What is 3D Printing?
3D Printing is an additive technology used in the production of three-dimensional products from their digital designs. In the past, products were made using the subtractive method, both time-consuming and expensive. But with time, 3D Printing has increased production efficiency. You can design products of any shape.
Pros of 3D Printing technology:
The following are some of the advantages of using 3D Printing technique:
- Cost reduction is an essential element while preferring 3D Printing technology. It cuts the labour cost.
- 3D Printing technique is much more efficient than the subtractive process. It saves time by producing more products.
- Unlike traditional subtractive techniques, 3D printing technology is not limited to some shapes and geometry. You can design objects of any form using this technique.
- There is no wastage of raw material. In the subtractive technique, you take a bulk of the material and then give it a shape. You waste a lot of raw material. But using 3D Printing technology, there is no excess raw material left.
Cons of using 3D Printing technology:
- If you use the 3D Printing technique, you cannot make objects of considerable size. It is due to the small chamber of 3D printers. So 3D Printing technology limits the size of the item.
- As 3D Printing technology is an alternative to human labor, it will have adverse effects on your country’s economy.
- Creating counterfeit goods with 3D Printing is easier than ever before.
What material can be used in 3D Printing?
3D Printing technique requires a lot of material depending upon the quality of your product. Some of the essential 3D printer filament materials are explained below:
PLA or Polylactic Acid is a fully degradable thermoplastic consisting of renewable raw materials. It is the most commonly used thermoplastic both in the world, as well as in 3D printers. It comes from corn starch or sugarcane. It is known as “Green Plastic.” It is mostly used in food packaging. The following are some of its features:
- PLA is easy to print.
- You can print PLA even on colder temperatures.
- PLA is available in many colors. So you can get the color of your demand.
- PLA is significantly less sturdy. It means the product formed can be de-shaped at a high temperature.
ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is also a thermoplastic. It is a common thermoplastic polymer used for 3D printing prototype development and injection molded part manufacturing. As is petroleum-based, so it is not biodegradable. That is why people prefer PLA to ABS. It is more robust, more durable, and more heat-resistant compared to PLA. The following are some of its highlighting features:
- It is a cost-effective thermoplastic. It is available at a low price in the market.
- Unlike PLA, it requires a slightly high temperature for Printing.
- It is more robust and more reliable than PLA and Nylon.
- It is a non-biodegradable thermoplastic, that is why not echo-friendly.
Nylon is a thermoplastic silky material that can be changed into fibers, films, or shapes. Nylon or Polyamide is well-known for its flexibility and strength and is mostly used in joining parts in printing models. Nylon fabric is also a famous product in the market. Nylon is commonly known as “White Plastic.” Nylon has the highest layer-bonding strength among all the materials. Some of its main characteristics are listed below:
- Nylon is well-known for its flexibility to strength ratio.
- Nylon is not available in multiple colors, but you can easily dye it.
- Nylon has a short half-life, as it degrades from humidity in the surrounding air.
- Nylon shrinks during cooling.
Resin is a limiting and less used material in 3D Printing technology. It has the least flexibility and strength among all the printing materials. Therefore it is not a material of choice for many people. It solidifies when exposed to UV radiation. Resins are available in many forms like Standard Resin, Transparent Resin, Paint-able Resin, Rapid Resin, Plant-based Resin, and flexible Resin. Some of its features are highlighted below:
- Unlike Nylon, it does not shrink on cooling.
- It is low flexibility to strength ratio.
- It is also available in different colors and forms.
- It solidifies when exposed to UV radiation.
5: Stainless Steel:
Stainless Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. It is also commonly used in 3D Printers. It needs processes of fusion and sintering for Printing. Some of its features are given below:
- Unlike iron, it does not show rusting.
- It is used to make high strength products.
- It has low flexibility to strength ratio.
- Printing of stainless steel requires time.
- Printing is expensive compared to other materials.
6: Other materials:
Some of the other materials used in 3D Printers are titanium, ceramics, graphite, carbon fibers, nitinol, papers, etc.
3D Printing technology is very efficient compared to traditional subtractive techniques. 3D Printing saves both time and money. You can design models that are not possible to made using the subtractive method. The material used in 3D Printing varies depending upon the quality of your product e.g., For making fabric, you have to use Nylon, while for making kitchen utensils, stainless steel would be your choice.