In the 3D printers available in the market these days, generation of output takes place from programs of mapping which support 3D modeling programs or 3D CAD programs. Some companies have their own soft wares for PLY, VRML, and STK formats to allow 3D viewing, scaling and labeling of text, and fine-tuning preceding printing.
Working: All the 3D printers’ posses five basic process functions for creating a three-dimensional model.
First - The Print Surface is fed with a unique powder.
Second - The powder is spread on print surface by a roller at a preset depth. This process takes just a few seconds for its completion.
Third - Color is applied to the powder's initial layer by the Standard Inkjet Print Heads.
Fourth - The solidification of powdered layer takes place.
Fifth - The lowering of print surface for powder's another layer is enabled.
This process goes on repeating till the completion of the whole 3D model occurs. The mixture of Ink Jet Color and powder results in formation of a bond. The solidification occurs this way. So, if no printing is carried out at the specified layer or location, the powder retains its state, i. e. it does not get solidified. Once the printing process comes to a halt, the powder gets blown out, thereby leaving the output which is the reflection of the original model or drawing. Depending on complexity and size of output, this process takes around ½ an hour. These 3D printers do a commendable job, especially when pre-production examples or working prototypes of the specified objects are seen on the computer monitor.
Self-replicating 3D printers: The ‘self-replicating rapid prototype', better known as RepRap is believed to lessen the price of three-dimensional printers, thereby paving way for the future where spare parts and broken objects are just re-printed on a homely basis. There would also be a way out for creation of unique and novel objects.
At present, 3D printers of the above type cost around $25000. They are still to capture the domestic market. They are instead being used by the industry for developing parts for machines like aircraft engines, hearing aids, and spaceships.
Plummeting Prices: Adrian Bowyer has strongly believed the prices of self-replicating 3D printers to lower to around $500, as no cost other than that of raw materials would be involved. He has further stated that these machines would turn out to be more competent and build up new capabilities. Once the soft ware guiding the process of self-replication becomes available, it would be there at the free service of the customers. This has also been said by Adrian Bowyer.
Tepid Metal: Circuits are normally built by 3D printers by carrying out the fusion of powdered metal and laser. However, the self-replicating 3D printers are aimed at use of metallic alloy of cadmium, tin, lead, and bismuth that have a low-melting point and squirting them to have the circuits formed from a syringe that is thoroughly heated. It's not compulsory for the machine to be capable to assemble itself. Just production of all those parts that are very necessary excluding the lubricating grease and microprocessors is required.
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