One of the most remarkable technologies to have been developed in recent years has to be that of 3D printing. This technology enables you to use a specialized printer to create the things you design on a computer with the help of certain materials. If you are planning to use this technology, it helps to know a bit about it like the working of the technology, salient features, scanners and 3D modeling applications, how to print etc.
How Does This Technology Work?
In order to 3D print something, you need to create the concept art of the object first. A virtual design has to be created in the form of a specialized file such as CAD. CAD files can be created with the help of a 3D scanner if you are planning on cloning a specific object. A 3D modeling application will also suffice if you want to create the design on your computer.
3D Scanners : These specialized scanners can make use of various technologies in order to create a 3D model. Some examples include volumetric sacking and structured light among others. 3D scanners are an important part of 3D printing technology but they can be rather expensive but cheap DIY kits are also available.
3D Modeling Applications : Like scanners, you can find a range of these applications. Professional grade applications are quite costly. On the other hand, free or cheap applications are also available for beginners to create concept art with. Some applications even come with tutorials to help you get started.
Printing the Model
Once you have readied the model, you need to work on it further to get it ready for 3D printing. In order to prepare the model, a process known as slicing is used. In it, the model is sliced into numerous horizontal layers. In order to do so, you need a specialized software. Some modeling applications have this function built into them. In some cases, you may have to use a specific slicing tool that is compatible with the 3D printer. Once completed, the actual printing process can be started. The time required for the printing to be completed depends on the printer you are using, the materials you are working with and the complexity of the structure.
3D printing technology has certainly progressed far. However, it still has a long way to go till it becomes a part of homes like regular 2D printers.