[Sticky] What is 3D Printing ?
In this thread we answer some basic 3D printing questions that beginners might have.
What is 3D Printing ?
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process by which physical objects are created by depositing materials in layers based on a digital model. The process always begins with a digital 3D model - the blueprint of the physical object. This model is converted into thin, 2-dimensional layers by printer software called Slicer. Then these 2-dimensional layers are turned into a set of instructions in machine language (G-code) for the printer to execute.
Common Methods of 3D Printing
3D printers are classified by the way they build the physical models and the material they use. They are commonly classified as :
Fused filament fabrication /Fused deposition Modelling (FFF/FDM)
Most FFF/FDM printers melt plastic filaments and lay it down onto the print platform through a nozzle. It is common in both consumer and professional 3D printers. Some example of FFF/FDM 3D printers include Ultimaker, Prusa and Ender 3. To know more about the various parts of a FDM printer refer to the topic Various Parts of a FDM Printer. This is the most common type of hobby printers in use today.
These printers do not use solid plastic as the input. Instead, they use resin liquids that are reactive to UV light. Such printers build the 3D model layer by layer by curing the resin using a UV light. Common examples of such printers are Formlabs Form 3, Prusa SL1 and Creality LD-002R.
Selective laser sintering (SLS)
Such type of 3D printers are common in industrial manufacturing. In this method of 3D printing, lasers are used to fuse powdered materials together, layer by layer. Such printers are not meant for hobby use and are mostly used in industries. They can also use powdered metals to 3D print complex metal parts.
These are the various types of 3d printers and, as you start your journey into 3D printing, you will mostly encounter the first category i.e. FDM printers. If you have any questions/comments, do ask them in this thread.