3D printing, industrial revolution

About 250 years ago began what we know as the Industrial Revolution. Thanks to the implementation of new manufacturing methods and the invention of machinery boosted by the combustion of coal, humanity went from manual labor to a new era of greater abundance of products, generated by the energetic excess. Then came a second industrial revolution, with inventions such as the internal combustion engine, which greatly aided the development and refinement of the automobile and the airplane. This in turn allowed to initiate its mass production to reach to greater sectors of the population.

Impresión 3D, revolución industrial

These two major events and the implementation of electricity allowed computers, the Internet and technology in general to advance to unthinkable possibilities such as the creation of new materials, physical objects of different forms and even functional human organs, All created in small machines.

Among these technological innovations is what we know today as 3D printing, which consists of physically giving shape to a virtual object by taking small pieces of material and adding them layer by layer to a surface. This is why it is called additive manufacturing, because unlike traditional processes of subtraction (as with sculpture or cutting) technology adds material to create an object, rather than subtract it.

This technology is still under development, but both artists and scientists have used it to unleash their imagination by implementing projects that just a few years ago looked like extracts from a science fiction novel.

Injection printing
A 3D printing method consists of the injection printing system. The printer creates the layer-in-layer model by scattering a layer of the part section. The process is repeated until all the layers have been printed. This technology is the only one that allows the printing of prototypes in full color, allowing also, extraplanos or salientes.

Flux deposition modeling
Flux deposition modeling, a technology developed by Stratasys that is used in traditional fast prototyping, uses a nozzle to deposit molten polymer on a support structure, layer by layer. Another approach is to selectively fuse the print medium onto a granular base. In this variation the unmelted medium serves as a support for the projections and thin walls of the piece to be produced, thus reducing the need for temporary auxiliary supports. Typically a laser is used to sinter the medium and form the solid. Examples of this are selective laser sintering and direct laser metal sintering (DMLS) using metals. A final variation is to use a synthetic resin that solidifies using the LED light.

SLA technology uses liquid photopolymer resins that solidify when exposed to light emitted by an ultraviolet laser. In this way layers are created superimposed of solid resin that are creating the object.

UV light curing
In UV light photopolymerization, SGC, a liquid polymer vessel is exposed to the light of a DLP projector under controlled conditions. The exposed liquid polymer hardens; The mounting plate moves downward in small increments and the polymer is exposed back to light. The process is repeated until the model is built. The remaining liquid polymer is then withdrawn from the vessel, leaving only the solid model. The ZBuilder Ultra is an example of rapid prototyping DLP system.

Photopolymerization by photon absorption
Ultra small features can be achieved through the technique of 3D microfabrication, through the mechanism of photopolymerization by absorption of photons. In this variation, the desired 3D object is plotted on a gel block with a laser. The gel is cured and solidifies only in the places where the laser is focused due to the optical nolineality of the photoexcitation; After the laser stage, the remaining gel is washed. This technique offers sizes of less than 100 nm being easily fabricated both in complex structures of moving and fixed parts.

Ice print
Recently, techniques have been developed that, through a controlled cooling of treated water, are capable of producing an authentic 3D impression with ice as material. Although it is a developing technology and its long-term advantages remain to be seen, the savings of Specific material to carry out the printing, regardless of the cost of the process, seems one of them.

The leaders of 3D printing
Voxeljet (3D printer for rapid prototyping).
Stratasys (Material jetting multi-material 3D printer).
3D Systems (Color 3D printer multi-jet).
EOS GmbH (Electro Optical System, commercial use of laser technology generating 3D layer-by-layer layers directly from CAD data)
Solidscape (3D printer).
LC Printing Machine Factory Limited (3D printer).
Mcor technologies (Paper 3D printer).
ExOne (3D printer for prototyping metal tools and parts).
Optomec (3D printer for prototyping metal tools and parts).
Envisiontec (3D printer for ABS prototype).

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