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What is 3D Printing ?

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Many processes can these days be modelled or reproduced by computer. One of the most exciting of all is 3D Printing. The term ’3D Printing’ is a little misleading really, because when you mention printing and computers people always think of computer printers. They think a 3D printer connects to their computers via a USB cable and a power socket. Additive Modelling is a more correct and appropriate term for this process.

A 3D printerThe first part of printing in 3D is to accurately produce a digital representation or model of what you want to create, or print. This is usually achieved by photographing the item from sufficient angles that once the information is digitised, the computer is able to extrapolate the dimensions, detail and shape of the object from any angle. This process is typically best computer controlled, so that exact measurements and details are gathered enabling a 100% digital model to be created.

Although additive modelling has been around for several years, it had only really been used commercially. Midway through the 2000′s open source software projects particularly one called RepRap were developed that bought additive printing out from its entirely commercial domain and into the home hobbyist marketplace. These days, pre designed item templates can be downloaded from the internet that allow users to ‘print’ whatever the template is, for example a funnel or cup etc.

Commercial additive modelling has developed rapidly in the last few years and these days many automotive parts and developments are made using it. Additive modelling printers that work in metal have also been developed. These days many ideas are prototyped as projects using additive modelling.

Links:

3D Printing / Additive Modelling on Wikipedia
CandyFab – Additive modelling with using sugar

Written by Betty

September 8th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Storage News

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