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3DP also known as 3D printing is an Additive manufacturing process used for making a three-dimensional solid object directly from a 3D digital model known as CAD model.

3DP (3D Printing)

Clouds How 3D-Printing works: Process starts with a 3D CAD model sliced into thin layers in Z-axis. These sliced layers are used to drive an extrusion head of FDM machine. The building material, in the form of a thin solid filament, is fed from a spool to a movable head controlled by servo motors. Second filament is fed from adjacent nozzle for support material, used to give support for overhanged or cantilever features. The filament reaches the liquifier head, melts it and then extruded through a nozzle onto the part surface. After covering the whole cross section build platform descends by one layer thickness to lay down the next layer. Process repeats itself until full 3D part is formed. The temperature of machine chamber is precisely controlled below the melting point of the material so that only little amount of heat is required to melt the filament and on the other hand part need to be kept cool enough so that the molten material solidifies upon contact. FDM parts are suitable for strong and functional testing exposed to temperature, water or chemicals. These parts have almost 80% of the strength of injection moulded ABS material.

3D Printing part Gallery

3D Printing part Gallery

Advantages of 3DP Process

  • Cost effective solution for small to medium size parts in shortest lead time
  • Parts are dimensionally stable and make them suitable for form, fit and functional testing
  • Environmental exposure does not alter the size of the part or its features.
  • Ideal for strong parts exposed to temperature, water and many chemicals.
  • High level of finish can be achieved by sanding and other post processing techniques.
  • ABS parts can be further machined, polished or electroplated.

Limitations of 3DP Process

  • Parts have a ribbed appearance due to layering process
  • Extensive snap and living hinge features could fail due to process and material limitations.
  • 3DP could be a slower process for very large build volume parts subject to part complexity and shape. Thin wall and hollow parts are faster to make than solid builds.

General Applications of 3DP parts

  • Conceptual models for effectively evaluating, optimising and communicating your design
  • End use products without spending on tooling, moulding and machining
  • 3DP parts can be directly used for tools such as Jigs and fixtures, production or tooling
  • Excellent choice for extrusion profile verification
  • Product designers use 3DP parts for form, fit and function analysis and concept visualisation
  • Medical, Healthcare and Defence industries use 3DP products for form, fit and functional analysis
  • Consumer and Educational industries have great demand of 3D printed conceptual or visual parts due to quick turnaround