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All you need to know about 3D printing

Image: All you need to know about 3D printing

3D printing is an area of technology that has progressed hugely within recent years, and has subsequently changed the way we work forever. How many businesses have actually embraced this new technology? 3D printing is still fairly new and the unknown can often put businesses off, but do not fear – we’re here to help!

This guide should provide you with all of the information you need to understand why 3D printing is set to revolutionise the future of printing technology.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing is the process of printing an actual three-dimensional object completely from scratch. These objects can be any size and shape, and with a 3D printer you can do this all from your workplace.

How does 3D printing work?
A variety of different materials can be used to print in 3D, including ABS plastic, polyamide (nylon), glass filled polyamide, silver, titanium, steel and wax.

Initially, a 3D design is needed, which can be created on specialist software such as Maya, AutoCAD and SolidWorks. All 3D printers create three-dimensional objects through layering, and there are different types of mechanisms, depending on the type of printer you have:

Extrusion based
Extrusion based 3D printers consist of a hot end and a build plate. A plastic filament is fed to the extruder which melts into a liquid, and is then deposited onto the build plate. The extruder deposits the material, layer by layer as per the design given and the object is created accordingly. Once the object is created, it can then be removed from the build plate.

Powder/Liquid based
A layer of powder/liquid is spread onto the build plate and a laser light is beamed on to it. The point where the laser beam hits is then solidified, leaving the remaining part in powder form. Then one more layer of powder/liquid is spread onto this first layer and the process repeats itself. This continues until the object is created. Once the object is created, powder/liquid is removed to get the final product.

Why use 3D printing?

3D printing has many benefits for businesses, which include:
1) Personalisation – mass personalisation can be achieved through 3D printing, whereas traditional printing often caused standardisation.
2) Time and Costs – No longer will you need to order a new office chair, desk or filing cabinet - just find the template online and you can print one instead!
3) Sustainability – 3D printing can reduce your carbon footprint as it utilises up to 90% of standard materials.

Has your business welcomed 3D printing with open arms? We want to hear all about it. Tweet us at @Altodigital

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