3D Printing


Normal printers print content onto a sheet of paper, which is a 2-Dimensional object. As the name suggets, 3D printing involves printing a three dimensional object, i.e. an object that has height, width and depth. The process of printing a 3D object is same as that for printing a 2D object:

  • The user gives print command to the software being used by him.
  • The software sends print data to the printer.
  • The printer prints the document.

Whereas a 2D printer prints across the length and breadth of the page, a 3D printer adds material to the object being printed layer-upon-layer and thus creates a 3D object. Since the material is being added layer-upon-layer, it is also called “additive manufacturing”. The user just needs to provide a three-dimensional model of the said object to the printing software and the real-size object is printed by the 3D printer. “Fused Deposition Modeling” (FDM) is the most common technique used for 3D printing where a thermoplastic material’s filament is used to add layer upon layer through an orifice or nozzle.

3D Printer

Its benefits are:

  • Almost anything 3-dimensional can be printed.
  • It can be used to create low cost prototypes.
  • It can be done with various kinds of materials as per needs.
  • It allows rapid prototyping.

Its drawbacks are:

  • The material used for 3D printing is usually of low strength.
  • The finishing of the printed 3D product may not be of desired quality.
  • A specific 3D printer may not be able to create complex 3D designs.
  • The filament of FDM printer may release harmful particles and compounds when 3D printing a model.
  • It may lead to Intellectual Property disputes as anyone can 3D print any 3D model.

Its uses include:

  • It can be used to make spare parts in automotive and manufacturing sector.
  • It can be used in medical sciences to make various implants and prosthetics.
  • It can be used by aerospace industry to make prototypes and test their technologies.
  • Sculptures can be printed for usage in art industry.

For Wikipedia entry on 3D Printing, click here.

For more posts on Advanced Topics, click here.

For more posts in The Cyber Cops project, click here.

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