3D printing, or or additive manufacturing is the action or process of making three dimensional physical objects from a digital model. A genre of Digital Fabrication. Typically laying down many thin layers of a material in succession with a lower cost FDM printer. Digital models can be created with a verity of software running on Apple, Linux, Windows or cloud based systems. The model geometry is exported as a volumetric file type such as a STL file. The 3D model data file then must be "sliced" into each layer that will be printed. Each layer holds the cartesian motion data for a specific 3D printer. Most printers are three axis (X, Y, Z) machines. Similar to a CNC Milling machine. A tool path is required for the for each of the layers for the printer to create the shape one layer at a time created with a verity of slicing programs.
We are not a print bureau but rather use this process in product prototyping contracts. If you just need something printed in the Charlottesville VA area please reach out to http://opensourcerecycling.org as they have a 3D Print Club.
Types pf 3D Printers
- Fused deposition modeling (FDM - Most popular with plastic spool)
- Digital Light Processing(DLP)
- Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Selective laser melting (SLM)
- Laminated object manufacturing (LOM)