If we go ten or fifteen years back 3d technology was something new or rare, but today this technology is quite common and used by everyone in many aspects including 3d design, 3d scanning and 3d printing. There are several types of 3d printers today manufactured by different companies.
There are different types of 3d printers and different printing technologies are used in manufacturing different types of 3d printers. First let’s categorize the 3d printers into commercial and personal ones. The commercial 3d printers are expensive and used the manufacturing firms for designing and for the creation of prototypes. These expensive commercial types of 3d printers help the companies saving a lot of money in the prototyping process. Then there is another category of 3d printers for personal use which prices in the range of $300 to $2000. 3d printers differ from one another through the technology that is being used in manufacturing those printers. The first commercial 3d printer used the SLA method known as stereolithography and was invented in 1986. This 3d printer concentrates the beam of ultraviolet rays on to the surface which is filled with photopolymer (resin) as the light hits the resin it the ultraviolet rays show the 3d model of the object and you will have a high resolution three dimensional model of that object. The types of 3d printers can then be differentiated by this other technology known as FDM (fused Deposition Modeling) which was invented in the late 80’s in which small drops of some melted thermoplastic material joined together to make a shape and as the material hardens, the three dimensional object is formed. There is one more printing technique used in different printers SLS knows as (Selective Laser Sintering) which works similar to as the SLA technique but having one difference which is that SLA has a liquid filled in the vat, whereas SLS has a powdered form of material in the vat which could be ceramics, glass, nylon, steel, aluminum or silver. The three dimensional object takes its form when the laser hits the powder and the powder sinters. The powder which remains unsintered becomes the support structure for the object and can be used again for printing which is the advantage of SLS method over SLA method. There are many other different printing methods which differentiate the types of 3d printers. Which include SLM (Selective Laser Melting) which almost works same as SLS but it fully melts down the powder instead of just combining the powder granule together. Then there is this other printing technique which is called EBM (Electronic Beam Melting) in which instead of using ultra violet rays the printer uses electronic beam. One of the very different techniques used in 3d printers is the LOM (Laminated Object Manufacturing) in which metal, paper or plastic are glued together and then cut with a laser or knife to give it a shape.
3d technology is becoming more advanced day by day, and so are the different types of 3d printers. This technology can change the world as it has a lot of potential in it.