How do 3D printers work?

As 3D printing has become more affordable and widespread, many people have become interested in it. If you’re thinking of investing in 3D printing, learn how these printers work and what they can do for your business.

Who Uses 3D Printers?

All sorts of businesses use 3D printers, including:

• Automakers, who create custom parts for autos
• Doctors, who develop implants and medical devices for patients
• Apparel makers, who enjoy creating custom textiles
• Jewellers, who craft both 3D jewellery and jewellery moulds
• Architects, who print models of homes
• Weapons manufacturers, who print 3D weapons

As these examples illustrate, custom objects created by 3D printers can be practical or aesthetic. They may solve a problem on the individual level, as in a 3D replacement hip for a patient, or innovate efficiencies at scale.

How Do 3D Printers Work?

3D printers work through computer-aided design software, also known as CAD. Using CAD, you can design whatever object you would like to print. The printer can then interpret the CAD data, much like a traditional printer interprets and prints your document file.

3D printers can accommodate several different materials, such as plastic or rubber. Source material is fed into the printer, where it is then melted to become pliable. The printer squirts out the molten plastic using the CAD as a blueprint, and the plastic hardens after it has cooled.

In the printing process, printers emit a single slice at a time. By stacking one slice upon the next slice, then fusing the slices together, the printer creates a solid object. As you can imagine, the printing process can be quite laborious. It typically takes several hours to print something.

One type of 3D printing, known as laser sintering, uses a powdered source material. The printer passes a laser over the powdered material, so the laser melts and fuses the powder. The process repeats to create the 3D object. Laser sintering is expensive, due to the high cost of powerful lasers, so for now, this remains an enterprise application.

3D printers have come down in cost; you will find models for less than £1,000. If you’ve been intrigued with 3D printers as a way to gain a competitive advantage in your industry, the time may be right to choose a printer and get started with this exciting technology.

The Best 3D Printers To Buy

If you’re looking for a 3D printer here’s some entry level and more advanced 3D printers which you may find suitable for your requirements.

BEETHEFIRST+ 3D Printer (£1149.74)

Beethefirst 3D PrinterBeethefirst 3D printer

Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer (£690)

Flashforge creator pro 3D PrinterFlashforge creator pro 3D Printer

 

XYZ Printing da Vinci 3D printer (£233.74)

If you’re looking for an entry level printer this one could be for you.

XYZ Printing da Vinci 3D printer XYZ Printing da Vinci 3D printer

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