Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been a popular method of creating prototypes since the 1980s and is quickly becoming the fastest, most affordable way to create custom industrial and consumer goods
FDM printers use a thermoplastic filament, which is heated to its melting point and then extruded, layer by layer, to create a three dimensional object
Objects created with an FDM printer start out as computer-aided design (CAD) files. Before an object can be printed, its CAD file must be converted to a format that a 3D printer can understand — usually .STL format
FDM printers use two kinds of materials, a modeling material, which constitutes the finished object, and a support material, which acts as a scaffolding to support the object as it's being printed
During printing, these materials take the form of plastic threads, or filaments, which are unwound from a coil and fed through an extrusion nozzle. The nozzle melts the filaments and extrudes them onto a base, sometimes called a build platform or table. Both the nozzle and the base are controlled by a computer that translates the dimensions of an object into X, Y and Z coordinates for the nozzle and base to follow during printing
In a typical FDM system, the extrusion nozzle moves over the build platform horizontally and vertically, "drawing" a cross section of an object onto the platform. This thin layer of plastic cools and hardens, immediately binding to the layer beneath it. Once a layer is completed, the base is lowered — usually by about one-sixteenth of an inch — to make room for the next layer of plastic
Once an object comes off the FDM printer, its support materials are removed either by soaking the object in a water and detergent solution or, in the case of thermoplastic supports, snapping the support material off by hand. Objects may also be sanded, milled, painted or plated to improve their function and appearance
What gets made ?
FDM is popular with companies in a variety of industries, from automotive (BMW, Hyundai, Lamborghini) to consumer goods manufacturing (Black and Decker, Dial, Nestle). These companies use FDM throughout their product development, prototyping and manufacturing processes
The most common printing material for FDM is acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a common thermoplastic that's used to make many consumer products, from LEGO bricks to whitewater canoes. Along with ABS, some FDM machines also print in other thermoplastics, like polycarbonate (PC) or polyetherimide (PEI). Support materials are usually water-soluble wax or brittle thermoplastics
Thermoplastics can endure heat, chemicals and mechanical stress, which makes them an ideal material for printing prototypes that must withstand testing. And because FDM can print highly detailed objects, it's also commonly used by engineers that need to test parts for fit and form
FDM is also used to produce end-use parts — particularly small, detailed parts and specialized manufacturing tools. Some thermoplastics can even be used in food and drug packaging, making FDM a popular 3D printing method within the medical industry
Where are 3D Printers used, in India and Abroad ?
Application of 3D Printers in Industries :
Benefits of 3D Printing :
Customization : 3D printing processes allow for mass customization — the ability to personalize products according to individual needs and requirements. Even within the same build chamber, the nature of 3D printing means that numerous products can be manufactured at the same time according to the end-users requirements at no additional process cost.
Complexity : The advent of 3D printing has seen a proliferation of products (designed in digital environments), which involve levels of complexity that simply could not be produced physically in any other way. While this advantage has been taken up by designers and artists to impressive visual effect, it has also made a significant impact on industrial applications, whereby applications are being developed to materialize complex components that are proving to be both lighter and stronger than their predecessors.
Tool-less : For industrial manufacturing, one of the most cost-, time- and labor-intensive stages of the product development process is the production of the tools. For low to medium volume applications, industrial 3D printing — or additive manufacturing — can eliminate the need for tool production and, therefore, the costs, lead times and labor associated with it.
Sustainable / Environmentally Friendly : 3D printing is also emerging as an energy-efficient technology that can provide environmental efficiencies in terms of both the manufacturing process itself, utilizing up to 90% of standard materials, and, therefore, creating less waste, but also throughout an additively manufactured product’s operating life, by way of lighter and stronger design that imposes a reduced carbon footprint compared with traditionally manufactured products.
J Group Robotics has worked in the above mentioned areas and derived favorable results. We are confident that the question, “What can I do with a 3D printer?” can be understand by us with accuracy and help you find the maximum value for your investment.