The advent of 3D printers has revolutionized the manufacturing industry. A form of additive manufacturing, it allows manufacturing companies to quickly build objects of nearly all shapes and sizes with the help of a material-depositing machine known as a 3D printer. While you’ve probably heard of 3D printing before, you can’t believe everything you read about it. Below are five common myths about 3D printing.
#1) It’s a Modern Manufacturing Process
While 3D printing has gained momentum over the past 10 years, it’s actually been around for much longer. The concept was first proposed by British chemist David Jones in the mid-1970s. Just a few years later, several 3D printing systems were developed, thus paving the way for modern-day 3D printing. Of course, 3D printing became popular during the 1990s, but it was around well before that time.
#2) All 3D Printers Deposit Material
Most 3D printers do, in fact, work by depositing material. As the printer head moves — an action that’s dictated by the CAD file — it deposits material to build the object. There are other types of 3D printers, however, that work by sintering powder. Known as selective laser sintering (SLS), they use a laser to sinter powder. The printer head doesn’t deposit material. Rather, it runs across a bed of powder while exposing the powder to laser light. Exposure to laser light causes the powder to bind together, thus forming the desired object.
#3) 3D Printers Are Expensive
Certain types of 3D printers can be expensive, including the aforementioned SLS 3D printers, but this doesn’t apply to all of them. On the contrary, the average price of fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers has decreased dramatically in recent years. They are now available for as little as $200, with some of the low-tier models costing even less. So, while 3D printers may seem expensive, there are plenty of budget-friendly models available.
#4) The Printing Speed Is Fixed
Most 3D printers don’t use a fixed printing speed. Rather, they offer an adjustable speed that you can control. As mentioned in a previous blog post, 3D printing speed is a measurement of how much material a 3D printer can deposit or use in a given period. By increasing the speed, the 3D printer will deposit more material, resulting in faster build times.
#5) 3D Printers Can Only Deposit a Single Material at Any Given Time
There are certain types of 3D printers that can deposit two or more materials simultaneously. Known as multi-material 3D printers, they allow for more complex shapes and designs than their single-material counterparts. Multi-material 3D printers live up to their namesake by supporting the use of multiple materials. As a result, they are more versatile than single-material 3D printers.