A Short Introduction to the Revolutionary 3D Printing Technology

One of the most remarkable technologies to have been developed in recent years has to be that of 3D printing. This technology enables you to use a specialized printer to create the things you design on a computer with the help of certain materials. If you are planning to use this technology, it helps to know a bit about it like the working of the technology, salient features, scanners and 3D modelling applications, how to print etc.

How Does This Technology Work?

In order to 3D print something, you need to create the concept art of the object first. A virtual design has to be created in the form of a specialized file such as CAD. CAD files can be created with the help of a 3D scanner if you are planning on cloning a specific object. A 3D modeling application will also suffice if you want to create the design on your computer.

3D Scanners: These specialized scanners can make use of various technologies in order to create a 3D model. Some examples include volumetric sacking and structured light among others. 3D scanners are an important part of 3D printing technology but they can be rather expensive but cheap DIY kits are also available.

3D Modeling Applications: Like scanners, you can find a range of these applications. Professional grade applications are quite costly. On the other hand, free or cheap applications are also available for beginners to create concept art with. Some applications even come with tutorials to help you get started.

Printing the Model

Once you have readied the model, you need to work on it further to get it ready for 3D printing. In order to prepare the model, a process known as slicing is used. In it, the model is sliced into numerous horizontal layers. In order to do so, you need a specialized software. Some modeling applications have this function built into them. In some cases, you may have to use a specific slicing tool that is compatible with the 3D printer. Once completed, the actual printing process can be started. The time required for the printing to be completed depends on the printer you are using, the materials you are working with and the complexity of the structure.

3D printing technology has certainly progressed far. However, it still has a long way to go till it becomes a part of homes like regular 2D printers.

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6 Top Areas of 3D Scanning Benefits

3D scanning process has proved to be very beneficial in capturing the exact measurements and shape of any given object. It is a technology that has eased production processes in all fields and more people are now embracing the benefits of this sought of scanning where total accuracy of details on an object is needed. It is a process that has actually reduced manufacturing costs and yet offers higher quality parts in the end. Below are some of the top areas the 3D scanning benefits.

1. Prototype

This process can be applied to prototype phase in different kinds of ways, but the major use is to reduce design cycles needed in the prototyping. When 3D scans are used in designing a part, the accurate data makes it possible to utilize precise measurements of the physical product reducing the process by a huge percentage. The scanning is also combined with prototyping so that physical objects are scaled accurately.

2. Design

It is among the areas that have greatly benefited from 3D scanning. They scans are applied starting with physical object and then using this to create a CAD model. Mating parts are also scanned and then incorporated into a given design so the end result is better fitting parts that are consistent. This process is known as reverse engineering or modeling and when utilized, new designs are improved and incorporated for engineering optimization of manufactured part.

3. Production

In production, the scanning is used to capture tooling or parts changes which occur in the production phase. Usually hand tuning is needed in tooling to get the desired finish and look of a given part. When 3D comes into the picture, the optimizations and hand modifications are easy to transfer from tool to tool so all parts manufactured match after the production ends. The scans also help in analyzing and characterizing tool wear during the production; this is very helpful in correcting tool failure or eliminating the same before it is too late. It is actually very possible to recreate optimized part using a 3D scan.

4. Engineering

3D scan data makes it possible for physical objects to be translated into the engineering phase of projects directly. The data offer flexibility in performing FEA, CAE, CFD and other analysis that is necessary in the engineering area on objects manufactured and physically modified. The process offers a simple way of achieving accuracy.

5. Quality control

Using 3D scanning, it has become possible to analyze built condition of parts after manufacturing. This non-contact technology offers a quick way of inspecting overalls size and shape of the parts and detecting issues that could affect performance of the parts. When combined with statistical analysis software, 3D scanning helps maintain and predict the quality of parts in the manufacturing phase.

6. Distribution

It might sound unrealistic, but 3D scanning comes handy in vision systems used in distribution and shipping centers to sort and track packages. The scanning certifies the integrity of products before and after shipping. It is also used to increase packing density and creating support structures and casing.

Lidar scanning systems are some of the systems used in 3D scans to create offer precise digital copies of props, cars, aircraft and even buildings. There is just so much that can be enjoyed using the system

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