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Thursday, January 8, 2015

How Does 3D Printing Work?

In the past few years we’ve heard much about “3D printing” and the many uses of this emerging technology. But how does 3D printing work? How is it different from other manufacturing processes? In this post, I'm trying to explain these things. Don't forget to add your points via comment section.
Making things usually involves a subtractive process: you start with a block of material — aluminium for instance — which you then machine (that is, remove material) until you get the shape and size you’re after.
But 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, does the process in reverse. Instead of removing material, the “printer” dispenses it. The technology gradually deposits the material via a controlled nozzle, layer by layer, building up to a fully formed product. The material used can either be plastic (usually ABS ), or a metal. The process is typically based on a computer-designed model of the object or machine part in question, and can produce relatively complex shapes.
Steps of 3D printing are shown in the picture below.