3D printing, or additive manufacturing is the creation of a three dimensional object out of a digital CAD drawing or a CAD pattern. In additive manufacturing, the production level of complexity is dependent on the type of material used and the thickness of the coating applied to it. This process can be used for a variety of purposes in many industries. It is widely used in the military sphere as well as in the automotive and industrial sectors for various purposes.
In conventional manufacturing the process is controlled by means of a series of inks which are applied to the metal in order to create the final product. The inks are made of pigments and metals are used as their carriers. In additive manufacturing the material used is metal alloys which are coated with the pigments.
The concept of additive manufacturing was developed by NASA during the 1970’s. NASA found that certain metals that were normally solidified would self-dissolve due to an increase in the internal pressure. This in turn would allow for the use of three-D printed metal components that were solidified at a higher temperature than the traditional ones. The resultant product was much lighter, stronger, and more durable. The manufacturing process was thus changed to allow for an increase in the number of layers in the final product. This was in turn effective for use in military applications and in aeronautical engineering applications where strength, lightweight, and high speeds were required.
The basic concept of additive manufacturing is based on the application of various thin layers of material to the part being constructed. One such layer is typically a metallic one or similar one. A laser-sintering machine then melts this metal layer down to its liquid or other suitable form. The thickness of the material applied to the part is dependent upon the particular application. Often, it is just sufficient to have a few layers of metal used as long as they are of the appropriate thickness.
When using additive manufacturing with a laser-sintering machine, the process includes layering, layer heights, cooling, lubrication, cross-hatching, dielectric bonding, and many other processes. Each of these is specific to a particular application so that the final result is the highest quality. Layering is often referred to as priming. The process starts with a two-dimensional drawing or model which is used to determine the best possible layered thicknesses and other components that will be required.
After this is determined, the next step in additive manufacturing is to determine the required amount of material to be used. Most printers will have a build tray where additional material can be loaded into the system. The materials are usually loaded into the system through an air clamp or other similar mechanism. The actual printing can take place in an extruder, which is a tool that causes the plastic to be fed through a feeder, from which it exits the nozzle and rolls down the surface of the print area. This process causes the plastic to be built up in layers, which is typically done using a heated air chamber.
The final step is cross-hatching, which is simply using different colors to create patterns on the surface of the material. Most additive manufacturing systems include a platform which is used to deposit the different colors of dye onto the required areas, usually using a special printing bed. The dye usually comes in various formulations including solvents, oils, waxes, and powder. Cross-hatching is often combined with dielectric bonding to enhance the material’s properties.
The final step in additive manufacturing is fused deposition. Fused deposition is a means of depositing a melted material directly to any desired surface. This is done by using a variety of different compounds such as UV liquid nitrogen, urethane, polymers, thermoset polymers, and others. After the material has been melted, it is injected into the platform under pressure. The three different methods discussed above are the basis of all additive manufacturing systems and each is performed on a commercial printer in most cases.