Technical Knowledge

What is 3D printing? Application and classification of 3D printers
Release Date : 2021-06-30 17:53:16

I want to ask what technology is the most arrogant today?

Of course it is 3D printing technology!
Compared with many current emerging technologies (5G, autonomous driving, etc.), 3D printing seems to have low technical content. Although there are some reports in China, people's perception of it is not too strong.
Because my country's manufacturing industry is too mature and developed to have an impact on traditional manufacturing at the current level of 3D printing, the perception is not strong.
But its practical value is not under other technologies at all, and 3D printing is extremely popular abroad. Because of the impact of the epidemic, foreign people cannot successfully buy "Made in China" products, so they can only make them by themselves, which has led to an exponential increase in 3D printing projects.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a "manufacturing process" that gradually stacks materials to form a three-dimensional object.
3D printing simplifies the manufacturing process, shortens the supply chain and distribution chain. You only need to input the designed model into the 3D printer to obtain the finished product, and realize "production personalization".
The traditional way to make a mobile phone case requires mold making, injection molding, cutting, drilling and other processes. Different products require different molds.
And 3D printing does not have to be so troublesome, it can be obtained by constantly stacking mobile phone shell materials. The benefits of this are obvious, and the production process is greatly reduced.
The 3D printing industry has developed many different technical branches, the most common is Fused Deposition Molding (FDM), which melts acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA) or other "thermoplastics" into filaments Shape and extrude through the nozzle. The nozzle will move layer by layer according to the designed model, extruding the printing material at a specific position.
The first batch of 3D printers to be marketed is FDM, which is basically the same for individual consumers and hobbyists. The price of FDM 3D printers has reached the level that most Chinese families can afford.
Ps: Due to patent issues, Fused Deposition Molding may also be called Fuse Molding (FFM) and Fuse Manufacturing (FFF), which are actually the same thing.
Another common 3D printing technology is stereolithography or light curing molding (SLA), which works based on the principle of photopolymerization of liquid photosensitive resin. This liquid material will rapidly undergo a photopolymerization reaction under a certain wavelength and intensity of ultraviolet radiation, and transform from a liquid state to a solid state. The accuracy of the final object is much higher than that of FDM.
The working mode of SLA is very different from that of FDM. The liquid resin is packed in a container with a transparent bottom, and ultraviolet light irradiates the liquid resin from the bottom, and the completed part is gradually lifted. If FDM starts from the "foot", then SLA starts from the "head".
In addition, there are digital light processing (DLP); laser sintering (SLS); electron beam melting (EBM) and other printing technologies. These technologies allow 3D printing materials to cover a wider range. In addition to plastics, common materials such as metal, optically transparent, and rubber can all be 3D printed.
But regardless of a technology, their logical principles are layered on top of each other.

What can 3D printing do?

3D printing has a very wide range of applications and is very practical.
With 3D printing, designers can quickly convert concepts into models or prototypes. For this kind of small batch production, 3D printing has absolute advantages. It can be produced on demand, saving a lot of processes and costs, and is more efficient. This also applies to the production of props in the film and television industry.
Just like traditional design, 3D printing has also spawned many design model trading websites. You can directly buy 3D models made by designers and produce them at home.
In the future in the design department, 3D printers may be as common as traditional copiers.
3D printing can also show its magic in the medical industry. It can customize artificial limbs, teeth or other body organs for patients. Sounds far away?
In fact, the Swedish company SONOVA has used 3D printing to capture 50% of the global hearing aid industry. Especially in the field of hearing aid housing production in the United States and Europe, 3D printing has completely occupied all production lines. Companies that use traditional methods to make hearing aid housings can no longer survive.
In addition to cost and time, the biggest advantage of 3D printing in the medical industry is that it can customize medical supplies exclusively for patients according to their own conditions.
At present, NASA is also widely adopting 3D printing technology. Optisys LLC, a supplier of micro-antennas for the US aerospace industry, uses 3D printing technology to reduce the discrete number of tracking antenna arrays from 100 to only 1, and the delivery date from 11 months to 2 months, while reducing weight by 95% .
Now that the 3D printer has been moved to the International Space Station, astronauts can customize some tools without waiting for the next replenishment.
In addition to the above-mentioned fields that have been widely used, 3D printing has also experimentally produced food (pastry and pizza), construction, transportation (boats and cars), robot components, and so on.

Common FDM type 3D printer

At present, the mainstream 3D printers mainly have three types according to the transmission mode: XYZ type, CoreXY type and triangle type.

1. XYZ type

The characteristics of the XYZ 3D printer, the three-axis transmission is independent of each other: the three axes are independently controlled by three stepping motors (some machines have two motors on the Z-axis, and the transmission is synchronized).
The open source reprap series, Ultimaker, and the once open source Makebot series machines all adopt the XYZ structure.
In general, the XYZ structure is clear and simple, and the independently controlled three-axis, so that the machine stability, printing accuracy and printing speed can be maintained at a relatively high performance.

2. CoreXY type

The CoreXY structure is improved from the Hbot structure. The main advantage of the Hbot structure is that it is fast, without the burden of the X-axis motor moving together, and it can be made smaller and has a higher printing area.
The CoreXY structure is still little known. The XY linkage structure (except for the Z axis, the XY axis is driven by two stepping motors in coordination) makes the transmission efficiency of the 3D printer higher and can design a 3D printer with lower power consumption. .
The two conveyor belts are also very interesting. They appear to intersect, but they are actually on two planes, one on top of the other. Two stepping motors are installed on the carriage moving in the X and Y directions to make the movement of the carriage more precise and stable.

3. Triangle

The triangle type is also called the parallel arm structure. This structure was first invented in the 1980s by Professor Reymond Clavel of the Lausanne Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Switzerland.
The earliest triangular parallel manipulator was mainly used to design a robot that can operate small and light objects at a very fast speed. Triangular parallel manipulator, which is a mechanical structure that controls the movement of the target on the X, Y, and Z axes through a series of interconnected parallelograms.
In recent years, the application of this kind of mechanical structure has become more and more extensive, especially it has the ability to adapt to a small space and can work effectively in it. In 1987, Rui Demaurex company first purchased the intellectual property rights of Triangle Robot and industrialized it, mainly used for food packaging such as chocolate, biscuits, and bread.
Later, due to the decline in technology and manufacturing costs brought about by the development of hardware and software engineering, many makers used the characteristics of this triangular parallel manipulator in designing their own 3D printers, so we now have a common shape that is close to a triangle. The triangular 3D printer of the cylinder is called the delta printer by the players.
At the same cost, a 3D printer with a higher print size can be designed by using a triangle shape. The three-axis linkage structure has higher transmission efficiency and faster speed.
However, because triangle coordinate conversion uses interpolation algorithm, the arc is approximated by interpolation with many small straight lines. The number of small line segments directly affects the printing effect, resulting in insufficient triangle resolution, and the printing accuracy is relatively slightly reduced.
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