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3D Printing And Support Materials

by:Bofeng     2020-08-26
3D printing is a seriously cool technology that exists to help us manufacture the very odd things in the design world. CNC cutting and various machining methods can't make anything. Mold manufacturing methods can't make anything. I'm not going to say that 3D printing can make everything either, however it can make quite a bit more. When it comes down to using 3D printing for manufacturing purposes, there are so many more possibilities. In other articles, I've discussed the benefits to powder based 3D printing. Today, I want to cover the magic about support materials within the world of 3D printing.
If you don't know already, 3D printing is the layer by layer creation of pretty much whatever you're interested in making. A machine will lay down layers of material in accordance to a 3D design. A designer, artist, architect, product developer, engineer, or whatever you'd like to call him or her will have to design a file on the computer. This file will then serve as the blueprint for 3d printing processes. The extruders within the actual 3D printers themselves will work with this design to create a final piece. A hot glue gun-like head will then begin laying down layers of material. When an extruder lays down layers of material, it can only do so much. For example, it isn't easy for a hollowed out center to be manufactured. Grooves, curves, and intricate centers are very difficult to manufacture. However, within various forms of 3D printing are support materials. This material is the key to creating very intricate pieces and designs.
How do these materials help when it comes down to manufacturing complex parts? Well, essentially - material is laid down like it normally would be. When there is a hollow space or a groove to where material couldn't have been previously, a layer of support material will be laid down. There are various forms of support material out there. Some support material may be a slightly hard gel. Others may be made out of the actual material itself. Other types of support material will simply be dissolved away when exposed to a chemical, leaving the final product.
The capabilities of these supports are endless! There are so many options when it comes down to actually producing complex pieces that have the capabilities of intricate centers, hollowed spaces, floating pieces, and other advanced designs. There are so many benefits to having the capabilities of support materials. There is just so much to gain from this!
By having support materials in the arsenal of materials and manufacturing, complex pieces that could never have been made in the past are now available for anyone to use! This means that there are going to be some crazy designs which shake up the manufacturing world. In fact, there already have been designs that have simply shaken up the design world. The act of using material in conjunction with support materials is just awesome! This is one of the edges that 3D printing has on other various forms of manufacturing.

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