Additive manufacturing (commonly referred to as 3D printing) is a manufacturing method where material is added layer by layer to create a solid object. There are different types of 3D-printing, but this is the basic principle of every process. First, you must create a CAD file, which is a 3D digital model of the object that will serve as the basis for production. Then, software slices the CAD file into layers, and it’s sent to the printer where the process begins.
Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) – A material extrusion printing process where a thermoplastic filament is melted and applied in layers through a nozzle. This is also referred to as melt strand deposition or Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – A powder bed fusion printing process where raw material in powder form is fused layer by layer with a laser.
Stereolithography (SLA) – A vat photopolymerization printing process where a build platform is slowly lowered into a vat of photo-polymer resin and selectively cured by a UV laser.
Multijet Modelling (MJM) – An inkjet printing process where several printheads move horizontally placing layers of photocurable plastic resin or casting wax material on top of each other. The material is cured with the help of UV light.
Selective Laser Melting (SLM) – A powder bed fusion printing process that’s similar to SLS. The main differences are SLM uses a metal powder to create parts, and a laser melts the material to form a homogenous part instead of sintering it.
Interested in learning more about the different types of 3D printing? Check out our blog post below!
3D printing was invented in the 1980s, with the most significant developments occurring in recent years. It’s also becoming more common for 3D printing to be used for industrial production. The global 3D printing market is expected to reach $22.4 billion by 2020.
The 3D printers will continue to evolve rapidly: