Welcome to the Third Dimension Part 2: An overview of 3D printing

Digital Initiatives: A Chronicle

After that last post, I feel as though a brief description of 3D printing is necessary: 3D printers print using polymer plastics, resins, ceramic composites and metals through two different processes: the more advanced models use selective laser sintering (SLS) in which lasers pass through the powdered material, fusing the particles together in the form of your design, the less advanced models use the process of molten deposition printing (MDP) in which spools of plastic filament are threaded through heated extruder heads, melted and deposited on a mobile heated platform in increasing layers to build your design. CPL’s Makerbot is a MDP model printer. Digital 3D blueprints for objects-to-be-printed are designed in free CAD (computer assisted design) programs such as Google SketchUp, the design is then converted by a slicing program (software which is provided with the printer at purchase) into a format readable by the printer, the file saved to an SD…

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