3D Printing: The Printing Process, What you need to do a Successful Print

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Everything requires a process and that’s more than true for a 3d print. you cant have and idea and expect it to be ready, no, you need to pass through steps, steps and processes which require equipment like software, computers, etc

The process of going from an idea to a 3D-printed object must always pass through two software tool technologies first: 3D-modeling (or CAD) software and slicers.

3D-MODELING SOFTWARE

Think of 3D-modeling software, also called CAD (for Computer-Aided Design), as the creation engine for 3D models. This is where you put your design and its particular specifications on paper. In the same way, you might use Photoshop to create a graphic, Illustrator to create an illustration, CAD software is used to create the design for a 3D model.

 

There are many CAD programs out there, each best-suited to different tasks. Examples include TinkerCAD and Fusion 360, depending on whether you need to build a quick part or a more complex design.

 

TinkerCAD is a very easy-to-use program that’s often taught to school kids. It allows for super-quick prototyping of simple designs. While Fusion 360 is a much more complex full engineering design program with features not only for design but motion simulation and stress testing as well.

If you can draw a rectangle in PowerPoint, you can use a CAD program to make simple designs. Resources for learning common 3D printing programs are available in many online classes, taught in colleges, and found in abundance on YouTube.

 

That said since tools like Fusion 360 can be used to design and virtually test projects like car engines, they can be challenging to master. Often specific-discipline engineering skill is required to understand not only how the tool works, but the physics involved in the operation of the final object.

 

SLICERS

CAD programs produce virtual models of 3D objects. But most 3D printing occurs layer-by-layer, in what is known as slices. The process of (and then moving the plane) is the job of a slicer program is to convert a 3D design into a series of machine movements on a two-dimensional plane.

 

Most slicers produce G-code, a standard form of numerical control language understood by most computer-aided fabrication devices (not just 3D printers). While G-code is a standard (specifically, “EIA Standard RS-274-D Interchangeable Variable Block Data Format for Positioning, Contouring, and Contouring/Positioning Numerically Controlled Machines”), Most times, vendors add extensions and modifications. This means that G-code usually needs to be generated by the slicer for specific brands and models of numerically controlled devices.

 

While some slicers can be operated programmatically by just passing a 3D model file into it and getting G-code output, most slicers we have today allow for a fully interactive interface. This allows the operator to be able to adjust the print orientation and examine the print process layer-by-layer in order to locate potential print problems before a print is sent to the printer.

Here, other printing settings can be mad including nozzle and build plate temperature, adhesion techniques, infill methods, print speeds, and even custom G-code blocks to account for special procedures, for example stopping a print to embed magnets, and then allowing the print to continue.

Same as 3D printers and CAD programs, there are a variety of slicers available to choose from, with the most common being Cura and Slic3r, which are open source. There are also robust commercial offerings like Simplify3D.

 

3D printing and manufacturing

As compared to traditional production processes, 3d prints are the exceptional good at saving time. And ae extremely useful for companies or organizations which make use of traditional production processes. One example is the Volkswagen Autoeuropa. In a discussion with 3D printer maker Ultimaker’s president back in 2017, I was told:

 

The company [Volkswagen] turned to desktop 3D printing to create custom tools and jigs that are used daily on the assembly line, replacing an old process that required outsourcing and long lead times.

 

Not only did 3D printing introduce a more cost-effective way to produce the tools, but it also gave time back to the company. The seemingly minor change saved $160,000 in just one plant in 2016, and it’s projected to save $200,000 in this year1-[p

HOW EXPENSIVE IS 3D PRINTING COMPARED TO TRADITIONAL MANUFACTURING PROCESSES?

The thing is, comparing 3D printed objects to traditionally manufactured objects can’t necessarily be quantified by cost. Traditionally manufactured objects often have a huge upfront expense necessary to build molds, fixtures, and even factories. But once those expenses have been incurred, the individual unit cost and time to delivery can be nearly instantaneous.

 

This is another benefit of 3D printing: because the cost is so low, there’s very little cost barrier to innovation, and as such, more innovation happens.

 

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