3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, allows us to create almost any kind of object from a Computer aided design(CAD) model, fast and without the need of molds etc.
We use a technique called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), it works by building (printing) models layer by layer, until the whole shape is done.
A 3D model is first made with CAD software and is then opened by a special software called “Slicer”. The slicer turns the model into coordinates, which will be used by the 3D printer in the building phase. On the printer, material(plastic) is fed to a heated nozzle where the plastic is melted. The melted plastic is then pushed out of a nozzle that moves to the coordinates given by the slicer, and sets on top of the previous layer. Once one layer is done, the nozzle moves up to the second layer and so forth, until the whole model is done.
These are materials that are the most common, and we can print with immediately
We can also get your parts made from a wide range of other materials, including different metals and plastics. This however takes a little bit longer.
One of the biggest markers for print quality in FDM 3D printing is the resolution in which it's printed.
The resolution is the height of the layers. If a piece is printed with high layers, it will be faster to print, but the layer lines will be more visible.
A 10cm high statue printed with 0.2mm layers could take 4 hours to print.
The same part printed with 0.1mm layers would take twice as long, 8 hours, but would look and feel much smoother.