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What Is 3D Printing?

What Is 3D Printing? 3D printing technology is based on digital model files, using powdered metal or plastic and other bondable materials to construct objects by printing layer by layer. 3D printers appeared in the mid-1990s as a rapid prototyping device using technologies such as light curing and paper lamination. It is basically the same as an ordinary printer. The printer contains liquid or powder and other “printing materials”. After connecting to the computer, the “printing materials” are superimposed layer by layer through computer control, and finally the blueprint on the computer is turned into a real object. Now this technology is applied in many fields, people use it to make clothing, building models, cars, chocolate desserts, etc.

On January 14, 2019, the University of California, San Diego used rapid 3D printing technology to create a spinal cord stent that mimics the structure of the central nervous system for the first time, successfully helping rats restore their motor function.

On May 5, 2020, China’s first successful Long March 5B carrier rocket was equipped with a “3D printer.” This is China’s first space 3D printing experiment and the first international 3D printing experiment of continuous fiber reinforced composite materials in space.

In recent years, the term 3D printing has gradually moved from unfamiliar to familiar, into people’s lives and work. However, there are still many people who do not know enough about 3D printing. wrote this article to give our customers a brief explanation of 3D printing technology.

3D Printing Define

3D printing is changing our world, speeding up our creative thinking, and breaking the process of product design. 3D printing seems to be powerful, so how do we define 3D printing?

In layman’s terms, a 3D printer is a way to print real 3D objects, such as printing robots, toy cars, printing various models, and even food. It is called a 3D printer because it refers to the technical principles of ordinary printers. The process of layered processing is very similar to inkjet printing, except that the printing materials are somewhat different.

Table of Contents

Background: Traditional manufacturing process

How are the objects used in our lives made? There are many methods and processes for manufacturing items. The traditional manufacturing methods can be summarized into the following two:

1. Equal material manufacturing process.

For example, casting is a metal thermal processing process, which is to cast liquid metal (for example: copper, iron, aluminum, tin, lead, etc.) into a cavity (called a mold) that matches the shape of the part. The material can be sand or metal. Even ceramics) is a method of obtaining parts or blanks after cooling and solidifying. Humans have mastered this manufacturing process thousands of years ago. For example, the unearthed bronze utensils of the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period were made by casting.

Another example is forging, which is a manufacturing process that uses a forging machine to apply pressure to a metal blank to produce plastic deformation to obtain forgings with certain mechanical properties, a certain shape and size. Mankind also mastered this manufacturing process thousands of years ago, which is commonly known as the “ironing” process. Generally, since forging can eliminate defects such as loose as-cast during the smelting process and optimize the microstructure, the mechanical properties of forgings are generally better than those of the same material.

The other is stamping, which is a forming process that relies on presses and dies to apply external force to plates, strips, pipes and profiles, so that they are plastically deformed or separated, so as to obtain the required shape and size of the workpiece (stamping). . Many items in life, such as car bodies, container shells, instruments, household appliances, office machinery, living utensils, etc., are all stamped parts. Stamping and forging are both plastic processing (or pressure processing), collectively known as forging.

In the process of processing articles, the materials only change from one form to another, and the materials do not increase or decrease, so they are called iso-material manufacturing processes.

2. Subtractive manufacturing process.

Generally refers to the process method of processing parts on CNC machine tools. Turning, milling and planing are four basic processing methods, including turning processing, milling processing, planing processing, and grinding processing. Different parts require different processing methods. Some parts need to use a variety of methods to complete the processing of the parts. Because this machining process removes excess material from the workpiece, the removed material is wasteful (called scrap), so it is called a subtractive manufacturing process.

3D printing is not a mystery: it is just a new type of manufacturing and processing technology

3D printing technology appeared in the late 1980s and early 1990s (also known as rapid prototyping technology), and it has been less than 30 years. The principle is very simple: take a 3D digital model file as an input, use powdered metal or plastic and other bondable materials to construct an object by layer-by-layer printing.

Visually speaking, ordinary printers output 2D images or graphic digital files on paper through ink; 3D printers output real raw materials (such as metals, ceramics, plastics, sand, etc.) as a thin layer (physical The upper part has a certain thickness), and then it is repeated layer by layer, and finally it becomes a physical object in space. Therefore, when 3D printing outputs a certain layer, the process is similar to inkjet printing. It’s like building a house, which is accumulated by bricks, while 3D printed objects are accumulated by raw materials one by one.

Since 3D printing is made by stacking materials layer by layer, it is also called an additive manufacturing process. 3D printing is not a mystery. Compared with the millennial equivalent material manufacturing process and the century-old subtractive manufacturing process, 3D printing is just a new manufacturing process with a history of less than 30 years.

Comparison: What are the advantages and disadvantages of 3D printing compared with other manufacturing processes?

Compared with the equivalent material manufacturing process and the subtractive manufacturing process, 3D printing has many advantages, and many articles have carried out detailed analysis and elaboration. PTJ believes that, compared with traditional manufacturing processes, 3D printing has the following three main advantages:

  •  – The design space is unlimited. For items with complex geometric structures (such as items with very complex topological structures or cavity structures), traditional manufacturing processes cannot be processed, and the items need to be decomposed and processed separately and then assembled. 3D printing decomposes objects into 2D areas layer by layer, so there is no problem in processing arbitrarily complex objects, and the processing accuracy depends only on the smallest material particles that the printer can output. This is the biggest advantage that 3D printing brings to us, allowing designers to design arbitrarily complex geometric shapes with unlimited design space. It is this advantage that gives us a large number of problems to be solved in geometric design and optimization, which will be detailed later.
  •  – Zero skill manufacturing. Traditional manufacturing process equipment is huge and expensive, and requires high skills to operate. 3D printers (such as FDM 3D printers) are small and cheap, and some have already entered the home, which are simple and convenient to use; compared with expensive molds, 3D printing only needs a digital file to form. Therefore, through 3D printing, the personalized design and customization of products can be easily realized, which greatly shortens the development time of products. This advantage has given us non-mechanical research workers who can also conduct related research on geometry, structure, materials, etc., which greatly deepens and expands related research issues in manufacturing.
  •  – Unlimited combinations of materials. The multi-jet 3D printer can print multiple materials in combination. Through the stacking and combination of materials, the printed items have different physical and mechanical properties from a single material. Therefore, through the combination of different materials, “new materials” with different properties can be produced. This advantage provides us with the use of controlling the distribution of materials to control the physical, mechanical and structural characteristics of the items, so as to produce diversified items and increase product flexibility.

In short, the three most valued advantages of 3D printing technology are accelerating the product development process, providing personalized and customized products, and increasing production flexibility. From the perspective of the molding process, 3D printing has broken through the traditional molding method. It does not need to make molds and mechanical processing in advance. Through the combination of rapid automatic prototyping hardware systems and CAD software models, various products with complex shapes can be manufactured, which makes the product design and production cycle It is greatly shortened, and the production cost is greatly reduced.

Of course, as a young molding process, 3D printing still has many shortcomings, such as slow molding time, low precision, few types of materials, and inability to mass produce. At this stage, the actual use of 3D printing still belongs to the category of rapid prototyping, which is to provide enterprises with the manufacture of product prototypes before producing formal products, which is also called prototype in the industry. Therefore, the 3D printing molding process currently exists as a complementary way to the traditional manufacturing process, and it will take time to become the mainstream manufacturing technology. But we must believe that mankind’s pursuit of technology is unlimited. With the continuous progress of 3D printing equipment and printing materials, 3D printing technology will be more and more widely used.

From another perspective, 3D printing technology has allowed manufacturing from factories to families, spawning a large number of individual designers (ie makers), and inspiring unlimited creative design possibilities. This is PTJ’s belief that 3D printing technology can bring the greatest significance to the public, which will be explained in detail later.

Positioning: 3D Printing Application Field And Achievement

3D printing is a new type of rapid prototyping technology that integrates cutting-edge technologies in many fields such as digital modeling technology, electromechanical control technology, information technology, materials science and chemistry, and involves many fields.

PTJ believes that as a manufacturing process (Manufacturing), 3D printing mainly involves three aspects:

  •  – Material. That is, the materials used in 3D printing, including resins, metals, ceramics, plastics or natural materials, etc., these materials are stacked to form real functional products.
  •  – Equipment (Machine). The 3D printing equipment will materialize the product according to the requirements of the software (design data and production data). There are many types of existing 3D printing equipment, which will be introduced later.
  •  – Modeling. This is the software part of the 3D printing process. Including slicing, model construction and optimization, molding process control, etc. This is the software part of the 3D printing process.

PTJ put forward the 3M concept of 3D printing, namely material, machine, modeling, in the first course (link) about 3D printing made at the Siggraph Asia International Conference in 2014, which is like three table legs, together Supporting the manufacturing desktop and its development (3M+1M), one is indispensable.

If 3D printing is compared to a dish, the material is the raw material of the dish, the equipment is the pot, and the modeling is the recipe and production method. Modeling, as the “brain” of 3D printing, plays a vital role in the forming process. This is exactly the research work of our researchers who are engaged in computer graphics and geometric modeling. Therefore, computer graphics is an indispensable and important research field in 3D printing. In computer graphics, a large number of research papers on geometry, structural design and optimization have appeared in recent years. PTJ has also done a series of research work in this area, which will be detailed later.

On December 3, 2018, this ground-breaking 3D printing device named Organaut, the “Soyuz MS-11” spacecraft performing the “Expedition 58” mission, was sent to the International Space Station. The printer was built by Invitro’s subsidiary “3D Bioprinting Solutions” (3D Bioprinting Solutions) company. Invitro then received a set of photos sent back from the International Space Station. Through these photos, we can see how the mouse’s thyroid gland was printed. The United States plans to send the bioprinter to the International Space Station in the spring of 2019.

On May 5, 2020, China’s first successful Long March 5B carrier rocket carried a new generation of manned spacecraft test ship, which also carried a “3D printer”. This is China’s first space 3D printing experiment and the first international 3D printing experiment of continuous fiber reinforced composite materials in space.

On July 1, 2014, the U.S. Navy tested the use of advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing to rapidly manufacture ship parts, hoping to speed up the execution of missions and reduce costs.

From June 24 to June 26, 2014, the U.S. Navy held the first exchange-making festival in the combat command system activities, and carried out a series of “printing ships” seminars. During this period, the US Navy Introduced 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology.

The US Navy is committed to training sailors in this area in the future. The use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing methods can significantly increase the execution speed and readiness of missions, reduce costs, and avoid purchasing ship parts from all over the world.

Phil Cullom, deputy chief of the U.S. Navy’s combat fleet logistics department, said that considering the cost and existing loopholes in the Navy’s logistics and supply chain, as well as the resource constraints faced, the application of advanced manufacturing and 3D printing is becoming more and more extensive. A global network of advanced manufacturers supported by sailors to identify problems and manufacture products.

At the end of September 2014, NASA is expected to complete the first imaging telescope, with all components basically manufactured through 3D printing technology. NASA has therefore become the first unit to try to use 3D printing technology to manufacture the entire instrument.
This space telescope is fully functional, and its 50.8 mm camera allows it to be placed in a CubeSat (a miniature satellite). It is understood that the outer tube, outer baffle and optical frame of this space telescope are all directly printed as separate structures, and only the mirror and lens have not yet been realized. The instrument will carry out vibration and thermal vacuum tests in 2015.
This 50.8 mm long telescope will be made entirely of aluminum and titanium, and only 4 parts need to be manufactured by 3D printing technology. In contrast, the number of parts required by the traditional manufacturing method is 5-10 that of 3D printing. Times. In addition, in a 3D printed telescope, the instrument baffle used to reduce the stray light in the telescope can be made into an angled style, which cannot be achieved in a single part with traditional manufacturing methods.

On August 31, 2014, NASA engineers just completed the test of the 3D printed rocket ejector. This research is to improve the performance of a certain component of the rocket engine. Because the liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen in the ejector are mixed and reacted together, The combustion temperature here can reach 6000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 3315 degrees Celsius, and can generate 20,000 pounds of thrust, which is about 9 tons, which verifies the feasibility of 3D printing technology in the manufacture of rocket engines. This test is located at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where there are relatively complete rocket engine test conditions, and engineers can verify the performance of 3D printed parts in an ignition environment.

The manufacture of rocket engine injectors requires high-precision processing technology. If 3D printing technology is used, the complexity of manufacturing can be reduced. The three-dimensional image of the injector can be established in the computer. The printed materials are metal powder and laser. At high temperatures, metal powder can be reshaped into what we need. There are dozens of injection elements in the injector of a rocket engine. To build components of similar size requires a certain degree of machining accuracy. After successful testing, this technology will be used to manufacture the RS-25 engine, which serves as the future space launch system of NASA. The main power, the rocket can carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, into more distant deep space. Chris, the director of the engineering department of the Marshall Center, believes that the application of 3D printing technology to rocket engine injectors is only the first step. Our purpose is to test how 3D printing parts can completely change the design and manufacture of rockets and improve the performance of the system. The important thing is to save time and cost, and is less prone to failure. In this test, two rocket injectors were ignited. Each time for 5 seconds, the complex geometric fluid model created by the designer allowed the oxygen and hydrogen to be fully mixed at a pressure of 1,400 pounds per square inch.

On October 11, 2014, a team of British enthusiasts used 3D printing technology to create a rocket. They are also preparing to launch the world’s first printed rocket into the sky. The team introduced the world’s first rocket made with 3D printing technology to the media in the London office at local time. Team leader Haynes said that with 3D printing technology, it is not difficult to create highly complex shapes. Even if you want to modify the design prototype, as long as you make changes in the computer-aided design software, the printer will make relative adjustments. This is much more convenient than the traditional manufacturing method before. Now that NASA is already using 3D printing technology to manufacture rocket parts, the future of 3D printing technology is very bright.

According to reports, this project called “Low Orbit Helium-Assisted Navigation” was sponsored by a German data analysis company. The printed rocket weighs 3 kilograms, which is equivalent to the height of an average adult. It was built by the team in 4 years and 6,000 pounds. After a grant of 15,000 pounds is confirmed, they will launch the rocket at the U.S. Spaceport in New Mexico at the end of this year. A giant balloon filled with helium will lift the rocket to an altitude of 20,000 meters, and the global positioning system installed in the rocket will start the rocket engine, and the rocket jet speed will reach 1,610 kilometers per hour. After that, the autopilot system on the rocket will guide the rocket back to earth, and the camera inside will take pictures of the whole process.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) official website reported on April 21, 2015 that NASA engineers are using additive manufacturing technology to manufacture the first full-size copper alloy rocket engine parts to save costs. The head of NASA’s space technology mission department said, This is a new milestone in the application of 3D printing technology in the aerospace field.

It was reported on June 22, 2015 that the state-owned Russian technology group company used 3D printing technology to create a prototype drone. It weighs 3.8 kg, has a wingspan of 2.4 meters, a flying speed of 90 to 100 kilometers per hour, and a range of 1 to 1.5. Hour.

Company spokesperson Vladimir Kutakhov introduced that the company took two and a half months to achieve a leap from concept to prototype. The actual production time was only 31 hours and the manufacturing cost was less than 200,000 rubles (about 3700 US dollars). ).

April 19, 2016, 3D Printing Technology Research Center, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

It was announced that after more than two years of hard work by the Academy and the Space Application Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the completion of a parabolic weightlessness flight test in Bordeaux, France, the first domestic space on-orbit 3D printer has been successfully developed. This 3D printer can print parts with a maximum size of 200×130mm. It can help astronauts make the parts they need in a weightless environment, greatly increase the flexibility of space station experiments, and reduce the types and quantities of space station spare parts and operating costs. Reduce the dependence of the space station on ground supplies.

3D printed liver model

The scientific research team formed by the University of Tsukuba and Da Nippon Printing Company announced on July 8, 2015 that it has developed a low-cost 3D printer to produce a three-dimensional model of the liver that can see blood vessels and other internal structures. It is said that if the method is put into application, a model can be made for each patient, which will help confirm the operation sequence before surgery and explain the treatment method to the patient.

This model is made with a 3D printer based on patient data obtained from medical examinations such as CT. The model presents the overall shape of the liver according to the lines on the outside of the surface, reproducing the blood vessels and tumors inside it in detail.

Since the liver model is basically hollow, the positions of important blood vessels are clear at a glance. It is said that a small amount of expensive resin materials are needed to make the model, which reduces the original production cost of about 300,000 to 400,000 yen (about 15,000 to 20,000 yuan) to less than one-third of the original.

The internal organ models made by 3D printing technology are mainly used for research, but because of the high price, they have not been popularized in clinic. The scientific research team stated that on the one hand, they strive to realize the practical application of the liver model by 2016, and on the other hand, they will advance the research and development of the production technology of organ models such as pancreas.

3D printed skull

On August 28, 2014, the 46-year-old Zhouzhi farmer Master Hu was building his own house. He fell from a three-story building and fell on a pile of wood. His left brain cover was smashed. After an operation in a local hospital, Master Hu died. No damage, but the left brain lid is sunken, making him a “half-headed man” in the eyes of others.

In addition to his face different from ordinary people, the accident also hurt Master Hu’s vision and language function. To help him restore his image, the doctor used 3D printing technology to assist in designing the shape of the defect skull, and designed a titanium metal mesh to reconstruct the defect of the skull orbital bone, creating the defected left “brain cap”, and finally achieving left-right symmetry.

The doctor said that the operation takes about 5 to 10 hours. In addition to supporting the left side of the brain with a titanium mesh, it also needs to take muscles from the leg to fill it. After the operation, Master Hu’s appearance will be restored. As for the language function, it depends on the recovery after the operation.

3D printed spine implanted in human body

In August 2014, the Peking University research team successfully implanted a 12-year-old boy with a 3D printed spine, the first case in the world. It is understood that the young boy’s spine developed a malignant tumor after a football injury, and the doctor had to choose to remove the spine where the tumor was located. However, what is special about this operation is that the doctor did not use traditional spinal transplantation, but tried advanced 3D printing technology.

The researchers said that this implant can be very well integrated with existing bones, and it can also shorten the patient’s recovery time. Since the implanted 3D spine can be well integrated with the surrounding bones, it does not need too much “anchorage”. In addition, the researchers also set up micro-holes on it, which can help bones grow between the alloys. In other words, the implanted 3D printed spine will grow firmly with the original spine, which also means that it will not be in the future. A loose situation has occurred.

3D printed palm

In October 2014, doctors and scientists used 3D printing technology to put the palms of a 5-year-old girl in Scotland, UK.

The girl named Hayley Fraser was born with a disability in her left arm, no palm, only a wrist. With the cooperation of doctors and scientists, a special prosthesis was designed for her and successfully installed.

3D printed heart saves 2-week-old baby with congenital heart disease

On October 13, 2014, Dr. Emile Bacha from the New York Presbyterian Hospital told the story of using a 3D printed heart to save a 2-week-old baby. This baby has a congenital heart defect, which creates “a lot of holes” in the heart. In the past, this type of surgery required stopping the heart, opening it up and observing it, and then deciding what to do next in a short period of time.

But with 3D printing technology, Dr. Bachar can make a model of the heart before the operation, so that his team can examine it and decide what to do during the operation. The baby originally needed 3-4 operations, but now one is enough. This baby, who was originally thought to have a limited lifespan, can lead a normal life.

Dr. Bacha said that he used the baby’s MRI data and 3D printing technology to create the heart model. The entire production process cost thousands of dollars, but he expects that the production price will be lower in the future.

3D printing technology allows doctors to practice in advance, thereby reducing the patient’s time on the operating table. The 3D model helps to reduce the operation steps and make the operation safer.

In January 2015, at the Miami Children’s Hospital, there was a 4-year-old girl Adanelie Gonzalez suffering from “total pulmonary venous malformation drainage (TAPVC)”. Due to the disease, her immune system was weak and she could only survive without corrective surgery. Weeks or even days.

With the help of the 3D heart model, the cardiovascular surgeon successfully worked out a complex corrective surgery plan by completely replicating the 3D model of the little girl’s heart. Finally, according to the plan, a permanent operation was successfully performed on the little girl. Now the little girl’s blood flow has returned to normal, and her body has gradually returned to normal during the treatment.

3D printing pharmaceutical

On August 5, 2015, the first SPRITAM (levetiracetam) instant tablet prepared by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals using 3D printing technology was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will be officially launched in 2016 sell. This means that 3D printing technology is further striding forward into the pharmaceutical field after printing human organs, which is of great significance to the realization of precise and targeted pharmaceuticals in the future. The “Levetiracetam Instant Tablets” approved to be marketed adopts ZipDose 3D printing technology of Aprecia’s independent intellectual property rights.

The pills produced by 3D printing pharmacy have abundant pores and extremely high internal surface area, so they can be quickly melted by a small amount of water in a short time. Such characteristics have brought good news to some patients with swallowing disorders.

This idea is mainly aimed at the patient’s demand for the quantity of medicines, which can effectively reduce a series of problems such as the deterioration and expiration of medicines caused by the stock of medicines. In fact, the most important breakthrough of 3D printing pharmaceuticals is that it can further realize the dream of tailor-made medicines for patients.

3D printed chest

Recently, scientists have added a titanium breastbone and chest cavity to the traditional 3D printed body parts-3D printed chest cavity.

The lucky recipient of these 3D printed parts is a 54-year-old Spaniard who suffers from a chest wall sarcoma that forms in bones, soft tissues and cartilage. The doctor had to remove the patient’s breastbone and part of the ribs to prevent the spread of cancer cells.

These excised parts need to find a substitute. Under normal circumstances, the metal discs used will become weak over time and easily cause complications. Australia’s CSIRO company created a titanium sternum and ribs that perfectly matched the patient’s geometry.

CSIRO designs and manufactures the required body parts based on the patient’s CT scan. The staff will use CAD software to design the body part and input it into the 3D printer. Two weeks after the operation was completed, the patient was allowed to leave the hospital and everything was in good condition.

3D blood vessel printer

In October 2015, my country’s 863 plan 3D printing blood vessel project made a major breakthrough. The world’s first 3D biological blood vessel printer was successfully developed by Sichuan Languang Inno Biotech Co., Ltd.

This blood vessel printer has advanced performance and can print 10 cm long blood vessels in just 2 minutes. Different from the existing 3D bioprinters on the market, the 3D biovascular printer can print out the unique hollow structure and multiple layers of different types of cells in blood vessels, which is the world’s first.

U.S. 3D printed bioengineered spinal cord

In August 2018, researchers from the University of Minnesota in the United States developed a new multi-cell neural tissue engineering method, using 3D printing equipment to make a bioengineered spinal cord. Researchers say that the technology may one day help patients who have suffered from long-term spinal cord injuries restore certain functions.

Beautiful 3D printed cardiac muscle pump

In July 2020, researchers from the University of Minnesota in the United States published a report in the latest issue of Circulation Research, stating that they had 3D printed human cells in the laboratory to produce a centimeter-level human heart muscle pump model with normal function. The researchers said that this normal function of the cardiac muscle pump model system is of great significance for heart disease research, and their results have taken a crucial step towards the manufacture of large-chamber models such as the human heart.

In August 2014, 10 3D printed buildings were delivered to Shanghai Zhangjiang High-tech Qingpu Park as office buildings for the local relocation project. These “printed” building walls are made of special “inks” made of construction waste. They are printed by a large 3D printer layer by layer according to the drawings and plans designed by the computer. The construction process of 10 cottages only costs 24. Hour.

On September 5, 2014, architects from all over the world are competing to build the world’s first 3D printed house. 3D printed houses have a profound breakthrough in housing capacity and house customization. In Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, a team of architects has begun to manufacture the world’s first 3D printed house, and the building materials used are renewable bio-based materials. This building is called “Canal House” and consists of 13 houses. The project is located on a vacant lot on the North Canal of Amsterdam and is expected to be completed within 3 years.

The “Canal House” under construction has become a public museum, and US President Barack Obama once visited there. Dutch DUS architect Hans Vermeulen said in an interview with BI that their main goal is to “be able to provide customized houses.”

In January 2014, several buildings constructed using 3D printing technology were unveiled in the Suzhou Industrial Park. This batch of buildings includes a villa with an area of ​​1,100 square meters and a 6-story residential building. The walls of these buildings are superimposed and painted by large 3D printers, and the “ink” used for printing is made of construction waste.

On the morning of July 17, 2015, a 3D printed modular new material villa appeared in Xi’an,
The builder completed the construction of the villa in three hours. According to the builder, this three-hour hard-covered villa can be moved in with a bag as long as it is furnished.

On September 15, 2014, 3D printed buildings, skirts, hats, and jewelry have appeared in the world, and the first 3D printed car has finally appeared. This car has only 40 parts, it took 44 hours to build it, and the lowest price was 11,000 pounds (about 110,000 yuan).

The world’s first 3D printed car has come out-this small two-seater family car named “Strati” designed and manufactured by Local Motors of the United States has opened a new chapter in the automotive industry. This innovative product was publicly unveiled at the 2014 Chicago International Manufacturing Technology Exhibition for six days.

Using 3D printing technology to print a Strati car and complete the assembly takes 44 hours. The total number of 3D printed parts on the entire body is 40, which is very simple compared to the more than 20,000 parts of a traditional car. The curved body is first made of black plastic and then wrapped in layers of carbon fiber to increase strength. This manufacturing design is still the first of its kind. The car is powered by batteries and has a top speed of about 64 kilometers per hour. The battery in the car can travel 190 to 240 kilometers.

Although replaceable parts such as car seats and tires are still manufactured in the traditional way, plans to manufacture these parts in 3D are already on the agenda. There is an oversized 3D printer in the workshop where the car is manufactured, which can print large parts that are 3 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, and 1 meter high, while ordinary 3D printers can only print things up to 25 cubic centimeters in size.

On October 29, 2014, at the International Manufacturing Technology Exhibition in Chicago, Local Motors, Arizona, USA, demonstrated the manufacturing process of the world’s first 3D printed electric car. This electric car is called “Strati” and the entire manufacturing process took only 45 hours. Strati uses a one-piece body, the maximum speed can reach 40 miles per hour (approximately 64 kilometers per hour), a single charge can travel 120 to 150 miles (approximately 190 to 240 kilometers). Strati has only 49 components. The drivetrain, suspension, battery, tires, wheels, wiring, electric motor and windshield are manufactured using traditional technology. The remaining components including the chassis, instrument panel, seat and body are all made by 3D printer printing, the material used is carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Strati’s body is integrally molded and printed by a 3D printer, with a total of 212 layers of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics. The Cincinnati company is responsible for providing the large-format additive manufacturing 3D printer used in the manufacture of Strati, capable of printing 3 feet × 5 feet × 10 feet (approximately 90 cm × 152 cm × 305 cm) parts.

Recently, Divergent Microfactories (DM) from San Francisco, USA launched the world
The first 3D printed super sports car “Blade”. The company said that this car is made up of a series of aluminum “nodes” and carbon fiber pipes, which can be easily assembled into a car chassis, so it is more environmentally friendly.

The Blade is equipped with a dual-fuel 700 horsepower engine that can use gasoline or compressed natural gas as fuel. In addition, due to the light weight of the vehicle, the weight of the vehicle is only 1,400 pounds (about 0.64 tons), and it only takes two seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour, making it easy to rank among the top supercars.

In July 2015, Divergent Microfactories (DM) of San Francisco, USA launched the world’s first 3D printed super sports car “Blade”.

On November 10, 2014, the world’s first 3D printed notebook computer has been pre-sold. It allows anyone to print their own equipment in their living room at half the price of traditional products.
This laptop is called Pi-Top and will not be officially launched until May 2015. However, through word of mouth, it has now received a total of 76,000 pounds of pre-orders within two weeks.

Many women know that it is not easy to meet a very fitting dress. Clothes made with a 3D printer can be said to be the master key to solve the difficulties encountered by women when choosing clothes. A design studio has successfully used 3D printing technology to make clothes. The clothes made using this technology are not only novel in appearance, but also comfortable and fit.

The skirt is priced at RMB 19,000, and 2,279 printing plates were used in the production process, connected by 3,316 chains. This kind of clothing called “4D skirt” is just like woven clothing, it can be easily unfolded from the compressed state. One of the founders and creative director Jessica recalled that the dress took about 48 hours to print.

The Massachusetts-based company has also written an application for smartphones and tablets, which helps users adjust their clothes. Using this app, you can change the style and comfort of clothes.

Shadowless high heels

On August 27, 2015, Shenzhen beauty maker SexyCyborg invented “Shadowless High Heels”. It is empty and can be loaded into a set of security penetration testing kits.

“Shadowless high heels” are enough for some beauty hackers to easily break through the defenses of certain enterprises or government agencies and obtain valuable and important information. There is a drawer inside each shoe, and the user can take it off without taking off the shoe. Then install a penetration test suite, the components of which are all equipment used by hackers. 

On May 14, 2019, the fifth-generation deep-water leveling vessel “Yihang Jinping 2” independently developed by my country was launched in Nantong, Jiangsu. The hull has been domestically produced from design to construction, and a number of performances are at the international leading level. After the “Yihang Jinping 2” is put into production, it will further consolidate my country’s world leading position in the field of subsea tunnel foundation construction. “Yihangjinping 2” is vividly called the “3D printer” for deep-water gravel paving due to its high efficiency and automation of laying operations.

Introduction to commonly used materials for 3D printing

“It’s hard for a clever woman to cook without rice.” Materials are the material basis of 3D printing and one of the bottlenecks that restrict the development of 3D printing. The materials used in 3D printing mainly include engineering plastics, rubber, photosensitive resins, gypsum, metals, and ceramics. In the field of biological applications, there are artificial bone meal, cell biological raw materials, etc. These materials are all developed for 3D printing equipment and processes, and come in different forms, such as powder, filament, layer, liquid, etc. For example, the particles of powdered 3D printing materials have a spherical shape with a radius of less than 100 microns.

The following briefly introduces some commonly used 3D printing materials (mainly from material). For more detailed information, please contact us.

  •  – Engineering plastics refer to industrial plastics used as industrial parts or housing materials. They are plastics with excellent strength, impact resistance, heat resistance, hardness and aging resistance. Engineering plastics are currently the most widely used type of 3D printing materials. Commonly used are ABS, PC, and nylon materials. ABS material is a thermoplastic engineering plastic commonly used in FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) rapid prototyping process. It has the advantages of high strength, good toughness, and impact resistance.
  •  – Photosensitive resin, namely UV resin, is composed of polymer monomers and prepolymers, in which a light (ultraviolet light) initiator (or called a photosensitizer) is added. Under the irradiation of a certain wavelength of ultraviolet light (250-300nm), it can immediately cause the polymerization reaction to complete the curing. The photosensitive resin is generally liquid and can be used to make high-strength, high-temperature resistant, and waterproof materials. At present, 3D printing technology of photosensitive materials is mainly researched by the United States 3Dsystem company and Israel object company. Common photosensitive resins are somos NEXT material, resin somos11122 material, somos19120 material and epoxy resin.
  •  – Rubber materials have the characteristics of multiple levels of elastic materials. The hardness, elongation at break, tear resistance and tensile strength of these materials make them very suitable for applications requiring non-slip or soft surfaces. 3D printed rubber products mainly include consumer electronics, medical equipment, automotive interiors, tires, and gaskets.
  •  – Metal materials: In the field of national defense, developed countries in Europe and the United States attach great importance to the development of 3D printing technology and have invested heavily in research. 3D printing metal parts has always been the focus of research and application. The metal powder used in 3D printing generally requires high purity, good sphericity, narrow particle size distribution, and low oxygen content. At present, the metal powder materials used in 3D printing mainly include titanium alloy, cobalt-chromium alloy, stainless steel and aluminum alloy materials.
  •  – Ceramic materials have excellent characteristics such as high strength, high hardness, high temperature resistance, low density, good chemical stability, and corrosion resistance. They are widely used in aerospace, automotive, biological and other industries. However, due to the hard and brittle characteristics of ceramic materials, it is particularly difficult to form.

Introduction to 3D printing equipment technology

There are many types of existing 3D printing equipment, and the equipment is designed in conjunction with materials. Here is just a brief list of some common 3D printing equipment (mainly from Medtec), more detailed information can be obtained from the Internet.

  •  – Layered solid molding process (LOM): This is the oldest 3D printing molding technology. LOM technology mostly uses paper, PVC film and other materials for its low price and high molding accuracy. The laser cutter will cut the film along the cross-sectional contour line of the workpiece. The liftable worktable can support the formed workpiece, and after each layer is formed, the thickness of the material is reduced to feed a new layer of material to be bonded and cut. , And finally the hot-bonded pressing parts will bond the film in the forming area layer by layer.
  •  – Three-dimensional light curing molding process (SLA): Using photosensitive resin as the material, under the control of the system, the ultraviolet laser will scan the liquid photosensitive resin to solidify it layer by layer. The liquid tank will be filled with liquid photosensitive resin first, and the ultraviolet laser beam emitted by the helium-cadmium laser or argon ion laser will scan the surface of the liquid photosensitive resin line by point according to the layered section data of the workpiece under the control of the computer. This causes the thin layer of resin in the scanning area to polymerize and solidify to form a thin layer of the workpiece.
  •  – Selective laser sintering process (SLS): The SLS process uses powdered materials. The laser scans and irradiates the powder under the control of a computer to achieve sintering and bonding of the materials. In this way, the materials are stacked to achieve forming. First, a pressure roller is used to spread a layer of powder on the upper surface of the formed workpiece. The numerical control system controls the laser beam to scan and irradiate the powder layer according to the cross-sectional profile of the layer to raise the temperature of the powder to the melting point, thereby sintering and sintering. The molded part below is bonded.
  •  – Three-dimensional printing process (3DP): The working principle is similar to the inkjet printer, and the SLS process is also similar. It uses powdered materials, such as ceramics, metals, and plastics, but the difference is the use of 3DP The powder is not bonded together by laser sintering, but the cross-section of the workpiece is “printed” by spraying the adhesive through the nozzle and stacked layer by layer.
  •  – Fused deposition molding process (FDM): The filamentous hot-melt material (usually ABS or PLA material) is heated and melted, and the material is extruded through an extruder with a fine nozzle, and the molten filament is extruded It will be bonded with the previous layer of material immediately after it is out. After a layer of material is deposited, the worktable will be lowered by one thickness in a predetermined increment, and then the above steps will be repeated until the workpiece is completely formed. This is the most common 3D printer, and the price is only a few thousand yuan. It is also the most popular 3D printing equipment in homes and personal studios (Makers). Also known as a desktop 3D printer.

The History Development Of 3D Printing

  • – 3D printing technology appeared in the mid-1990s, and is actually the latest rapid prototyping device using technologies such as light curing and paper lamination. It is basically the same as ordinary printing. The printer contains liquid or powder and other “printing materials”. After connecting to the computer, the “printing materials” are superimposed layer by layer through computer control, and finally the blueprint on the computer is turned into a real object. This printing technology is called 3D stereo printing technology.
  • – In 1986, American scientist Charles Hull developed the first commercial 3D printing press.
  • – In 1993, MIT was granted a patent for 3D printing technology.
  • – In 1995, ZCorp of the United States obtained the sole authorization from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began to develop 3D printers.
  • – In 2005, the first high-definition color 3D printer Spectrum Z510 on the market was successfully developed by ZCorp.
  • – In November 2010, the American Jim Kor team created the world’s first car printed by a 3D printer, Urbee.
  • – On June 6, 2011, the world’s first 3D printed bikini was released.
  • – In July 2011, British researchers developed the world’s first 3D chocolate printer.
  • – In August 2011, engineers at the University of Southampton developed the world’s first 3D printed aircraft.
  • – In November 2012, Scottish scientists used human cells to print artificial liver tissue using a 3D printer for the first time.
  • – In October 2013, the world’s first successful auction of a 3D printed artwork named “ONO God”.
  • – In November 2013, SolidConcepts, a 3D printing company based in Austin, Texas, designed and manufactured a 3D printed metal pistol.
  • – From August 1, 2018, 3D printed guns will be legal in the United States, and the design drawings of 3D printed pistols will also be freely downloadable on the Internet.
  • – On December 10, 2018, Russian astronauts used the 3D bioprinter on the International Space Station to print out the thyroid gland of the experimental mouse under zero gravity.
  • – On January 14, 2019, the University of California, San Diego published a paper in the journal Nature Medicine, using rapid 3D printing technology for the first time to create a spinal cord scaffold that mimics the structure of the central nervous system. It was implanted into the spinal cord after being loaded with neural stem cells. In the damaged spine of the rat, it successfully helped the rat to recover its motor function. The stent is designed to mimic the structure of the central nervous system. It is round with a thickness of only two millimeters. The middle of the stent is an H-shaped structure. There are dozens of tiny channels with a diameter of about 200 microns around it to guide the implanted neural stem cells and axis. The protrusions grow along the spinal cord injury site.
  • – On April 15, 2019, researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel used the patient’s own tissues as raw materials to 3D print the world’s first “complete” heart with cells, blood vessels, ventricles, and atria. This is the first case in the world (3D printing). heart).

The Principle Technology Of 3D Printing

Ordinary printers used in daily life can print plane objects designed by computers. The so-called 3D printers work on the same principle as ordinary printers, except that the printing materials are somewhat different. The printing materials of ordinary printers are ink and paper, while 3D printers contain metal. Different “printing materials” such as ceramics, plastics, sand, etc. are tangible raw materials. After the printer is connected to the computer, the “printing materials” can be superimposed layer by layer through the computer control, and finally the blueprint on the computer becomes In kind. There are many different technologies for 3D printing. Their difference lies in the way of available materials and the construction of different layers to create parts. Commonly used materials for 3D printing include nylon fiberglass, durable nylon materials, gypsum materials, aluminum materials, titanium alloys, stainless steel, silver-plated, gold-plated, and rubber materials.
Type Accumulation techniqueTechnology Basic materialsMaterials
Fused Deposition Type (FDM)
thermoplastics, eutectic system metals, edible materials</div >
Electron beam free forming manufacturing (EBF)
Almost any alloy
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Almost any alloy
Electron beam melting molding (EBM)
Titanium alloy
Selective laser melting molding (SLM)
Titanium alloy, cobalt-chromium alloy, stainless steel, aluminum
Selective Thermal Sintering (SHS)
Thermoplastic powder
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
thermoplastic, metal powder, ceramic powder
Powder layer nozzle 3D printing
Gypsum 3D printing (PP)
Layered Physical Manufacturing (LOM)
Paper, metal film, plastic film
Stereolithography (SLA)
Light hardening resin
Digital Light Processing (DLP)
Light hardening resin[14]

The Process Of 3D Printing

>>> 3D Design

The design process of 3D printing is: first modeling by computer modeling software, and then “partitioning” the built 3D model into layer-by-layer sections, that is, slices, so as to instruct the printer to print layer by layer.

The standard file format for collaboration between the design software and the printer is the STL file format. An STL file uses triangles to approximate the surface of an object. The smaller the triangle, the higher the resolution of the resulting surface. PLY is a scanner for three-dimensional files generated by scanning. The VRML or WRL files generated by it are often used as input files for full-color printing.

>>> Slicing

The printer reads the cross-sectional information in the file, prints these cross-sections layer by layer with liquid, powder or sheet-like materials, and then glues the cross-sections of each layer in various ways to create an entity. The characteristic of this technology is that it can make almost any shape of objects.

The thickness of the cross-section printed by the printer (ie the Z direction) and the resolution in the plane direction that is the X-Y direction are calculated in dpi (pixels per inch) or microns. The general thickness is 100 microns, or 0.1 mm, and some printers such as ObjetConnex series and 3D Systems’ ProJet series can print a thin layer of 16 microns. The plane direction can print out the resolution similar to that of a laser printer. The diameter of the printed “ink drop” is usually 50 to 100 microns. It usually takes several hours to several days to manufacture a model using traditional methods, depending on the size and complexity of the model. The use of three-dimensional printing technology can shorten the time to several hours, of course, it is determined by the performance of the printer and the size and complexity of the model.

Traditional manufacturing technologies such as injection molding can produce polymer products in large quantities at a lower cost, while 3D printing technology can produce relatively small numbers of products in a faster, more flexible, and lower-cost way. A desktop-sized 3D printer can meet the needs of designers or concept development teams to make models.

>>> Finish 3D Printing

The resolution of the 3D printer is sufficient for most applications (it may be rough on curved surfaces, like jagged images). To obtain higher resolution items, you can use the following method: first use the current 3D printer Hit a slightly larger object, and then slightly polish the surface to get a smooth “high-resolution” object.

Some technologies can use multiple materials for printing at the same time. Some technologies also use supports in the printing process. For example, when printing some objects that are upside down, they need to use something that is easy to remove (such as soluble matter) as a support.

The Limiting Factor Of 3D Printing

Material Restrictions

Although high-end industrial printing can achieve printing on plastics, certain metals or ceramics, the materials that cannot be printed are relatively expensive and scarce. In addition, the printer has not yet reached a mature level and cannot support the various materials encountered in daily life.

Researchers have made some progress in multi-material printing, but unless these advances are mature and effective, materials will still be a major obstacle to 3D printing.

Machine Limitations

3D printing technology has achieved a certain level in reconstructing the geometry and function of objects. Almost any static shape can be printed, but those moving objects and their definition are difficult to achieve. This difficulty may be solvable for manufacturers, but if 3D printing technology wants to enter ordinary households, everyone can print what they want at will, so the limitations of the machine must be resolved.

Worries About Intellectual Property

Over the past few decades, there has been more and more attention to intellectual property in the music, film, and television industries. 3D printing technology will also involve this problem, because many things in reality will be more widely spread. People can copy anything at will, and there is no limit to the number. How to formulate 3D printing laws and regulations to protect intellectual property rights is also one of the problems we face, otherwise there will be flooding.

Moral Challenge

Morality is the bottom line. It is difficult to define what kind of things will violate the laws of morality. If someone prints out biological organs and living tissues, they will encounter great moral challenges in the near future.
The cost of 3D printing technology needs to bear the cost is high. The price of the first 3D printer was 15,000. If you want to reach the general public, lowering the price is necessary, but it will conflict with the cost.

Every new technology will face these similar obstacles in the early stage of its birth, but I believe that finding a reasonable solution 3D printing technology will develop more rapidly, just like any rendering software, it is constantly updated to achieve the final perfection.

The Social Evaluation Of 3D Printing

3D printing technology cannot be applied to mass production, so some experts advocate that 3D printing is the third industrial revolution. This statement is just a gimmick. Foxconn has been producing iPhones for Apple for many years. Terry Gou took 3D printed mobile phones as an example, explaining that 3D printed products can only be seen and cannot be used, because these products cannot be equipped with electronic components and cannot be mass-produced for electronic products. Even if 3D printing does not produce electronic products, it is limited by materials and there are few other products that can be produced.

“3D printing is indeed more suitable for some small-scale manufacturing, especially high-end customized products, such as auto parts manufacturing. Although the main material is still plastic, metal materials will definitely be used in 3D printing in the future,” Kremp said , 3D printing technology has entered the dentistry, jewelry, and medical industries successively, and the scope of application in the future will become wider and wider.

At the end of November 2014, 3D printing technology was listed by Time Magazine as the 25 Best Inventions of the Year in 2014. For consumers and businesses, this is a boon. In the past year alone, middle school students have 3D printed train cars for physics experiments, scientists have 3D printed human organs, and General Electric has used 3D printing technology to improve the efficiency of its jet engines. The 3D printer of American 3D Systems can print candies and musical instruments. The company’s CEO Avi Reichental said: “This is indeed an ingenious technology.”

3D Printing China

PTJ offers online 3D printing services for china rapid prototyping and production of non-metal and metal 3D printed parts at affordable prices.

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Free 3D Printing Quote Process
Upload drawing files (PDF, DXF, IGES, STEP). You can easily register multiple drawings at once with the drawing file batch registration (EDI).
  • * Supports drawing uploads in file formats “.pdf”, “.jpg”, and “.png”.
  • * Supports file uploading and loading of 3D (3D) CAD data “.igs” and “.step”.
  • * Supports file uploading of two-dimensional (2D) CAD data “.dxf” and “.dwg”.
Quotation confirmation / order The shortest estimate from drawing data. Check the quotation on a PC etc. and place an order (order). * Estimates can be confirmed from the member-only management screen (PC, smartphone, tablet).
Started 3D Printing/Rapid Prototyping and production After accepting the request, Rapid Prototyping and manufacturing work is started by a specialist in 3D Printing,Cnc Machining, prototyping, and equipment. You can monitor the progress from your PC, smartphone, tablet, etc.
Finished product inspection / shipping Processing and production completed. After a strict check, we will promptly deliver to the designated delivery destination. Please look forward to the arrival of the finished product.
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