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What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, otherwise known as additive manufacturing technique, is a qualified production method that allows you to make a solid object out of a digital file in 3-dimensional form. 

The one thing that can’t be taken away from the creation of 3D printed objects is the involvement of additive processes. It is always at the core of 3-dimensional printing. The object here is created by successive layering of the material’s film until such time that the target object you want to produce is taking form and shape. These layers are represented by the cross-section of the object that is sliced thinly. 

Additive manufacturing or 3-dimensional printing is the absolute opposite of subtractive manufacturing, which is all about hollowing out or cutting out a piece of plastic or metal with the help of, say, a milling machine.  

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that we know and are most familiar with, 3-dimensional printing allows for the production of custom intricate shapes and forms using fewer materials.  

Examples of 3D Printing 

Encompassing a wide range of materials and technologies, many industries today are taking advantage of this innovative production technique to help them advance their market lead. We must look at this as a gathering of various industries characterized by the use of a handful of different applications. 

We have seen how the use and practical applications of additive manufacturing has grown in the last decade. Here are some of the product lines this technology is currently used in: 

  • Consumer goods (eyewear, footwear, design, furniture)
  • Industrial products (prototypes, functional end-use parts, manufacturing tools)
  • Prosthetics
  • Dental products
  • Architectural scale models 
  • maquettes
  • Fossil reconstruction
  • Ancient artifacts replication
  • Evidence reconstruction for use in forensic pathology
  • Props for film industry use

What Type of Ink Do We Use for 3D Printing? 

3D printing design

Whenever the topic of discussion is centered on plastics, we usually pertain to “plastics” in general. Anyone who considers himself a diligent recycler knows that we have various types of plastic materials in use today. Every single one of them is distinct from each other, both in their chemical and physical aspects.

This makes no surprise why 3D printer machines use thermoplastics since they come with a high level of versatility. This type of plastic will meltdown when heated at a certain temperature. But they will solidify to a custom shape when you cool them back down. The additive manufacturing industry knows this plastic by the name of ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. 

There is a high demand for this type of plastic in the additive manufacturing space because it is a composite of tough and hard plastic (acrylonitrile) that are melded together with synthetic rubber (butadiene styrene). This is what makes it perfect ink for use in 3-dimensional printing. 

At room temperature, the ABS-type of plastic takes on a solid form but will melt when the temperature is a little over 100°C (220°F). This temperature is cool enough to make the plastic melt while inside the printer without the need to produce too much intensive heat. But it is hot enough for printed 3-dimensional models not to melt when exposed under the sun. 

The ABS-type of plastic can be sanded if it is set already. After which, it can be painted on once smooth. Another distinct property of ABS plastic is that, in their raw form, they come in whitish-yellow color. But pigments can be added if your 3D printing project calls for a final product in a specific color.