3D Printing, one of the most important innovations of this century, is increasingly gaining ground in the industrial field thanks to its versatility and its benefits for production. After an initial cold reception on the market, people started gradually paying attention to 3D printing and its incredible potential: its features allow meeting the customer’s needs in a simple, rapid and relatively inexpensive way, like reproducing three-dimensional objects – of various shapes and materials – fulfilling specific requirements related to everyday as well as industrial objects. Indeed, nowadays its employment finds more and more consensus among end-users and within the production industry, especially in the sectors that mainly concern mechanical processing.
The process starts from a 3D digital model – tailored to the customer's needs by means of a 3D design program – which is then elaborated by a software that recognizes the project and converts it into a model (and in a sequence) that the printer will use to realize the object. What mainly contributes to the 3D printers’ versatility are the features that enable the creation of objects of various levels of complexity, and the employment of different materials, such as metals, plastics and rubbers (just to name a few) depending on the requirements.
To date, there are various methods for creating objects through 3D printing. The following are the most commonly used:
1. Extrusion: also known as FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) or FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication), consists of a system of extruders that, when moving, deposit the material layer by layer until the completion of the desired object.
2. DLP (Digital Light Processing): based on photochemical transformations of the materials, it consists in the hardening of fluid material (held in containment tanks) by irradiation through a light source.
3. Melting of granular materials or SLS (Selective Laser Selting): made by solidifying a powdered composite material by means of a laser.
Each project must be implemented and optimized according to the printing technique used and the materials emplyed in order to find the right solution for the object to be created.
Practical applications for the industry field
In the industrial field, its use allows you to find solutions for:
- Small-series production
- Work tools
- Discontinued spare parts
- Highly customized products
- 3D printing systems: creation of three-dimensional digital drawing, processing of specific software for print files (warranty and related updates included)
- Analysis and identification of the materials and the printing technology to be used;
- Realization of the 3D finished product