Different types of 3D printers include different technologies that process different materials in different ways. It is essential to understand one of the most fundamental limitations of 3D printing – in terms of materials and application – is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, some 3D printers process powdered material (nylon, plastic, ceramics, metal), which include a strong heat source. Others process the resin material and use light/laser as well.
The most common and most natural way to identify is the deposition process, and this is the process used by most beginner 3D printers. This process extrudes PLA or ABS in filament form through a heated extruder to form layers and create the desired object. Since the parts can be printed directly, it is possible to produce very detailed objects and functional ones. There are a number of steps that need to be set before printing an object. File preparation and conversion take time, especially for parts that require material support because of the hanging parts during the printing process. However, there is continuity in software development for such specific facilities. After printing, these parts must be machined. Removal of excess material is done manually or chemically, depending on the material used to support the printing process. The material selected for a particular project determines which printing method will be used. Compared to the original 1970 printer, there have been practical and innovative developments in 3D printing technology. The printers were originally large, expensive, and very limited in what they could produce. However, with the development of this technology and commercialization, it is now possible to obtain a printer suitable for home use.
There are 3 main processes in 3D printing:
- The first step is to prepare before printing when the object is designed as a 3D file. This file can be created using various 3D software, or with a 3D scanner that scans objects in a real environment and converts them into a .stl file used for printing. Once it is determined that the 3D file is ready to print, proceed to the second step.
- The second step is the printing process itself. First, it is necessary to select the material to be used that will achieve the specific characteristics required for the particular object. A wide range of materials used in 3D printing includes plastics ceramics, metals, sand, glass, biomaterials, food. Most of these materials allow for various processing options to achieve a precise design result.
- The third step is the processing process. This step requires specific knowledge and materials. When an object is printed, it often cannot be delivered before the very process of painting, removing any irregularities, and final processing.