What is 3D Printing?
3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using addition processes. In an addition process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly slice cross-section of the eventual object.
3D printing is the opposite of manufacturing by subtracting, manufacturing by subtracting is cutting out or hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic with for instance a milling machine.
3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
The term “fused deposition modeling” and its FDM abbreviation are terms trademarked by the developer of the process. Therefore, the term fused filament fabrication, or FFF, is also used as an exact synonym for this type of printing. Both abbreviations and terms are used here. Some also call the process fused filament printing.
Several types of 3D printing have been developed or are in development, but FDM printing remains the most common and cost-effective.
What is FDM 3D Printing?
Fused deposition modeling, or FDM, is an innovative type of printing that uses manufacturing by addition , to produce 3D objects.
Common applications include prototype production , limited quantity production and hobbyist use.
3D Printing FDM process are printed in an x-y-z rectilinear, three-dimensional design with x as vertical and y as horizontal. As 2D layers are added on top of each other, the z axis providing depth to create 3D printed object . During the process, bracing or scaffolding might be required for support of the object being manufactured based on its design. This additional material is typically printed as part of the entire FFF print process and then removed manually when printing is completed.
3D printing is used to manufacture objects ranging in density from hollow to solid. How closely to one another the roads of material are deposited determines the infill percentage which then determines density and strength of the object. Common infill density percentages for 3D printers are 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 75 and 100 percent.
FDM Printed Material Types
A wide variety of materials can be used in FDM 3D printing, Thermoplastics are the most common type, and several thermoplastics are popular. They include:
- ABS : (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a petroleum-based thermoplastic with high strength. A 3D Printer with FDM technology and a tray heater can print ABS. You can get smooth and high quality prints with 3D printers with fully enclosed chassis. Also, LEGO parts are ABS.
- PLA : This Filament is a kind of 3D Printer raw material. The two main filaments, ABS and PLA, are frequently used in 3D Printers today. PLA type plastic is a plastic obtained from herbal products, primarily sugar cane and corn starch. For this reason, it is also known as “green plastic”.
- Nylon : this filament is an incredibly strong, durable and versatile 3D printing material. It is flexible when it is thin, but the nylon, which has high multi-layer adhesive properties, fits well with movable hinges and other functional parts.
- PETG : stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate, one of the most common polymers used today. It is used to produce water bottles, food packaging and numerous other common plastic products. PETG has proven its value as a 3D printing filament as an easy-to-use and durable material.
Basic rules when designing for 3d printing
What you can do with 3D printers is unlimited, but there are some points to consider when it comes to the material technology it uses. The following are the basic rules to consider when preparing your model for 3D printers:
- Make your drawing as solid, not only a creating a surface, it is easier like this:
3D printers cannot print CAD files created by surfacing. The file must be a “solid” CAD file. Wall thicknesses should be at least 1mm in size. But it should never have a “zero” thickness. (A plane we draw in the drawing program usually has a “zero” thickness, so 3D model should not be created by combining the surfaces.) If we are going to create a 3D model by combining the surfaces, then we should be careful not to leave spaces between the surfaces in our model. (Our model should be “waterproof”. Check out our 4th point.)
- Design Should not have Shared edge :
There should be no shared edges or common edges between two or more object drawings in your CAD file. There must be a gap of at least 0.1 mm between them. Or they must be intertwined, fused.
- Normals, should face the correct direction
“Normals” are reference props that appear perpendicular to a surface in CAD files, indicating which side of the surface is inside and which side is outside. An inverted normal misrepresents the computer’s internal and external surface information. We can easily repair such a situation with the free software Netfabb Studio Basic.
- Close the surfaces:
Before you start printing your object on the printer, you should check your drawing file for open surface again. We often encounter such situations if we used the surfaces when creating the model. Or we can come across the saving stages after the model is created or the conversion to STL. We can use Netfabb Studio Basic free software to detect and close such places.
- Hollow models:
If you are creating a large volume object, we recommend that you empty it. In this way, you can save the material you will use in the model and make your model cheaper. Always adjust the thickness to be at least 2mm.
- Always keep the limits of your printer in mind:
Each machine has a unique printing volume. If you want to print an object larger than this volume, then additions will have to be made. Because the print volume represents the largest volume we can print the object without attachment. If you want bigger model, we can enlarge your drawing for you and divide it from suitable places.
- Scale down:
Bringing your model to the smallest possible size and you will see huge differences in pricing. For example, if you reduce your model by half, you will divide the cost by eight. Care should be taken not to fall under the thickness of the wall thickness, which should be when scaling down (1 mm). Particular attention should be paid to this issue, especially during the reduction of very large models ,for example architectural models.
- Space between moving parts:
The gap between the moving parts should be at least 0.5mm. If less, then the parts may stick together and it will be difficult for them to move freely. One of the most common mistakes when preparing the model is to draw the motion gap as “zero”. Always check before printing and make sure the size of the gap is not “zero”.
- Thin arm syndrome:
If the drawing you have has thin arms, and there are also heavy parts on the ends of these arms, then the probability of bending or breaking these arms during printing is very high. When scaling your drawing, be sure to pay attention to this point if the load is hanging on the ends of the arms.
- What should be the format of the file I will upload?
If your 3D design is ready, you can send your file as STL, OBJ.
What is SLA 3D Printing?
SLA Stereolithography 3D printing technology is the first invented 3D printing technology among 3D printing technologies. SLA technology, found by Chuck Hull, known as the inventor of 3D printer technology, was invented in 1986 and founded 3DSystems.
SLA technology is also known as resin printing. By using photopolymer resin material, the light forms the polymers by connecting molecule chains to form 3d models, and thanks to the fine processing precision of the laser, detailed models can be produced with this technology. In addition, resin 3D printing technology, which uses a projector as a light source called DLP Digital Light Projector technology, which operates similar to SLA technology, is also available. The main brands of 3d printers that use these technologies are 3D Systems and Formlabs.
SLA Resin 3D printing technology is used in the production of medical models as the first use. Patient models taken with tomography or MR are produced in detail thanks to SLA 3d printers and used in preoperative planning.
Also, SLA resin 3d printing technology is widely used in the field of jewelry. 3d models prepared in computer environment are produced from pourable resin material and the prototype created is used as master model to be molded.
SLA (stereolithography) 3D Printing; It is a three-dimensional printing method of a liquid material such as resin, made using laser or daylight solidification effect. The curing effect of light is called curing.
First, the model to be printed in three dimensions is transferred to the interface program of the printer and a print file called G-code is created here. This file is sent to the printer / loaded and cured with the laser applied to the liquid resin in a container or the intensity of the light in daylight wavelengths.
While the SLA method is less preferred due to its difficulty of use and relatively more expensive, it is used in sectors such as jewelery and dentistry as it has high printing sensitivity.
With SLA 3d printing method, you can watch the sample printing process from our video. Please do not hesitate to contact us for your questions.
SLA 3d printing Usage Areas
The usage area of SLA technology is very wide. It offers ideal solutions for the production of complex designed models. Thanks to its wide material selection, it is suitable for many sectors. Some sectors are given below.
According to the nature of the model:
– In models with complex structures,
– In models where surface quality and dimensional consistency should be very high,
– In models that should show good mechanical strength.
According to the sectors:
– Jewelry, jewelery and accessories production,
– Dental models,
– Biomedical models,
– Automotive prototypes,
– User electronics products prototypes,
– Industrial prototypes.