3D printing: how does it work? Today I present to you this manufacturing technique that is changing the daily life of companies. This is a real trend that has emerged in just a few years. Many companies now use this tool on a daily basis, whereas it was once a marginal practice. Indeed, this technique has a wide range of positive points. We are going to explore this technology which has become accessible thanks to the many manufacturers present on the market. Good discovery of 3D printing and do not hesitate to ask us questions in the comments of this article.
3D printing, how does it work?
3D printing is a manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital model file. The technique consists of adding layer after layer of material to make an entire object. But 3D printing: how does it work exactly? We will therefore discover it together in the rest of this article.
The 3D printing process originated in the 1980s and was originally called "rapid prototyping". It has allowed many companies to develop prototypes faster and more accurately than other methods. After more than 30 years of innovation and progress, users have now diversified the uses of this tool. Among its advantages are:
- Geometry: The ability to work with complex geometry is what makes 3D printing unique. This is what puts 3D printing above other manufacturing technologies.
- Flexibility: With 3D printing, the process of modifying your part is incredibly simple.
- Speed: This ability to make changes quickly and on the fly also makes 3D printing the ideal technology for rapid prototyping.
- Cost: For products or prototypes that are fully compatible with 3D printing, the technology can help reduce costs in many areas compared to more conventional production.
Manufacturers, engineers, designers, teachers, doctors and hobbyists use the technology for many applications.
The History of 3D Printing
There is a real story behind 3d printing as we know it today. Here is the history of this technology and how it works! The additive manufacturing technique has already been exploited and it had a completely different name and was called stereolithography. It is a process similar to 3D printing, a little less successful because it was abandoned for lack of business perspective. It was introduced by the French engineers Alain Le Méhauté, Olivier de Witte and Jean-Claude André . At the same time, the American Charles Hull filed his patent for the invention of SLA stereolithography in 1986.
In the 90s, the technique spread and new techniques developed, such as the technology of molten wire deposition or FDM. And that's when 3D printers developed. Since then, techniques have evolved and printing is done more and more quickly. It develops and begins to enter various fields such as medicine, automotive, mechanics, fashion etc. This technology allows many opportunities in all areas.
What is material addition?
As we have seen, the process of 3D printing involves building layer upon layer of molten plastic to ultimately create, an object. The printer adds each layer on top of the previous one to build the object. Making a 3D print requires a digital file that tells the 3D printer where to print the material.
What is a G-Code?
The most common file format is G-code files. It basically contains "coordinates" to guide the movements of the printer, both horizontally and vertically also known as the X, Y and Z axes. 3D printers can print these layers at different thicknesses, known as layer height. Much like pixels on a screen, more layers in a print result in higher "resolution". The result will be more beautiful, but the print will take longer.
Well it's true that it's a technique, but now that you have understood the idea, we can get down to business!
3D printing: how does it work in detail?
It is difficult to name all the fields in which 3D printing is used. Whether in fashion, medicine or engineering. It is present absolutely everywhere.
There is no one way to 3D print. There are many techniques for creating parts additively. Depending on the nature of your project, different techniques are possible:
- 3D printing of plastic
- Resin 3D printing
- 3D printing of metal
- 3D color printing
3D printing and ecology
The most common material found in 3D printing is PLA, which is a plastic. While not the most environmentally friendly material, plastic can be recycled. Indeed, 3D printing is a process that allows better respect for the environment than in conventional creation processes. You can recycle the material used and reuse old plastic parts. The production of these parts is not only fast but also environmentally friendly. The traditional method of production often results in the production of significant waste, such as machining chips, which cannot be reused. With 3D printing we only use what we need! Since it is a superposition of material, there are no scraps or unwanted waste!
While there may be reservations about the effectiveness of 3D printing as an eco-friendly tool, it's important to remember that the technology continues to rapidly evolve and grow. 'improve. Problems of waste production or particulate emissions may be addressed by manufacturers in the future. It is therefore important to study the ecological potential that this technology represents.
Among the positive points of this technique are:
- Local manufacture of products, thus reducing transport distances between manufacturers and consumers, and therefore, the associated pollution.
- Reduction in the average number of pieces per product, which means less transport and less waste.
- Reduction of the raw materials used for the production of an object: the additive process of 3D printers only prints what it needs.
- Simplified product prototyping, much more local, allowing prototypes to be produced by the designers themselves.
- Production of small series, on demand, close to the consumption area, thus limiting stocks and the transport of products.
- Upcycling or extending the life of products
Upcycling and 3D printing
And yes, even in printing we find this very trendy practice at the moment! We use 3D printing to bring life back to objects that we would normally throw away to transform them. So how does 3D printing work with upcycling? If you have a device that is missing a part, it is possible to reprint it with 3D printing. Many industrial firms have already implemented this process, which means less waste.
Add to that that if a company needs a part, they can now print it themselves. This avoids ordering parts from the other side of the world and reduces the carbon impact! Not bad huh ?
In short, it is a technique that is revolutionizing industries while reducing the ecological footprint. Thanks to this technology, the production of waste during creation is considerably reduced. This also extends the life of the products and avoids the planned obsolescence of certain devices. Even if the ecological footprint of 3D printers sometimes remains high, the improvements remain very promising.
3D printing: how does it work with Quark?
At Quark we also use 3D printing. Materials such as PLA and PETG are mainly used. And since we produce to order, no waste ;). Many accessories in the catalog are made from these printers. The rendering is very interesting and allows us to have a wide choice of colors. We like 3D printing because it is an ideal tool for the ecological transition. And thanks to the ever-increasing progress each year, 3D printing is a very promising technique and we are validating 👍
The colors available in 3D printing
I'll give you a quick summary of all the colors available for our 3D printed pen holders.
Are you more classic? Want neutral colors for your 3D printing? No worries, we have Reflow White, gentleman's grey, galaxy silver, galaxy black, mystic brown, coffee bronze and vanilla white. Do you want a color that is a little out of the ordinary while remaining neutral? So try light terracotta, mystic green or ocher reflow.
But if you're more of the flamboyant type, then our flashy colors in 3D printing are for you! We have simply green, jungle green, oh my gold, pineapple yellow, prusa orange, lipstick red, carmine red, ultramarine blue, galaxy purple and transparent purple. Yes, you read that right, OH MY GOLD!
Finally, for those who prefer soft colors, we have reflow aqua, reflow transparent, reflow seafoam green, pistachio green and chalky blue. These are my favorites, I must admit! So don't hesitate any longer, go to our Quark site to discover all our colors and give free rein to your creativity! For more details on pen pots, you can find them on our website.
Signage in 3D printing
We have been able to carry out many very creative and useful projects for you and your interior. If you are curious to see our achievements, here is a few:
How to use 3D printing in decoration?
3D printing: how does it work in decoration? For decoration, here are the little dots that you see, representing Michael Jordan, the face of the Jordan brand logo. These small holes are actually small holes machined in the wood and filled with small cylinders made in 3D printing.
Here is another one, a small pegboard shelf in the shape of a staircase, very practical for storing all kinds of everyday objects. In decoration or to store your interior. And you can imagine, it is made using 3D printing.
There you go, you now know everything about how 3D printing works! Are you ready to embark on this new technological adventure? Remember, the key to success is patience and practice. With a little practice, you'll soon be able to make all kinds of amazing objects. So, to your 3D printers, get set, go! And if you need more advice, don't hesitate to visit our Quark site to discover all our tips and 3D printing models.