plastic material use in this technology some are hard, soft, opaque or even transparent. Moreover, there are also compound that are like ABS, Polypropylene, Polycarbonate and rubber. This printing machine can produce different kinds of materials simultaneously to the same workpiece by changing the material during the printing or by mixing the material before printing.
4. Binder Jetting
Printer that sprays glue on powder material is called Zprinting. It is made by company called Z Corporation which is a developer of this system and sold under the brand of Zprinters and later the name is changed to ColorJet Printing then 3D System took over the company later.
Adhesive is the technology used to seal powdered material together. This work process is by spreading the powder in layer on workpiece station, then the printhead moves through the surface of the powder and selects spraying on the workpiece.
The adhesive will hold material into desired shape layer by layer until the desire workpiece is obtained. After printing leftover powders, the workpiece will be vacuumed and collected to be reuse over again.
Moreover, glue spray printers can print onto other materials, for example, sand casting, metal working, ceramic printing and glass printing.
5. Powder Bed Fusion
Powder Bed Fusion is a technology developed to remove limitation of binder jetting technology due to adhesive property, the density of material is limited. When using binder jetting, there are small air cavities in the print.
If high density workpiece is desired, Powder Bed Fusion can beam high energy at the specific areas needed to seal; instead of gluing it to fully attach the workpiece.
Source of heat in this technology comes from laser beam, electrons and Selective Heat Sintering (SHS)
6. Directed Energy Deposition (DED)
DED is a technology for adding material by projection energy, in other word, this technology creates workpiece with laser and powder material (Laser Powder Forming). Powder metal will be spray into high intensity laser beam to melt the metal powder and make it accumulate on the workpiece.
This type of 3D printer can use with many types of materials, for example, stainless steel, copper, aluminium, and titanium.
This machine can simultaneously change the amount of powder. It leads to unique workpiece that cannot be created by any other types of machine. This printer does not restrict printing on the plain surface like other types of printers and can be used practically since workpiece will have 100% texture.
7. Sheet Lamination
In addition to semi-liquid injection, solidify plastic using light and glue spraying technology. There is one more printing technology that attract attention of many, it is called Sheet Lamination. It works by gluing the sheet material to fix sheet material together, sheet material often made from paper, plastic and thin sheet of non-metallic, etc.
The working process sends the adhesive material back to printing press, then the laser or the printer blade will cut material sheet around the line of desired shape and repeat this process until thickness built and achieve the desire workpiece.
In summary, the terms to describe 3D printing technology are divided into 7 groups, where each group gave different working process. This article expands your knowledge and understanding of the vocabulary and working process of these 3D printers.
If you are looking for more information about 3D printing technology that work for your business, please contact us here. We have a specialist ready to give you full consultation.
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