3d Printing Essay

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3D Printing and the Additive Manufacturing Process

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a process where an object is created by adding layer-upon-layer of material. This basic process requires the use of a computer, CAD software, the material(s) and the appropriate machine to fabricate the end result. AM has been used in many applications. At first, it was used in Rapid Prototyping (RP). Today, AM is used to create end-products used in many different applications, from aerospace, automotive and even biomedical prosthetics. AM can create highly customizable products, and it’s this advantage that is being exploited in today’s world of manufacturing. 3D printing and AM are almost interchangeable. AM is the broader term, encompassing processes such as Rapid Prototyping (RP) which focused on creating preproduction visualization models, but the models weren’t actually used in the end product. Rapid Tooling (RT) the production of tooling to be used in another process like cores, patterns, or jigs. Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) the production of
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Size is of concern. Size of the product is limited by the size of the printer itself. Larger printers are also much more costly. Surface finish and dimensional accuracy may be lower than other manufacturing processes. Poor mechanical properties caused by layering and multiple interfaces can cause defects in the end product. Stair-stepping, which is the formation of stair-step edges on corners or curves is an example of these defects. Post-processing is necessary to clean up the inherent defects. Post-processing includes machining, drilling, trimming, grinding, sanding, heating or welding. The process itself is discontinuous. No more than one product can be built at a time, so large scale production is just not feasible. Despite this disadvantages, the future is trending favorably for 3D

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