3D printing technology can easily be considered one of the most iconic scientific achievements of the twenty-first century. And why not? For who would have imagined having a device that can churn out solid three dimensional objects having the exact shape and design of the model that is fed to the printer. In other words, it’s like being able to give shape to your dreams and Konica Minolta has a great range of 3D printers to offer.
How does it work?
The way a 3D printer works is intriguing too. Basically, the process is all about depositing the building material a layer at a time in a specific manner so that the desired shape is achieved. That way, each layer can be considered a thin slice of the final object that gets deposited one at a time to form the ultimate object. For this, the building material is actually deposited using multiple nozzles until the final object is ready.
The 3D model and its slicing
The entire process starts with a 3D model, which is either prefabricated or custom made. Once you have the model ready, the next step for you to do is to convert it into a file format that your printer recognizes. That, in reality, amounts to slicing the 3D model into numerous thin horizontal layers of the object and is done using special slicing software built for the purpose. In effect, the 3D printer would be depositing each of these layers at a time.
The various types of 3D Printers.
Now, 3D printers are of different types, sizes, and shapes. Each printer type also is built for a specific purpose. For instance, there are the Composite 3D printers that can be used to print an object using plastic or fiberglass. Then there are the Digital Light Printing (DLP) 3D Printers which finds application in industries that benefit from the creation of digital molds. The DLP 3d printer can operate using a wide range of materials such as polymer, waxes, or plastics.
In what can be considered a more critical application of 3D printers, there are the Direct Metal Printers which can be used to 3D print metal objects as well. The printer is based on additive manufacturing tech where powdered metal particles are fed to a high-precision laser, which in turn gets deposited in a single layer over the previous one to form the desired object.
The laser also ensures the metal particles melt during application so that those get glued to the previous layer to form one continuous piece. This also ensures the 3D object thus created is just as strong and rigid had it been made using conventional manufacturing processes.
There also is the Selective Laser Sintering that can be used to produce nylon parts that are as tough as are functional. Similarly, there are the Stereolithography 3D Printers that will let you print stuff having the highest degree of precision and accuracy. So, when the need of the hour is to produce a tough object that matches the exact form and fitting requirements, Stereolithography 3D Printers is the one to go for.
Among the other 3D printers generally in use include Material Extrusion Printers that are well suited for educational purposes. There are MultiJet Printers too for making high definition plastic products while ColorJet Printers have one of the fastest turnaround times while still being affordable.