4 Types of 3D Printers And How They Work

3D Printing has been the hot topic these few years, even young students have heard or knew about 3D printing. The range of 3D Printers is so wide and there are times we tend to struggle to tell and compare the difference between types of 3D printers in the market.

Let us share with you some of the 3D Printers and how they work.

1. Full Colour Printers

3D Systems’ family of ProJet® CJP x60 3D Printers include a wide range from educational settings to the most demanding commercial environments. ProJet® CJP 260Plus is the most affordable and compact full-color 3D printing. It creates photo-realistic parts in full CMY color with small feature details, suitable for concept modeling, simulation models and colour and text validation. The maximum build size is 236mm x 185mm x 127mm.

For a bigger build size of 254mm x 381mm x 203mm, you can consider ProJet® CJP 660Pro with 5x – 10x faster print speeds than all other technologies. It is fast, accurate, high resolution and uses eco-friendly, non-hazardous materials with zero liquid waste. The ProJet® CJP 660Pro incorporates professional

4-channel CMYK full-color 3D printing capability to produce stunningly beautiful, photo-realistic full spectrum models to better evaluate your design intent in the colors you had specified.

The ProJet® ColorJet™ Printing System is based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s patented 3DP® Technology (3D Printing). This 3D Printing process involves:

1. Importing a solid 3D modeling file into the 3DPrint Software

3DPrint Software will convert it into cross-sections, or layers, that are between 0.0035″ – 0.004″ (0.089 – 0.102 mm) thick.

2. Setting up your files to print in the 3DPrint Software

Before printing, 3DPrint evaluates the part geometry and checks if there are enough materials in the printer to print the number of layers required to build the part. If there are, the printer then prints each layer, one after the other, from the bottom of the part to the top. If not, 3DPrint will prompt you to add Core, binder, or change a print head before it will start the print job.

3. Printing the part

During printing, binder is first applied with a higher saturation to the edges of the part, creating a strong “shell” for the part exterior. In a colour printer, this shell will contain the colours. Next, an infrastructure that works like strong scaffolding is created for the part walls, which are also built with a higher saturation of binder for added strength. The remaining interior areas are printed with a lower binder saturation, which gives the part its stability.

4. Drying the part, emptying the build bed, and removal of excess PXL Core material

When the part is printed, the user empties the Build Bed of most of the excess Core material around and on the part by vacuuming with the integrated vacuum system. This “coarse cleaning” returns the Core to the Feeder for reuse. After coarse cleaning, the

part is ready to be removed from the printer and undergo “fine cleaning”. Fine cleaning consists of blowing off the remaining Core material using compressed air and brushing the part to loosen any Core that adheres. Fine cleaning is easily accomplished in the separate Core Recycling Unit, or in a printer equipped with a Post Processing Unit.

5. Cleaning and servicing the printer

As needed, vacuum your Cleaning Station inside and out. Remove the metal grate and vacuum any residual powder. Wipe the station as needed with a slightly dampened cloth (use distilled water) to remove dust and other debris. Allow the station to dry completely before using again.

6. Applying post-processing materials to the printed part (Optional)

2. Resin Printer

Minny from Nyomo is the smallest professional 3D Printer in the world with fast printing speed and incredible quality. Minny 3D Printer uses a UV LED Light source to selectively cure liquid resin. The 3D printing process is similar to Stereolithography (SLA).

Nyomo’s Minny resin 3D printer offers a colour touchscreen and a closed frame. It is compatible with more than 10 different resins, including medical-grade certified materials, allowing the user to create

different prototypes. It has a build size of 44mm x 28mm x 70mm suitable to be used in several applications including jewellery, dental crowns, audiology and small parts.

Nyomo’s proprietary software Unyk, available in two different versions: Unyk Professional and Unyk Express. Unyk software allows its users to 3D print parts that are both reliable and of high quality. For ease of use, several formats are available as output, including but not limited to STL, SLC, PLY, OBJ, PNG, and BMP.

The 3D Printing process involves:

1. Importing & setting up a solid 3D modeling file into the Unyk Software

Unyk offers unprecedented functionality that addresses everything users may need such as support structure creation, object repair, one-click print, and more than 70 other functionalities, allowing the user to print parts that are both reliable and of high quality.

2. Printing the part

During printing, the display panel at the 3D printer will indicate the number of layers needed and the time needed to complete the job. The print head will descend to the material and start printing.

3. Removing the printed model

After the printing is completed, remove the print head and put it in the “rest” position to drip away the excess material. Use a scraper to remove the model from the print head and place the model in a bowl of alcohol. Clean the print head and put back inside the printer. Rinse and clean away excess material on the model. Move the model into another bowl of clean alcohol then take it out and use the air blower to completely dry the part.

4. UV Curing the model

Place the model inside the curing unit

3. Wax & Plastic Printer

ProJet® MJP 2500 Plus from 3D Systems produces accurate, high detailed dental prostheses and orthodontic thermoforming models faster and at lower cost with enhanced quality. It is designed to combine professional grade 3D printing capabilities with affordable price with an office-friendly footprint and easy part processing.

MJP EasyClean System is an incredibly simple way to remove supports from MJP parts in under 30 minutes. The maximum build size is 295mm x 211mm x 142mm.

Under the ProJet® MJP 2500 Series, ProJet® MJP 2500 Plus is for Dental application and ProJet® MJP 2500 is for engineering plastics. It prints precision rigid and elastomeric parts with true-to-CAD accuracy, superior surface finishing and high quality edge fidelity for true functional testing. ProJet® MJP 2500 offers new engineering materials with great impact strength, durable polypropylene-like material with pliability and tough ABS-like clear performance plastic named VisiJet Armor (ABS), VisiJet ProFlex (PP-like) & VisiJet Rigid Gray.

Here are the steps for printing:

Once the printer is powered up, allow time for the printer to warm up and the materials in the MDM (Material Delivery Drawer) to heat up before accessing the drawer and inserting cartridges. If no cartridges are installed, or cartridges are installed but cold, it can take 20 minutes before the material delivery system is warm enough to insert or remove cartridges. The status screen will display the Material Drawer is locked until the cartridges are available for access.

1. Importing a solid 3D modeling file into the 3DPrint Software

2. Printing a Part

I. Selecting the printer

II. Selecting Material

III. Selecting Print Mode

IV. Selecting Build Style

V. Printing the File

VI. Sending Job to Print

3. Removing Part

I. After job is finished, remove the build plate with the parts attached from the printer.  Lift the entire platform out the printer.

II. Place the platform of parts in a freezer.  This will cool the parts and enables the parts to separate easily from the build plate.  This can take as little as a few minutes, but may take longer for some geometries.

4. Post Processing

I. Once parts have been removed from the build plate, the support material needs to be removed from the parts.  This can be done in a convection oven (like the ProJet® Finisher) or using the MJP EasyClean System.  These two heating systems serve similar purposes, but each has unique capabilities depending on customer needs.

II. The bulk wax is easily removed with a hands-free process.  Place the parts in the Oven or EasyClean Bulk Wax Chamber.  It is often advantageous to use a metal basket (accompanying EasyClean System) when processing the parts.

III. The parts must be placed over a drip tray that will collect the melted support as it comes off the parts.  This setup is included as part of the ProJet® EasyClean System.  Support collection trays must also be used with an oven setup.  The actual melt time will depend on the size of the part and how much support wax is present.  The ProJet® EasyClean System operates similar to a vegetable steamer and runs at 100°C.  The oven should be set to 65°C (149°F).  For best part quality, remove the parts as soon as the bulk wax material has melted off all the parts from either system.  For some parts, this can take 30 minutes or longer.  The ProJet®EasyClean System is much faster compared to the ProJet® Finisher Oven.

IV. Remove parts from oven and wipe off any remaining support material with a paper towel.  Alternatively, one can place the parts for a few minutes on an absorbent paper towel while heated in the oven or ProJet® EasyClean System.

V. The remaining support wax on the part is easily dissolved away with a hands-free process. The parts are placed directly in the mineral oil that is held at approximately 65°C (149°F).   Leave the parts in the liquid until the wax is removed. The ultrasonic action is very efficient in removing residual wax with no additional manual agitation required.

VI. Finally rinse parts with warm soapy water.  The best practice is to use a fresh tub of hot soapy water. It is acceptable to apply the soap directly on the part and use a light brush (such as a toothbrush) to clean the part.

4. FDM Printer

Moment 3D Printer is a desktop 3D Printer with high printing quality with accuracy from 2.5 to 11 micron and printing layer range from 0.02 to 0.3mm. Moment’s patented special nozzle, prevents clogging problems. The build size is 145mm x 145mm x 160mm and there are wide range of filament materials such as PLA, ABS, Flexible, Wood, etc.

This is how Moment 3D Printer works:

1. Importing the 3D model into Simplify 3D Software that comes with the printer. Define a process on how you would like the model to be constructed such as speed, size, support, material, quality levels, etc.

2. After finalising the process settings, click “Prepare to Print” to trigger the preparation of G-Code. When the G-Code has been created, the software window will transition automatically to Preview Mode. The animated Preview Mode in the Simplify 3D Software allows you to inspect all aspects of the print operation prior to execution. The software takes the generated G-Code and virtually displays line by line how the model will be constructed. Save the toolpaths to SD Card or you can direct printing over USB to the printer.

3. To print from SD card which most people find easier, you can insert the Moment SD card into the printer’s SD card reader. From the main menu, rotate the control dial to highlight the “Print” option and push the dial to select the option.

4. Rotate the control dial to highlight the Gcode that you want to print and push the dial to select. It will proceed to the confirmation menu and highlight the “Start” option, push the dial to confirm.

5. The printer will begin to warm up. When the bed and nozzle have heated to the correct temperature, the printer will start the printing process automatically.

6. Remove the model from the printer after the printing is completed.

There are more types of 3D Printing Technologies in the market for different industries and applications. These are only part of the 3D Printing Technologies; we hope this helps you to have a better understanding of the 3D Printers that suit your needs.

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