3D printing or additive manufacturing (AM), also called incremental production technology, is the process of creating three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file (Additive Manufacturing File – AMF). In additive processes, an object is created by laying continuous layers of material until the entire project is completed. Each of these layers can be considered as a narrowly cut horizontal section of a given object.
When to use 3D printing:
- low repeatability of components (up to approx. 5000 pcs / year) depending on the shape,
- “prototyping” – verification of shape, shape functionality,
- More advantageous for joining several components into one unit,
- complexity – the component is so complex that it cannot be produced otherwise,
- shortening the supply chain.
When not to use 3D printing:
- slow production with a larger number of pieces,
- difficult to operate – the need for qualified professionals,
- accuracy – for some industries, less accurate production in terms of tolerances and deformations.
The properties of the components depend on the material and the available technology.
Design prototyping, functional components, function verification, marketing components, works of art, products for education and hobbies.
Thermoplastics – PP, PE, PLA, ABS, PS, HIPS, PVC, PA 12, PA11, PA06, TPU, TPE, PETG, PC, PPE, PEEK, PEI.
Thermosets – prototype, technical and flexible resins.
Composites – PA06 + continuous carbon, glass, or Kevlar fibers.
Metal materials – 316L stainless steel, AlSi10Mg aluminum alloy, Titanium Ti64 grade 23, Inconel 718 alloy, Tool steel.