Basics of 3D Printing

3D Printing is the process of “making” a three-dimensional object from a digital file on your computer using a special printer. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM). Chuck Hull invented the first 3D printing process called “stereolithography” in 1983.

The materials can be anything, from plastic to metal and more recently human cells. The 3D printed objects that we use in healthcare, fashion, auto industry, plastic reuse, etc.

Right now, 3D printing as an end-use manufacturing technology is still in its infancy. But in the coming decades, and in combination with synthetic biology and nanotechnology, it has the potential to radically transform many design, production and logistics processes.

By 2020, we will have 3D printed houses and internal organs.Already it is possible to 3D print in a wide range of materials that include thermoplastics, thermoplastic composites, pure metals, metal alloys, ceramics and various forms of food.

The printers were originally large, expensive, and highly limited in what they could produce. Large 3D printers have been developed for industrial, education, and demonstrative uses.

3D printing has entered the world of clothing with fashion designers experimenting with 3D-printed bikinis, shoes, and dresses. The use of 3D printing to produce scale models within architecture and construction has steadily increased in popularity as the cost of 3D printers has reduced. 3D printing has been used to print patient specific implant and device for medical use. 3D printing can also be used to make laptops and other computers and cases.

For Example, MIT creates 3D printed graphene that’s lighter than air, 10X stronger than steel. The research also disproved that 3D graphene could replace helium in balloons. The discovery using the strongest material there is has the potential to enable lightweight products for airplanes, cars, buildings and even filtration devices because of the printed objects’ porous designs. In its two-dimensional form, Graphene is thought to be the strongest of all known materials. But researchers until now have had a hard time translating that two-dimensional strength into useful three-dimensional materials.

3D printers are becoming more and more capable – for example, we can now print in 40 materials simultaneously, or print structures that will change in response to aspects of their environment, such as temperature. Kristina Shea, Professor for Engineering Design and Computing at ETH Zürich, argues that designers need computational aids to help them explore the potential to fabricate structures that would previously have been too costly or complicated to consider.

3D Printing Process :

There are 6 types of process are generally used such as Extrusion,Light polymerized,Powder Bed,Laminated,Powder fed,Wire.

Type 1: Extrusion:

Extrusion is the official name given to a specific 3D printing process where material is selectively dispensed through a nozzle or orifice. Extrusion is more commonly known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).

Extrusion is an “additive” technology commonly used for modeling, prototyping, and production applications.

A filament of thermoplastic, metal wire, or other material is fed into an extrusion nozzle head (3D printer extruder).

The nozzle head heats the material and turns the flow on and off. Typically stepper motors or servo motors are employed to move the extrusion head and adjust the flow.

In this type there are 3 technologies are used.

1. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) or Fused filament fabrication (FFF)

FDM derives from automatic polymeric foil hot air welding system, hot-melt gluing and automatic gasket deposition.

As a result, the price of this technology has dropped by two orders of magnitude since its creation, and it has become the most common form of 3D printing.

In fused deposition modeling, the model or part is produced by extruding small beads or streams of material which harden immediately to form layers.

FDM printers use a thermoplastic filament, which is heated to its melting point and then extruded, layer by layer, to create a three dimensional object.

Fused deposition modeling is also referred to as fused filament fabrication (FFF) by companies who do not hold the original patents like Stratasys does.

Fused filament fabrication is a 3D printing process that uses a continuous filament of a thermoplastic material.

This is fed from a large coil, through a moving, heated printer extruder head. Molten material is forced out of the print head’s nozzle and is deposited on the growing workpiece.

2. Robocasting or Direct Ink Writing (DIW)

Robocasting is an additive manufacturing technique in which a filament of a paste (known as an ‘ink’, as per the analogy with conventional printing) is extruded from a small nozzle while the nozzle is moved across a platform.

It use various materials such as Ceramic materials, Metal alloy, cermet, metal matrix composite, ceramic matrix composite.

The object is thus built by ‘writing’ the required shape layer by layer. The technique was first developed in the United States in 1996 as a method to allow geometrically complex ceramic green bodies to be produced by additive manufacturing.

In robocasting, a 3D CAD model is divided up into layers in a similar manner to other additive manufacturing techniques.

Robocasting has also been used to deposit polymer and sol-gel inks through much finer nozzle diameters (<2μm) than is possible with ceramic inks

3. Composite Filament Fabrication (CFF)

It is designed to print using continuous strands of fibers embedded in a thermoplastic matrix. This method will go through creating aggregate material to add to a polymer based filament, then mixing both the polymer and the aggregate together, and finally the process needed to produce differently sized filament, and then part production.

It use various materials such as, Nylon or Nylon with short carbon fiber + reinforcement in the form Carbon, Kevlar, Glass and Glass for high temperature fiber.

Type 2: Light polymerized:

Light polymerized 3d printing used three types of technologies such as SLA, DLP, CLIP. In this process, photopolymer material is used.

A photopolymer or light-activated resin is a polymer that changes its properties when exposed to light, often in the ultraviolet or visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.These changes are often manifested structurally, for example hardening of the material occurs as a result of cross-linking when exposed to light.

1. Stereolithography (SLA)

Stereolithography (SLA or SL; also known as stereolithography apparatus, optical fabrication, photo-solidification, or resin printing) is a form of 3-D printing technology used for creating models, prototypes, patterns, and production parts in a layer by layer fashion using photopolymerization, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers.

Research in the area had been conducted during the 1970s, but the term was coined by Chuck Hull in 1984 when he applied for a patent on the process, which was granted in 1986.

Stereolithography is used to create prototypes for products and in medical modeling, among other uses. While stereolithography is fast and can produce almost any design, it can be expensive.

2. Digital Light Processing (DLP)

DLP is a process in additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing and stereolithography, which takes a design created in a 3D modeling software and uses DLP technology to print a 3D object.

In this process, once the 3D model is sent to the printer, a vat of liquid polymer is exposed to light from a DLP projector under safelight conditions.

The DLP projector displays the image of the 3D model onto the liquid polymer. The exposed liquid polymer hardens and the build plate moves down and the liquid polymer is once more exposed to light.

The process is repeated until the 3D model is complete and the vat is drained of liquid, revealing the solidified model.

DLP 3D printing is faster and can print objects with a higher resolution.

3. Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP)

Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP; originally Continuous Liquid Interphase Printing) is a proprietary method of 3D printing that uses photo polymerization to create smooth-sided solid objects of a wide variety of shapes using resins.

It was invented by Joseph DeSimone, Alexander and Nikita Ermoshkin and Edward T. Samulski and was originally owned by EiPi Systems, but is now being developed by Carbon.

The continuous process begins with a pool of liquid photopolymer resin. Part of the pool bottom is transparent to ultraviolet light (the “window”).An ultraviolet light beam shines through the window, illuminating the precise cross-section of the object. The light causes the resin to solidify.

The object rises slowly enough to allow resin to flow under and maintain contact with the bottom of the object. Unlike stereolithography, the printing process is continuous. The inventors claim that it can create objects up to 100 times faster than commercial three dimensional (3D) printing methods

Type 3: Powder Bed:

In power bed type 3d printing, there are 6 technologies are used. Each technology used various materials like metal alloy, Titanium alloys, Cobalt Chrome alloys, Stainless Steel, etc.

1. Powder bed and inkjet head 3D printing

Powder bed and inkjet 3D printing, known variously as “binder jetting” and “drop-on-powder” – or simply “3D printing” (3DP) – is a rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing technology for making objects described by digital data such as a CAD file.

This technology was first developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993 and in 1995 Z Corporation obtained an exclusive license. The term “Three-Dimensional Printing” was trademarked by the same.

In the original implementations, starch and gypsum plaster fill the powder bed, the liquid “binder” being mostly water to activate the plaster.

Powder bed and inkjet 3D printers are expensive compared to regular 3D printers with prices ranging from $50,000 to $2 Million for enterprise grade, but recent $1,300 model introduced by Yvo de Haas and released as open source project make it more affordable.

2. Electron-beam melting (EBM)

Electron beam melting (EBM) is a similar type of additive manufacturing technology for metal parts (e.g. titanium alloys).

EBM manufactures parts by melting metal powder layer by layer with an electron beam in a high vacuum. Unlike metal sintering techniques that operate below melting point, EBM parts are void-free.

3. Selective laser melting (SLM)

SLM does not use sintering for the fusion of powder granules but will completely melt the powder using a high-energy laser to create fully dense materials in a layer-wise method that has mechanical properties similar to those of conventional manufactured metals.

It is a particular rapid prototyping, 3D printing, or Additive Manufacturing (AM) technique designed to use a high power-density laser to melt and fuse metallic powders together.

In many SLM is considered to be a subcategory of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). The SLM process has the ability to fully melt the metal material into a solid 3D-dimensional part unlike SLS.

Selective laser melting started in 1995 at the Fraunhofer Institute ILT in Aachen, Germany, with a German research project, resulting in the so-called basic ILT SLM patent DE 19649865.

SLM machines operate with a work space of 250 mm (9.842 in) in the x & Y and they can go up to 350 mm (13.779 in) Z. Some of the materials being use in this processed can include copper, aluminium, stainless steel, toll steel, cobalt chrome, titanium and tungsten. In order for the material to be use in the process it must exist in atomized form.

Parts produced using SLM and other powder-based metal techniques often end up with gaps or defects caused by a variety of factors. To overcome the drawbacks of SLM, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, along with collaborators at Worchester Polytechnic Institute, are taking a wholly new approach to metal 3D printing with a process they call direct metal writing, in which semisolid metal is directly extruded from a nozzle. The metal is engineered to be a shear thinning material, which means it acts like a solid when standing still, but flows like a liquid when a force is applied.

4. Selective heat sintering (SHS)

SHS is a type of additive manufacturing process. It works by using a thermal printhead to apply heat to layers of powdered thermoplastic.

When a layer is finished, the powder bed moves down, and an automated roller adds a new layer of material which is sintered to form the next cross-section of the model.SHS is best for manufacturing inexpensive prototypes for concept evaluation, fit/form and functional testing.

SHS is a Plastics additive manufacturing technique similar to selective laser sintering (SLS), the main difference being that SHS employs a less intense thermal printhead instead of a laser, thereby making it a cheaper solution, and able to be scaled down to desktop sizes

5. Selective laser sintering (SLS)

Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing (AM) technique that uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material (typically nylon/polyamide, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.

SLS was developed and patented by Dr. Carl Deckard and Dr. Joseph Beaman at the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s, under sponsorship of DARPA. A similar process was patented without being commercialized by R. F. Housholder in 1979.

It is similar to direct metal laser sintering (DMLS); the two are instantiations of the same concept but differ in technical details.

SLM uses a comparable concept, but in SLM the material is fully melted rather than sintered, allowing different properties (crystal structure, porosity, and so on).

6. Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)

DMLS is an additive manufacturing metal fabrication technology, occasionally referred to as selective laser sintering (SLS) or selective laser melting (SLM), that generates metal prototypes and tools directly from computer aided design (CAD) data.

DMLS uses a variety of alloys, allowing prototypes to be functional hardware made out of the same material as production components. Since the components are built layer by layer, it is possible to design organic geometries, internal features and challenging passages that could not be cast or otherwise machined. DMLS produces strong, durable metal parts that work well as both functional prototypes or end-use production parts.

DMLS is a very cost and time effective technology. The technology is used both for rapid prototyping, as it decreases development time for new products, and production manufacturing as a cost saving method to simplify assemblies and complex geometries.

Currently available alloys used in the process include 17-4 and 15-5 stainless steel, maraging steel, cobalt chromium, inconel 625 and 718, aluminum AlSi10Mg, and titanium Ti6Al4V.

Type 4: Laminated:

In some printers, paper can be used as the build material, resulting in a lower cost to print. During the 1990s some companies marketed printers that cut cross-sections out of special adhesive coated paper using a carbon dioxide laser and then laminated them together.

There are also a number of companies selling printers that print laminated objects using thin plastic and metal sheets. It use LOM technology.

Laminated object manufacturing (LOM)

LOM is a rapid prototyping system developed by Helisys Inc. (Cubic Technologies is now the successor organization of Helisys)

In it, layers of adhesive-coated paper, plastic, or metal laminates are successively glued together and cut to shape with a knife or laser cutter. Objects printed with this technique may be additionally modified by machining or drilling after printing.

Typical layer resolution for this process is defined by the material feedstock and usually ranges in thickness from one to a few sheets of copy paper

Type 5: Powder fed:

In powder-fed, a high-power laser is used to melt metal powder supplied to the focus of the laser beam. The laser beam typically travels through the center of the deposition head and is focused to a small spot by one or more lenses.

The powder fed directed energy process is similar to Selective Laser Sintering, but the metal powder is applied only where material is being added to the part at that moment.

Directed Energy Deposition(DED)

DED is a 3D printing technology specifically used to create 3D models from metals and alloys.

The technique can be applied for making 3D parts or objects from polymers, glass or ceramics but is not popular for that. This technique is quite commonly used for repair of existing 3D models built using metal or alloy. Many times the technique is used for adding extensions to existing metallic models.

The typical apparatus for Directed Energy Deposition 3D Printing consist of a head for material wire supply which can move along multiple axis and an electron beam projector or high power laser beam projector which melts the fed wire through directing the high power radiation.

The use of metal wire or powder as feeding supply, the technology is sometimes also referred by the term – direct metal deposition.

Type 6: Wire:

Laser-based wirefeed systems, such as Laser Metal Deposition-wire (LMD-w), feed wire through a nozzle that is melted by a laser using inert gas shielding in either an open environment (gas surrounding the laser), or in a sealed chamber.

Electron beam freeform fabrication uses an electron beam heat source inside a vacuum chamber.

Electron beam freeform fabrication 

Electron-beam freeform fabrication  is an additive manufacturing process that builds near-net-shape parts requiring less raw material and finish machining than traditional manufacturing methods. It uses a focused electron beam in a vacuum environment to create a molten pool on a metallic substrate.

The operational concept of  is to build a near-net-shape metal part directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) file.

It uses a similar process, starting with a CAD model, numerically slicing it into layers, then using a post-processor to write the G-code defining the deposition path and process parameters for the EBF equipment

3D Printing Applications

Food Industry:

Beyond 3D printed sugar, discover examples of prototypes and tools to build or calibrate your machinery in the food industry.Additive manufacturing of food is being developed by squeezing out food, layer by layer, into three-dimensional objects.

A large variety of foods are appropriate candidates, such as chocolate and candy, and flat foods such as crackers, pasta,and pizza.One of the problems with food printing is the nature of the texture of a food. For example, foods that are not strong enough to be filed are not appropriate for 3D printing.

Architecture and Construction:

Beautiful and durable models for conception and promotion of construction industry. The use of 3D printing to produce scale models within architecture and construction has steadily increased in popularity as the cost of 3D printers has reduced.

This has enabled faster turn around of such scale models and allowed a steady increase in the speed of production and the complexity of the objects being produced.

Inspired by natural cellular structures, researchers at the Harvard and MIT have developed a new method to 3D print materials with independently tunable macro-and microscale porosity using a ceramic foam ink. The plant’s hardiness comes from a combination of its hollow, tubular macrostructure and porous, or cellular, microstructure. These architectural features work together to give grass its robust mechanical properties.

Now, MIT researchers are expanding the list further, with the design of a system that can 3-D print the basic structure of an entire building Structures built with this system could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods allow. A building could also be completely customized to the needs of a particular site and the desires of its maker.

A new Bricks have been 3D printed out of simulated moondust using concentrated sunlight. This ESA project took place at the DLR German Aerospace Center facility, with a 3D printer table attached to a solar furnace, baking successive 0.1 mm layers of moondust at a temperature of 1000°C. A 20 x 10 x 3 cm brick for building can be completed in around five hours. The resulting 3D Printed bricks have the equivalent strength of gypsum, and are set to undergo detailed mechanical testing.


3D printing has been considered as a method of implanting stem cells capable of generating new tissues and organs in living humans. With their ability to transform into any other kind of cell in the human body, stem cells offer huge potential in 3D bio-printing

The first production system for 3D tissue printing was delivered in 2009, based on NovoGen bioprinting technology. In 2006, researchers at Cornell University published some of the pioneer work in 3D printing for tissue fabrication, successfully printing hydrogel bio-inks.

Scientists Prove Feasibility of “Printing” Replacement Tissue using ITOP 3D Bioprinting System. Using a sophisticated, custom-designed 3D printer, regenerative medicine scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have proved that it is feasible to print living tissue structures to replace injured or diseased tissue in patients.

Several terms have been used to refer to this field of research: organ printing, bio-printing, body part printing, and computer-aided tissue engineering, among others

A team of researchers from various universities in U.S has developed a first-of-its-kind, 3D-printed guide that helps regrow both the sensory and motor functions of complex nerves after injury.


The first pill manufactured by 3D printing was approved by the FDA in August 2015. Binder-jetting into a powder bed of the drug allows very porous pills to be produced, which enables high drug doses in a single pill which dissolves quickly and can be ingested easily.

This has been demonstrated for Spritam, a reformulation of levetiracetam for the treatment of epilepsy.


3D printing has entered the world of clothing with fashion designers experimenting with 3D-printed bikinis, shoes, and dresses.

3D printing has come to the point where companies are printing consumer grade eyewear with on-demand custom fit and styling

Industrial Art and Jewelry:

3D printing is used to manufacture mouldes for making jewelry, and even the jewelry itself. 3D printing is becoming popular in the customisable gifts industry, with products such as personalized models of art and dolls, in many shapes: in metal or plastic, or as consumable art, such as 3D printed chocolate.

In 2015, engineers and designers at MIT’s Mediated Matter Group and Glass Lab created an additive 3D printer that prints with glass, called G3DP. The results can be structural as well as artistic. Transparent glass vessels printed on it are part of some museum collections


Taking a computer model and making it into a 3D-printed model is actually an easy process.

3D printing can also be used to make laptops and other computers and cases.

Robots and Drones::

Open-source robots are built using 3D printers. Custom parts like 3d printed robot arm and short series for robotics. Creating robots has never been as simple as it is with 3D printing.

Engineers at the University of Illinois are working on developing a Bio-Robot which can be produced easily by using 3D printing technology.They developed similar bio-bots few years back itself. But that time they used heart cell.The frequency of the electric field determines the speed of this bio-bot.

Harvard engineers have done that, developing one of the first soft robots through 3-D printing that moves autonomously.This new design demonstrates the potential of 3-D printing in soft robotics. Traditional methods of fabrication — custom molds and multistep assembly — are costly and slow.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) present a system called “Interactive Robogami” that lets you design a robot in minutes, and then 3D-print and assemble it in as little as four hours. The team’s origami-inspired “3-D print and fold” technique involves printing the design as flat faces connected at joints, and then folding the design into the final shape, combining the most effective parts of 2D and 3D printing.

MIT researchers have found a way for easily creating Robots by assembling them from parts produced by 3D printers. To create a robot or any other 3D object, First we need to create the 2D designs for the self-folding sheets based on the 3D model of the required object. The new alogrithm will help to do this step easily. Then those self-folding sheets can be created using 3D printers. After that they will be heated to form the required 3D object.

Electronics :

3D printers are being developed that allow to 3D print electronic circuits directly.

3D printing helps to create Prototypes and functional parts for Consumer electronics and BtoB electronic devices. Discover 3D Printing benefits for IoT and automation.

MIT researchers have designed 3-D printed structures that can fold themselves up without any outside stimulus, and the folding begins the instant it is peeled off the printing platform. It will be very useful for printed electronics which shouldn’t be heated or immersed in water.

Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University have developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone. This device is named as HoloFlex.  A first application is the use of bend gestures for Z-Input to facilitate the editing of 3D models, for example, when 3D printing. These pixel blocks project through a 3D printed flexible microlens array consisting of over 16,000 fisheye lenses.

OLO can transform any Smartphone into a 3D Printer. A new kind of 3D printer “OLO ” which is the first smartphone-powered 3D printer. OLO uses the light from your smartphone’s screen to print 3D objects. OLO works with smartphones of almost any size or brand. Even large 5.5 inch displays such as iPhone 6S+ or Galaxy A7.

Soft Sensors and Actuators:

3D printing has found its place in soft sensors and actuators manufacturing inspired by 4D printing concept.

The majority of the conventional soft sensors and actuators are fabricated using multistep low yield processes entailing manual fabrication, post-processing/assembly, and lengthy iterations with less flexibility in customization and reproducibility of final products.

Harvard University researchers have made the first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing. This new approach to manufacturing may one day allow researchers to rapidly design organs-on-chips, also known as microphysiological systems, that match the properties of a specific disease or even an individual patient’s cells.

The researchers developed six different inks that integrated soft strain sensors within the micro-architecture of the tissue. In a single, continuous procedure, the team 3D printed those materials into a cardiac microphysiological device — a heart on a chip — with integrated sensors.

Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a revolutionary process for 3D printing stretchable electronic sensory devices that could give robots the ability to feel their environment. The discovery is also a major step forward in printing electronics on real human skin. This 3D-printed ‘bionic skin’ could give robots the sense of touch.

Aeronautics and Space:

Reducing weight is a major concern that 3D printing can really help with.It helps to create Prototypes and functional production parts for planes, drones and satellites.

The Zero-G Printer, the first 3D printer designed to operate in zero gravity, was built under a joint partnership between NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Made In Space, Inc


Employing additive layer technology offered by 3D printing, Terahertz devices which act as waveguides, couplers and bends have been created.

The complex shape of these devices could not be achieved using conventional fabrication techniques


3D printing, and open source 3D printers in particular, are the latest technology making inroads into the classroom. The classroom environment allows students to learn and employ new applications for 3D printing.

Bridge theory and reality by making objects with 3D Printing. Train students to design real products.

MIT spinout New Valence Robotics (NVBOTS) has brought to market the only fully automated commercial 3-D printer that’s equipped with cloud-based queuing and automatic part removal, making print jobs quicker and easier for multiple users, and dropping the cost per part. To use the printer, called NVPro, a user submits a project from any device, which queues up in the NVCloud software. At schools and businesses, a trained expert usually handles all prints use this one.


Future applications for 3D printing might include creating open-source scientific equipment.

A team of scientists based at Brigham and Women’s hospital has made significant progress towards the manufacture of blood vessels for tissue engineering using 3D bioprinting.

A team of researchers and students at the University of California, Riverside has created a Lego-like system of blocks that enables users to custom make chemical and biological research instruments quickly, easily and affordably. The system of 3D-printed blocks can be used in university labs, schools, hospitals, and anywhere there is a need to create scientific tools.

Maritime Industry:

There is a lot of research being conducted in 3D printing for the maritime sector. Ships are very large and 3D printers often do not at this moment have the size to be able to produce many of the parts for ships.

3D printing has been used in shipbuilding on a relatively small scale. 3D printing improved spare part management for shipbuilding.

Agile tooling:

Agile tooling is a term used to describe the process of using modular means to design tooling that is produced by additive manufacturing or 3D printing methods to enable quick prototyping and responses to tooling and fixture needs.

Agile tooling uses a cost effective and high quality method to quickly respond to customer and market needs. It can be used in hydro-forming, stamping, injection molding and other manufacturing processes.

Environmental use:

In Bahrain, large-scale 3D printing using a sandstone-like material has been used to create unique coral-shaped structures, which encourage coral polyps to colonize and regenerate damaged reefs.

These structures have a much more natural shape than other structures used to create artificial reefs, and, unlike concrete, are neither acid nor alkaline with neutral pH.

Recycle is the main factor in environment. UC Berkeley students have established an initiative to collect and recycle the plastic left behind from 3D printers on campus.


3D printing is changing arts and entertainment. Bring fantasy worlds to life.3D printing helps in Custom props, spare parts and customized goodies, etc are discover all the applications of 3D Printing in Film.

MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices as much as 1,000 times. The polarization of light is the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems.
The technique(Polarized 3D) could lead to high-quality 3-D cameras built into cellphones, and perhaps to the ability to snap a photo of an object and then use a 3-D printer to produce a replica.

Researchers at Zhejiang University and Columbia University have found a way to precisely affix complex coloring to objects, making them look somewhat photo-real. They presented a new computational hydrographic printing method that inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures to possibly complex 3D surfaces

A University of British Columbia computer scientist has created a new software that can create a design sketch of an everyday object, addressing the challenge of accurately describing shapes. This Software program named as FlowRep can turn diverse shapes like airplanes, cars, coffee makers and mugs into sketches, using the insights from a field of psychology known as Gestalt psychology that explains how humans interpret visual content and understand depth from two-dimensional drawings.

Cultural Heritage:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum have started using their 3D printers to create museum souvenirs that are available in the museum shops

Other museums, like the National Museum of Military History and Varna Historical Museum, have gone further and sell through the online platform Threeding digital models of their artifacts, created using Artec 3D scanners, in 3D printing friendly file format, which everyone can 3D print at home

In the last several years 3D printing has been intensively used by in the cultural heritage field for preservation, restoration and dissemination purposes

Healthcare and Medical:

3dprinting is helpful to create Surgical guides, custom prosthetics and education models for medical professionals. Based on real patient imaging, 3D printed models mimic a variety of tissue properties in a single print.

3D printed multi-material models can replicate the complexity and wide range of patient pathology, making them superior tools for medical education.

The researchers have created artificial blood vessels in a lab using 3D-printing methods. The bioprinted structures could be used for transplants or for testing new drug. This new study is published online in the journal “Lab on a Chip“. Scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT have been working together to overcome this challenge.

In the future, 3D printing technology may be used to develop transplantable tissues customized to each patient’s needs, or be used outside the body to develop drugs that are safe and effective.

The researchers are working on improving the resolution of their bioprinting method and the materials they use, as well as testing the 3D-printed structures with living cells, and ultimately in living animals.

Chemical Industry:

3D priniting constitutes a cheap, automated, and reconfigurable chemical discovery platform that makes techniques from chemical engineering accessible to typical synthetic laboratories.

In chemical industry, Enlargement of molecular structures and mechanical parts for laboratory tooling is done by using 3d printing.


3D printing is changing several industries that develop mechanical systems for a wide range of applications, from hi-tech bikes to spacecrafts.

Plastics and metals printed in 3D retain very good mechanical properties.

The vehicle 3D-printed minibus, named ‘Olli’ was unveiled during the Grand Opening of a new Local Motors facility in National Harbor, MD. The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.

A New 3-D-printed device mimics the goldbug beetle, which changes color when prodded. In this age of smartphones and tablet computers, touch-sensitive surfaces are everywhere. In an attempt to demonstrate the feasibility of flexible, printable electronics that combine sensors and processing circuitry and can act on their environments, the researchers have designed and built a device that responds to mechanical stresses by changing the color of a spot on its surface.

Military and Defense:

3D printing gives government, military and defense manufacturers the freedom to design a single end-use part, quickly create low-volume tooling, or build complex, precise prototypes.

The machinery for the military is often customized and replacements must be made quickly. A 3D gun has already been printed, so it’s only a matter of time before the technology catches on in this industry.

Digital Dentistry:

Advanced technology for happier customers and patients. Enhance the patient experience and your business with digital dentistry. No more wasted time, materials, or storage space.

Cut days off delivery times and produce more accurate, comfortable, and effective dental appliances.

Optics :

3D printing create Prototypes and functional production parts for optics.

Northwestern University Research Group Uses 3D Printing to Create Terahertz Lens.The material used to 3D print the terahertz lens, which is a novel metamaterial equipped with properties not generally found in nature, is able to accurately form into the preemptive lens design using the projected light.

Glass can be used as Ink in 3D printers instead of plastics.Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) unveiled a first of its kind optically transparent glass printing process called G3DP. G3DP is an additive manufacturing platform designed to print optically transparent glass.

Textile and Fashion:

3D printing in the textile industry lets you unleash your imagination in order to quickly create new structures through innovative new materials.

Marrying different types of fabrics and 3D printing allows you to explore new facets in fashion and therefore to propose a new vision in the textile sector.

In fashion, mixing the latest trends with the latest 3D printing technology will allow you to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Retail :

In this industry, additive manufacturing can change every single step of the supply chain and offers fully customised retail products.

The use of 3D printing in retail is motivated by the creation of custom products, the possibility to print spare parts to fix existing products.

Main components in a 3D printer:

3D Printer Frame – Holds the machine together
3D Printer Head movement mechanics – moves relative to the print bed in all directions
3D Printer Head – Nozzle that deposits filament or applies colors and liquid binder
3D Build Platform or Build Bed – The part of the printer where the object is printed
3D Printer Stepper Motors – Used for precise positioning and speed control
3D Printer Electronics – Used to drive motors, heat the extruder and much more
3D Printer Firmware – Permanent software used to control every aspect of a 3D printer
3D Printer Software – Not part of the actual printer but still needed for the printing process

3D Printing Materials:

There are so many materials you can choose from when it comes to 3D printing that it’s often tough to decide on the right one.

Nylon (Polyamide):
  • The name nylon can be used for any one of a number of synthetic polymers originally created as replacements for silks.
  • Also called White, strong & flexible / Durable plastic / White plastic
  • Nylon is a tough material that has a very high tensile strength, meaning that it can hold a lot of weight without breaking. It melts at about 250 degrees C and is nontoxic.
  • Alumide = Polyamide + Aluminum
  • It is cheap, because nylon is widely used in other industries, and it’s not damaged by most common chemicals.
ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene):
  • ABS is a commonly used plastic material that melts at about 220 degrees C, then quickly re-forms into a tough, glossy, impact-resistant material.
  • Made from spaghetti like filament
  • It is made from crude oil and is nontoxic; it can be easily dyed and retains color well.
PLA(Polylactic acid):
  • PLA is a relatively new polymer plastic, made from biological materials like cornstarch or sugarcane.
  • It is similar to the material used in biodegradable plastic packaging, which melts at between 180 and 200 degrees C, depending on other materials that are added for color and texture.
    There is a slight smell when it is heated, rather like microwave popcorn.
  • PLA is generally the preferred option for low-cost 3D printers, because it is easier to print with than ABS, as it sticks to other surfaces and itself better.
  • Also called White-, Black-, Transparent detail / White detail resin / High detail-, Transparent-, Paintable Resin
PVA(Polyvinyl alcohol):
  • PVA is one of a new class of 3D printing materials that are used to make supports.
  • A synthetic polymer, PVA is used in biodegradable products, such as fishing lures and medical devices that need to work, but then dissolve away.
  • Another interesting property: it’s water-soluble. Once the printing is complete, if the material is immersed in water, the PVA parts will dissolve, leaving the rest of the print behind.
  • Very strong material
  • Made with multiple steps or from powder directly
HDPE (High-density polyethylene):
  • It is also known as high-impact polystyrene, or HIPS. It is used in pipes and recyclable packaging such as plastic bottles and packages
  • It is a light, flexible material that sticks to itself and other materials well. HDPE is also easy to dye and mold.
  • After the printing is complete, the supports can be dissolved by immersing the print in limonene, which won’t affect materials such as ABS or PLA.
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PETT) is the chemical name of a material sold as t-glase. It is a polymer that is similar to polyester, used to make clothes.
  • It can be dyed while still retaining its glass-like qualities, so it is available in multiple colors.
  • While t-glase itself is strong and resilient, it has to be printed rather slowly to make sure that layers adhere properly. So printing with t-glase is typically much slower than with other materials.
  • Strong materials
  • Made from wax and then casted
  • Strongest material
  • Direct metal laser sintering

Carbon Fiber Mix

Basics Questions about 3D Printing:

What is the history of 3D Printing?
  • Chuck Hull invented the first 3D printing process called ‘stereolithography’ in 1983.
  • In a patent, he defined stereolithography as a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively printing thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other.
  • The earliest 3D printing technologies first became visible in the late 1980’s, at which time they were called Rapid Prototyping (RP) technologies.
  • The very first patent application for RP technology was filed by a Dr Kodama, in Japan, in May 1980. Unfortunately for Dr Kodama, the full patent specification was subsequently not filed before the one year deadline after the application, which is particularly disastrous considering that he was a patent lawyer
  • 3D Systems’ first commercial RP system, the SLA-1, was introduced in 1987 and following rigorous testing the first of these system was sold in 1988.
What is 3D Printing?
  • It refers to processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object in which successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.
  • It is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.
  • The technology is significant because it offers direct manufacturing, meaning a design goes directly from you to physical product through a computer and a printer.
  • The term 3D printing covers a host of processes and technologies that offer a full spectrum of capabilities for the production of parts and products in different materials.
What is the other name of 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM)

What are the Advantages of 3D Printing?

3D printing brings a revolutionary approach to manufacturing through three key advantages:

  1. Shorter lead time,
  2. Design freedom,
  3. Lower costs.
How does 3D printing work?
  • It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is for instance a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file.
  • This CAD file is created using a 3D modeling application or with a 3D scanner (to copy an existing object). A 3D scanner can make a 3D digital copy of an object.
  • Every 3D print starts as a digital 3D design file – like a blueprint – for a physical object. Trying to print without a design file is like trying to print a document on a sheet of paper without a text file.
  • This design file is sliced into thin layers which is then sent to the 3D printer.
What is 3D modelling software?
  • 3D modeling software also comes in many forms. There’s industrial grade software that costs thousands a year per license, but also free open source software, like Blender, for instance.
  • There are three main categories: CAD Tools, Freeform Modeling Tools and Sculpting Tools.
    3D modeling softwares are programs designed to build 3D models of objects.
  • The models are then used in various fields, such as architecture or civil engineering, videogames, animation, simulation, but they can even be printed .
What is Stereolithography in 3D Printing?
  • Stereolithography (SL) is widely recognized as the first 3D printing process; it was certainly the first to be commercialised.
  • SL is a laser-based process that works with photopolymer resins, that react with the laser and cure to form a solid in a very precise way to produce very accurate parts.
  • It is a complex process, but simply put, the photopolymer resin is held in a vat with a movable platform inside.
What is digital light processing in 3D Printing?
  • DLP or digital light processing is a similar process to stereolithography in that it is a 3D printing process that works with photopolymers. The major difference is the light source.
  • DLP uses a more conventional light source, such as an arc lamp, with a liquid crystal display panel or a deformable mirror device (DMD), which is applied to the entire surface of the vat of photopolymer resin in a single pass, generally making it faster than SL.
What are the applications of 3DPrinting?
  • Applications include rapid prototyping, architectural scale models & maquettes, healthcare (3D printing with human tissue) and entertainment.
  • Other examples of 3D printing would include reconstructing fossils in paleontology, replicating ancient artifacts in archaeology, reconstructing bones and body parts in forensic pathology and reconstructing heavily damaged evidence acquired from crime scene investigations.
Who is using 3D printing?
  • It can be beneficial for anyone, regardless of industry or profession.
  • Here below collected some common examples to show how people use 3D printing and why they chose the technology as their preferred prototyping of manufacturing method for specific use cases.
  • In short, practically everywhere. Aerospace, medicine, education – the list goes on.
What are the materials used to print 3D objects?

Many different materials can be used for 3D printing, such as ABS plastic, PLA, polyamide (nylon), glass filled polyamide, stereolithography materials (epoxy resins), silver, titanium, steel, wax, photopolymers and polycarbonate.

Whats the difference between a basic rapid prototyping machine and a 3D printer?
  • 3D printers are the simple version of rapid prototyping machines. It is lower lost and less capable.
  • Rapid prototyping is a conventional method that has been used by automotive and aircraft industries for years.
  • 3D printers are compact and smaller than Rapid Protyping machines.
  • Rapid prototyping machines have build chambers at least 10 inches on a side, a 3D printer has less than 8 inches on a side.
  • 3D printers are less accurate than rapid prototyping machines. Because of its simplicity the material choices are also limited.
  • In other words, 3D printing/additive manufacturing is the process, and rapid prototyping is the end result.
  • Rapid prototyping is one of many applications under the 3D printing/additive manufacturing umbrella.
What are 3d Printing technologies are available?
  • There are several different 3D printing technologies are available such as SLS (selective laser sintering), FDM (fused deposition modeling) & SLA (stereolithograhpy) are the most widely used technologies for 3D printing.
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) use melted or softened materials to produce layers.
  • All 3D printing technologies are similar, as they construct an object layer by layer to create complex shapes.
What is meant by Selective Laser Sintering(SLS)?
  • Laser Sintering, also known as selective Laser Sintering (SLS), is among the most versatile and frequently used 3D printing technologies: you can find laser-sintered parts in airplanes, wearables, machine components and production tools.
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing (AM) technique that uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material (typically metal), aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.
  • The SLS process was developed and patented in the 1980s by Carl Deckard — then an undergraduate student at the University of Texas — and his mechanical engineering professor, Joe Beaman.
  • Using SLS, companies can create prototypes that are stored digitally as .STL files, which they can redesign or reprint as needed.
How SLS 3D Printing work?
  • A computer-controlled laser beam selectively binds together particles in the powder bed, by raising the powder temperature above the glass transition point after which adjacent particles flow together.
  • An object printed with an SLS machine starts as a computer-aided design (CAD) file. CAD files are converted to .STL format, which can be understood by a 3D printing apparatus.
  • Objects printed with SLS are made with powder materials, most commonly plastics, such as nylon, which are dispersed in a thin layer on top of the build platform inside an SLS machine.
Can an SLS Machine be Used at Home?

At the moment, no. It is ill-advised to use SLS machine in homes because the high-powered lasers SLS machines use are potentially insidious especially when used in the typical home environment.

What gets made in SLS 3D Printing?
  • SLS machines can print objects in a variety of materials, such as plastics, glass, ceramics and even metal (which is a related process known as direct metal laser sintering).
  • One example of this is the aerospace industry, in which SLS is used to build prototypes for airplane parts.
  • SLS can produce parts from a relatively wide range of commercially available powder materials.
  • These include polymers such as nylon (neat, glass-filled, or with other fillers) or polystyrene, metals including steel, titanium, alloy mixtures, and composites and green sand.
Which companies are using SLS 3D Printing?
  • 3D Systems Inc. is the company most often associated with SLS printing in the United States.
    The company prints build-to-order parts for customers, but it also sells its SLS machines for use in business and manufacturing.
  • There are also many companies around the United States that use SLS machines to provide their clients with high-quality prototypes and finished parts.
What are the advantages of SLS 3D Printing?
  • It is fully self-supporting
  • It allows for parts to be built within other parts in a process called nesting – with highly complex geometry that simply could not be constructed any other way Parts possess high strength and stiffness Good chemical resistance
  • Due to the excellent mechanical properties the material is often used to substitute typical injection molding plastics.
  • One of the major benefits of SLS is that it doesn’t require the support structures that many other AM technologies use to prevent the design from collapsing during production.
  • This technology is suitable for interlocking parts, moving parts, living hinges and other highly complex designs.
What are the disadvantages of SLS 3D Printing?
  • SLS printed parts have surface porosity. Such porosity can be sealed by applying sealant such as cyanacrylate
  • The biggest problem of the technology is that the fabricated parts can be porous and/or have a rough surface depending on the used materials.
  • Another disadvantage is that the detail is not as crisp and sharp when compared with other processes, such as SLA.
  • The SLS printers tend to be large, cumbersome expensive and not as readily adaptable to home use.

Latest 3D Printing Videos

3D-printed material can carry 160,000 times its own weight. And, Diffraction limit disproved.

Now engineers at MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have devised a way to translate that airy, yet remarkably strong, structure down to the microscale – designing a system that could be fabricated from a variety of materials, such as metals or polymers, and that may set new records for stiffness for a given weight.
The new design is based on the use of microlattices with nanoscale features, combining great stiffness and strength with ultralow density.

3D Printing Technology to build 2,500 Square Foot House In 20 Hours.

3D printing Technology is growing very fast upto the level of printing a building itself. A professor is working on technology named as Contour Crafting which can print an entire 2,500 sqft house in 20 hours.

Now 3D-bioprinter can print 3D Objects using Cellulose from Wood

A group of researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have managed to print and dry three-dimensional objects made entirely by cellulose for the first time with the help of a 3D-bioprinter. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material. The effect is that cellulose and other raw material based on wood will be able to compete with fossil-based plastics and metals in the on-going additive manufacturing revolution, which started with the introduction of the 3D-printer.

3-D-printed robots with shock-absorbing skins

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) will present a new method for 3-D printing soft materials that make robots safer and more precise in their movements — and that could be used to improve the durability of drones, phones, shoes, helmets, and more.

The team’s “programmable viscoelastic material” (PVM) technique allows users to program every single part of a 3D-printed object to the exact levels of stiffness and elasticity they want, depending on the task they need for it.

Five ways Bioengineers want to use 3-D Printing

Now that 3D printing has made it easier to generate custom-made prosthetics, bioengineers are looking ahead at manufacturing actual cellular material. Such technology could be the basis for personalized biomedical devices; tissue-engineered skin, cartilage, and bone; or even working bladders.

First-ever 3-D printed robots made of both Solids and Liquids

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) present the first-ever technique for 3-D printing robots that involves printing solid and liquid materials at the same time.

MIT’s 3D Printing Design Tool “Foundry” is Photoshop for 3-D materials

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) will present “Foundry,” a system for custom-designing a variety of 3-D printed objects with multiple materials.

MIT’s “MultiFab” 3D printer can print 10 materials at once

Researchers at MIT say that they’ve found a way to make a better, cheaper, more user-friendly printer. They presented a 3-D printer that can print an unprecedented 10 different materials at once by using 3-D-scanning techniques that save time, energy, and money.

‘On-the-fly’ 3-D print system prints what you design, as you design it

Cornell researchers have come up with an interactive prototyping system that prints what you are designing as you design it; the designer can pause anywhere in the process to test, measure and, if necessary, make changes that will be added to the physical model still in the printer.
Their system uses an improved version of an innovative “WirePrint” printer.

Researchers combine simulation, experiment for nanoscale 3-D printing

The new system integrates design and construction into one streamlined process that creates complex 3-D nanostructures.

The ability to accurately design custom nanostructures opens up a host of novel applications in 3-D plasmonics, free-standing nano-sensors and nano-mechanical elements on the lower nanoscale which are almost impossible to fabricate by other techniques.

Printing metal in midair. 3D Printing and Laser Annealing of conductive metallic inks

This laser-assisted direct ink writing method allows microscopic metallic, free-standing 3D structures to be printed in one step without auxiliary support material.

The Research team used an ink composed of silver nanoparticles, sending it through a printing nozzle and then annealing it using a precisely programmed laser that applies just the right amount of energy to drive the ink’s solidification.

MIT’s inFORM Technology allows 3D Image Interaction

MIT Researchers have found a way to allow people in one place to interact with three-dimensional versions of people or objects in a different location. MIT’s Tangible Media Group calls this technology as “inFORM” A person in one location moves or puts an object in front of a depth-sensing camera.

That camera sends signals to a motorized pin screen somewhere else and that’s where the 3D image pops up. If someone on camera is moving his hands, for example, that movement would show up on the pin screen in another location.

Defeating Cyberattacks on 3D Printers

Rutgers University and Georgia Tech engineers have devised three ways to combat cyberattacks on 3-D printers: monitoring printer motion and sounds and using tiny gold nanoparticles.

3D Printers will be attractive targets because 3D-printed objects and parts are used in critical infrastructures around the world, and cyberattacks may cause failures in health care, transportation, robotics, aviation and space.

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