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Forms of 3D printing
Below are some forms of 3D printing that you should understand;
1. Material jetting
Material jetting 3D printing is where the material is deposited through an inkjet printer head. The type of plastic that is used here requires light to harden, hence the term photopolymer. The process can also be used to print waxes and other types of materials. Material jetting can help produce precise parts. It can also incorporate several materials by using additional inkjet printer nozzles. However, it is worth noting that material jetting printers are relatively expensive. Additionally, their build times can also be slow.
2. Binder Jetting
This 3D printing technique uses a thin layer of powder. The powder can be made from plastic, glass, sand, or various types of metals. The thin layer of powder is rolled across the table or build platform. A binding solution resembling glue is sprayed on the powder to fuse it in the areas specified in the digital file. The solution is sprayed through the printer head. This process repeats until the final product is achieved.
Once the printing process is completed, the excess powder is removed and stored for later application. Binder jetting printing method is ideal for creating relatively large parts. However, it can be costly.
3. Powder bed fusion
This 3D printing technique is similar to binder jetting. The difference is that the thin layers of powder are melted or sintered using a heat source like a laser or electron beam. Note that sintering is when heat or pressure is applied to form a mass of material without changing its consistency or melting it. The powder bed fusion process can be used for producing high-quality and strong metal parts. The downside is that the raw materials for this method are limited.
4. Directed Energy Deposition
This 3D printing method comes in many forms. Regardless, they all follow a basic process. Here, a wide or powdered material is deposited on the build bed into thin layers. It is then melted using a high-energy source, like a laser. This 3D printing technique is popularly applied in repairing existing parts or manufacturing large objects. The shortcoming is that the parts made using this technology require extensive post-processing, which takes a lot of time and money.
5. Sheet lamination
Here, thin sheets of material are fused using adhesive and low-temperature sources of heat and other forms of energy. It allows you to print materials that are sensitive to heat. They are used to make low-cost materials. It is a very accurate printing technique.
6. Vat photopolymerization
This is the oldest form of 3D printing. It applies liquid resin cured using special lights. A laser or projector can trigger a chemical reaction, which hardens a thin resin layer.
Note that each 3D printing method is beneficial in its own right. However, they also have their downsides. The parts made by the various 3D printers feature varying qualities. These elements are worth considering when choosing between the methods above.