How are 3D printers classified
Despite the frank “youth”, the direction of three-dimensional printing is developing rapidly and comprehensively: more and more new materials are used, equipment designs are simplified and complicated, and additional methods of work are discovered. The fundamental differences between the models are so great that you can classify 3D printers according to at least three criteria.
Each 3D printing technology requires its own material, otherwise the printer will simply not be able to work correctly. Components of various nature and consistency can be used as raw materials:
Powder. it can be powdered metal (titanium, steel, aluminum, etc.), wood, sand, plastic, ceramics. It all depends on the purpose of the future product and the type of printer operation;
Gypsum is a separate category of powder raw materials, which includes, in fact, gypsum, as well as crushed brick, putty and other materials of this type. Designed only for equipment operating with the addition of a binder to the feedstock;
Gypsum powder is used mainly for the manufacture of small sculptural objects and interior decorations.
Wax. used mainly in jewelry production;
Plastic filament is one of the most popular materials for extrusion 3D printers;
Photopolymer resin. a viscous mass that hardens under the influence of ultraviolet radiation;
Metal wire is a cheaper substitute for powdered metals. Can be tin, nickel, aluminum, titanium, etc.;
Foil, paper, plastic film. for models of equipment working by the method of gluing raw materials;
Food products. dough, cheese, chocolate or marzipan mass, glazes and creams.
The methods of layer-by-layer creation of bulk products depend on the technological features of the equipment and the raw materials used. The development of new printing principles is ongoing, so every year they will become more and more, but for now the following are applied:
- Extrusion (FDM-technology). through the nozzle of the thermal chamber onto the printing platform, molten plastic, wax or food raw material is extruded layer by layer;
- Laser sintering (SLS and DMLS methods). ordinary or metallic powder mass is melted and sintered under the action of a laser beam;
- Stereolithography (SLA). the method is also based on laser radiation, but the raw material for creating products is photopolymer resin;
- Lamination (LOM). gluing together a large number of layers of material, for example, paper, with the simultaneous cutting of the contour of the object on each layer;
- Electron beam melting (EBF). metal wire (20 types of metals, including nickel, titanium, tungsten, etc.) is melted by electron radiation;
- Inkjet modeling (PolyJet or MJM). a technology similar to stereolithography, but more versatile. a wide range of materials are used as raw materials: from liquid photopolymer plastic to wax;
- Inkjet three-dimensional printing (3DP). layers of powder material are glued together with a binder.
Back at the beginning of the century, equipment for 3D printing was a very expensive exotic, available only to large companies and research laboratories, and now you will NOT surprise anyone with a 3D printer in a home workshop. than 300 companies around the world are already engaged in the release of such equipment and components for its self-assembly. The design and technical characteristics of printers differ fundamentally depending on their purpose. All manufactured models can be conditionally divided into 4 categories:
- Home. low-performance, simple and easy-to-use devices, which can be assembled independently from a set of parts. They allow you to create the simplest products, work on the basis of a plastic thread. Suitable for enthusiasts who are interested in understanding new technology and delighting loved ones with printed figures;
Compact and easy-to-use home 3D printer
personal. despite the similarity with household printers, they differ from them in higher performance characteristics, primarily in speed and print quality. They can be used both at home and in small workshops or offices. Focused on small businesses, advertising agencies, design studios, engineering prototyping in small volumes;
Personal 3D printer
professional. large-sized productive equipment with a large number of settings, options and high printing accuracy. Working as a 3D printer of this class requires knowledge and appropriate training. Designed for construction, architectural companies, medium and large businesses.
Professional 3D printing equipment
Production. automated printing centers with the highest possible technical characteristics and a large working area. They can work in several technologies and with various types of raw materials. Installed at large industrial enterprises for the manufacture of high-precision products of any size and purpose: from blood vessels to full-size vehicles.
Production 3D printer for printing bulk products on an industrial scale
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