3D Printing seems like a magical technology, but it really is a simple process. The folks over at 3DPrinter.biz have helped illustrate the process using a ZCorp 650 color 3D Printer. It is one of the best pure descriptions of a 3D printing job I’ve ever seen, getting into details about layer thickness, material consumption, and other technical data that is usually glossed over in favor of “gee whiz” statements. Hopefully they will share more of this kind of data in the future. Onto the printing…
First you create the object in a CAD program. In this case a fun little robot.
The printer then draws a cross section of the part on a base material. This process is best thought of as “Selective Chemical Sintering”. A bed of powder is laid down in the printer and an inkjet deposits a mixture of glue and ink on the powder. Interestingly, the printheads used in this machine are almost exactly the same ones used in home use color printers!
This mixture binds the powder and after hundreds of repetitions, you get a solid part. with ZCorp 3D printers the parts are built with a plaster powder and when the print job is complete, the powder must be removed.
Once the powder is removed, you can see the part. You’ll notice though that it seems kind of “dull” in appearance.
In order to unlock the print’s true majesty it needs to be “infiltrated” with a glue like chemical which gives the product strength as well as a bright colorful appearance. Thanks to the 3DPrinters.biz team for sharing such cool pics and please do it again soon!