3D printer


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3D printer,

computerized device that produces a three-dimensional object by creating it as a series of thin layers. The object is created from a model stored in computer-aided designcomputer-aided design
(CAD) or computer-aided design and drafting
(CADD), form of automation that helps designers prepare drawings, specifications, parts lists, and other design-related elements using special graphics- and calculations-intensive computer programs.
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 file; the model is sliced into hundreds or thousands of very thin horizontal layers using computer software, and each layer is sent to the 3D printer to be created successively until the entire object is formed. A number of different processes are used by 3D printers to create objects. Droplets of a melted material may be deposited to form the layers, ultraviolet light may be used to harden layers from a pool of photocurable liquid resin, or a laser or electron beam may be used to sinter (see sinteringsintering,
process of forming objects from a metal powder by heating the powder at a temperature below its melting point. In the production of small metal objects it is often not practical to cast them.
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) or melt particles in a bed of powder to form the layers. A wide variety of materials may be used depending on the process, including thermoplasticsthermoplastics,
materials that soften or melt when heated and harden when cooled. Thermoplastic polymers consist of long polymer molecules that are not linked to each other. i.e., have no cross-links.
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, metals, ceramic powders, glass, plaster, and chocolate and other foodstuffs.

Originally developed in the 1980s, 3D printing was first used mainly to produce prototypes of manufactured objects. As the size, speed, and cost of 3D printers has been reduced and they have become easier to use, the printers have become more commonplace, and found wider use. A mainstay now of rapid prototyping, they are also used for custom or small-scale manufacturing and to make architectural and other models. The International Space Station, for example, has used a 3D printer to produce a custom wrench from instructions emailed by NASA. Some stents and alternatives to orthodontic braces are made using 3D printers, and artifical limbs, joints, bones, and bone scaffolding for implantation have been produced. Models created with 3D-printers are used to prepare for complicated surgical procedures. So-called bioprinters are being explored as a means of creating individualized tissues and organs for transplantation. Less expensive 3D printers are available for use by the hobbyist, and 3D-printing services are available to create objects for those who cannot afford a printer or only need to use one occasionally.

Bibliography

See H. Lipson and M. Kurman, Fabricated (2013).

3D printer

A machine that creates a plastic or metal part one layer on top of another (the additive fabrication method). Used mostly for quickly creating prototypes and molds, 3D printers are also used to build final parts. Available for myriad industrial uses as well as for the hobbyist, a variety of different technologies are used to form the layers. For details, see 3D printing. See personal 3D printer, 3D printing materials and rapid prototyping.

The Industrial 3D Pioneer
Standing in front of one of his company's high-end 3D printers, Chuck Hull co-founded 3D Systems, and his stereolithography technology pioneered rapid prototyping in the mid-1980s. (Image courtesy of 3D Systems, Inc., www.3dsystems.com)


Personal 3D Printers
In the 2012 time frame, these printers debuted for the consumer. From top to bottom (printing technology in parentheses): Formlabs Form 1 (stereolithography-SL), MakerBot Replicator 2 (fused deposition modeling-FDM), and 3D Systems Cube (plastic jet printing-PJP). See personal 3D printer and 3D printing. (Images courtesy of the manufacturers.)


Personal 3D Printers
In the 2012 time frame, these printers debuted for the consumer. From top to bottom (printing technology in parentheses): Formlabs Form 1 (stereolithography-SL), MakerBot Replicator 2 (fused deposition modeling-FDM), and 3D Systems Cube (plastic jet printing-PJP). See personal 3D printer and 3D printing. (Images courtesy of the manufacturers.)


Personal 3D Printers
In the 2012 time frame, these printers debuted for the consumer. From top to bottom (printing technology in parentheses): Formlabs Form 1 (stereolithography-SL), MakerBot Replicator 2 (fused deposition modeling-FDM), and 3D Systems Cube (plastic jet printing-PJP). See personal 3D printer and 3D printing. (Images courtesy of the manufacturers.)


Quite Amazing
Although 3D printing is maturing and gaining enormous ground, it never ceases to amaze people that objects like this can be created a layer at a time.
References in periodicals archive ?
com's Less Money, More Love campaign live event will feature a team of American tech experts who will showcase the functionalities and capabilities of 3D printers and answer all audience's questions.
Global 3D Printing Day was being organized and hosted throughout the world by 3D Hubs, an online platform connecting 3D printer owners, known as "Hubs", and potential 3D printer users.
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com/research/srz9sr/global_healthcare) has announced the addition of the "Global Healthcare 3D Printers, Applications, Products, Services & Ancillary Market Assessment & Forecast: 2015-2019" report to their offering.
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The primary enterprise 3D printer market drivers are the finished-piece quality and material advances.
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MakerBot, a has signed an agreement with D&H Distributing as a distributor of MakerBot 3D printers and scanners in the U.
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