- Dec 17, 2016
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3D Materials in 2016
There is no limit to 3D printing materials. It can be plastic, metal, food, and even human cells. Who know what crazy 3D material is coming up next?
Although 3D printing is still in its infancy, with new 3D printing materials being constantly developing periodically, there are increasingly expansions of the 3D printing materials for the 3D printer community.
The particular type of thermoplastic used for 3D printing determines the printer nozzle setting temperature that must be used to melt the plastic material. Melting temperature, in turn, has an impact on the strength of the final printed object. Furthermore, having the right type of surface on the build plate is essential for the first layer to hold properly through the printing process.
The build plate can be heated in some printers to help the first layer adhere to the plate and limit warping, but the build plate can also be covered by a material to assist the plastic grip. Some types of the filament can use typical painter tape to support first layer adhesion to keep the object in place during the print process, while other types of the filament may need a more exotic material like the heat-resistant polyimide Kapton tape (DuPont developed for NASA spacesuits). Other materials are commonly used to help the first layer bind properly, including ABS Cement, hairspray, and even scrap filament dissolved in a compatible solvent and painted on the build plate to create a thin film. The materials simply need to be consistent with the thermoplastics being used.
Fused deposition modeling (FDM) systems like RepRap 3D printers use extruded materials — such as melted thermoplastics — to create objects. Although thermoplastics are presently the most common types of filament, new types of filament are continuing to innovate today.
Thermoplastics make up most of the types of filament used in fused deposition modeling (FDM). Filaments made from these thermoplastic materials can be created in many different colours, even transparent or glow-in-the-dark.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
It is a conventional thermoplastic polymer also used in 3D printing industry. Although some users may experience an uncomfortable smell printing with ABS, it does have a very structurally strong physical property compare to other thermoplastics. When printing with ABS material, it is a necessity to have a reliable heat bed along with an enclosed 3D printer to prevent from any warping event. Typically, the required setting nozzle temperature for printing ABS filament is around 230 degree Celsius.
Polylactic acid (PLA)
One of the most commonly used thermoplastics in 3D printing is PLA, an environmentally friendly and biodegradable polymer created from plant sugars from crops such as tapioca, corn, and sugarcane. This material can be printed using a print bed covered with painters tape and does not require a heated build plate. PLA melts at a lower temperature, around 160 degree Celsius, although it bonds better at higher degree Celsius [NatureWorks 190-210], and most PLA printers direct a small fan at the extruder to cool the material as it is added, preventing the hot end of the extruder from re-melting the previous layers.
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
An attractive option for water-soluble support is polyvinyl alcohol, a biodegradable industrial adhesive material extruded between 180 and 200 degrees Celsius. However, PVA-printed material dissolves easily in water and so must be isolated from atmospheric humidity. PVA is most commonly used as a support material for other types of thermoplastic so that it can later be directly dissolved away in water to reveal the completed plastic object.
Recent attention to 3D printing is providing an almost constant influx of new options for materials, including variations of PLA and ABS with new qualities and capabilities. PLA varieties include flexible changes, even some which produce specific smells or silky looks in the final printed objects. ABS alternatives include glow-in-the-dark and color-diode materials that shift colours in response to temperature.
3D-printed light pipes using transparent 3D-printed plastics are utilized by The Walt Disney Company in their remarkable Printed Optics to bring low-voltage, cool LED illumination directly to their displays. The Printed Optics program is developing this technology to make toys more responsive to children’s interactions, to add responsive elements to traditional components of their theme park settings, and to provide illumination using low-powered LED bulbs more individually fitting specific purposes within its array of exhibits.
Article you might be interested: 3D Printing and Business
These materials and others are used in 3D printing technology. You can use any material to design your products. Buy a 3D printer now to make your own product or start your own business.
Source: BotFeeder, 3DPrint.com
Main cover image via cubify.com