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How Bridges Are Used in 3D Printing

  • August 12, 2020

Bridges are often used in 3D printing applications. Like traditional bridges, that are used to connect two areas on a 3D printed object. Depending on the type of object being built, it may have multiple raises areas. Manufacturing companies use bridges to stabilize these raised areas so that they don’t buckle or otherwise collapse. For a better understanding of bridges and how they are used in 3D printing applications, keep reading.

What Is a Bridge?

A bridge is a section of material that connects two or more raised areas of a 3D printed object. It’s called a “bridge” because it features a similar appearance as the bridges on which we drive. The 3D printer adds material between the raised areas, resulting in the formation of a bridge that’s raised above the underlying deposited material.

Not all printed objects consist of a single and solid piece of material. Many of them contain raised areas. If a 3D printed has multiple raised areas, a bridge may be used to join them. The bridge runs from one raised point to another raised point.

How Bridging Works

Bridging works by joining the raised areas of a 3D printed object together. With that said, they are created differently than the other parts of a 3D printed object. Since bridges are raised, they must be quickly cooled so that they harden. If the bridge’s material remains hot for an extended period, it may collapse, in which case the entire printed object could be damaged or destroyed.

To build a bridge, the 3D printer must deposit and then quickly cool the material. The 3D printer can’t use the same settings to build as a bridge as the rest of the object. Rather, it must use different settings to ensure that the bridge’s material is quickly cooled.

Bridge-Building Settings

Most 3D printers have a native feature for bridging. When enabled, this setting allows the 3D printer to deposit, as well as cool, material out of its nozzle. It uses a lower temperature than the default setting. In turn, the bridge can cool and harden more quickly.

While 3D printers must quickly cool the bridge’s material to stabilize it, they typically need to deposit the material slowly. When building a bridge, the 3D printer will extrude material out of its nozzle slowly. After one section of the bridge has cooled and hardened, the 3D printer will move on to the next section.

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