3D Printing: The Internal Process and Development.

3D printing is an out of ordinary innovation which started with Chuck Hull’s stereolithography and waiting for new possibilities in future. 3D Printing creates 3 Dimensional objects by using the computer description of the product and laying down the material layer by layer until the object is constructed. The versatility speed of 3D printing appears in different ways such as personal manufacturing, personal computing and commercial manufacturing.

A typical 3D printing work basically follows the steps below.

Picking up a right model with the right format

Going through with the Tessellation process, (The process of filling the surface) requires a 3D model from software like Fusion 360, Autodesk Inventor, Revit, a 3d scan of an object, etc. STL (Standard Triangle Language) is the most common file format. STL file can store information about 3D models describes only the surface geometry of a 3D object without color texture. STL files are usually generated by computer-aided Designing (CAD) program. Native files also can be converted to STL. However, every STL file is not a 3D printable. 3D design STL files specifically made for 3D printing are 3D printable.

However, for 3D printing, STL is not the only format used, there are also other formats. Among them, OBJ is the most suitable format for storing color and texture. Polygon is also a well-known format. PLY format is used to store the 3D scanned object and PLY can be converted to STL for 3D printing.

3D model processing

For getting a quality 3D print from any 3d scanned object, having a processed 3d model is important.

There are some pipelines to create a processed 3d model from a 3d scanned object. Below image describes the process.

2D IMAGES > 3D SCAN > MESH CLEANING & SCULPTING IN ZBRUSH

Another newly available 3D print format is 3MF, which allows design applications to send full-fidelity 3D models to mix a mix of other applications, platforms, services, and printers. The 3MF specification allows companies to focus on innovation and it is engineered to avoid the problems associated with other 3D file formats. In this way, the 3D printing workflow expects to be much more flexible.

The most suitable version?

Out of STL and OBJ, the challenge is to choose the most suitable version for 3D printing?

OBJ supports the representation of colour and texture but STL cannot store additional information such as colour, texture, etc. That means to apply multiple colours and texture in 3D prints, OBJ is the right choice. But if the objective is to get a single colour on 3D print, STL would be the better choice than OBJ as it’s simpler and smaller file size with a faster process. STL format is supported by almost all 3d printers and CAD systems and has it’s own tolerance settings because of setting triangles. But being unitless is an issue with STL.

Printer properties

In categorising 3D printer nozzles, two main characteristics can be considered, which are material and the exit diameter. There is a wide range of measures ranging from 0.10mm to 1.2mm.

All 3d printers work almost within the same rules. It works as same as the paper printers. The nozzle gains the free movement on a plain according to the prototype and sprays the particles following the 3D model information. Then, layer by layer 3D print pixels creates the object.

Picking up the right ingredients

3D printing can be easier and flexible If it can minimize printing time. Always use proper materials and weight to minimize the strength for minimum unity and it creates an object which will be able to create a flex without breaking. Use of correct structural design paradigm makes it easy to incorporate multiple designs for maximum durability. This will help in creating a quick functional, printable object well beyond what is possible with a simple model to printing workflow.

The industrial design today is progressive with innovative modelling software. The same way, 3D printing for complex modelling of mass production with customization has an immeasurable space in the field of construction and design. We can anticipate a rapid development in the 3D printing manufacturing process which will completely change the world within the next decade of time.

On behalf of team LiveRoom, written by Purnima Mitra

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