What is 3D printing ?
3D printing is a technique of additive production developed for rapid prototyping. Its goal is to generate quickly and easily a physical part.
Different materials can be used, more generally the plastic ABS, PLA plastic, and metal, but also of wax, or even plaster.
3D printing applications are varied, but are in all cases to concrete visualization of projects, or verification of ergonomics of parts.
3D printing works on the principle of a hot nozzle, guided on 3 axis compared to the piece, which heat and mechanically removing a thread of material plastic (ABS or PLA are the most used) by successive layers on a plate.
The CAD model is cut in 2D layers before printing.
How 3D printing works
These software tools export 3D models in the form of files on the standard formats for 3-d printers :
•. WRL (VRML)
The exported file is a mesh made up of a series of triangles oriented in space, which determine a volume in 3D. This mesh must be closed to be regarded as a solid and not only a set of surfaces without thickness. In other words, at this stage, the creation must be ready to spend in the real world, not only on a computer.
Now that the file is in a printable format. You can then enlarge or shrink the file you want to print, guide the element and pilot 3D printer.
The lociel of the printer cut sliced the file of the 3D model in the form of hundreds of digital transverse cuts or layers.
Sample of CAD software producing 3-d files ready to print
|3D Studio Max®||MicroStation®|
|Bentley Triforma TM||RapidForm TM|
|Magics e - RP||UGS NX TM|
The sections of the future object are sent to the machine which begins building immediately.
The machine prints sequentially each layer, one above the other, creating a real object.
Once the machine finishes the last layer, the actual object may be removed.