How 3D Printing Works
The process of 3D printing seems daunting at first but it’s actually a very easy technology to work with. Engineers help companies create a virtual product design using special computer software designed specifically for 3D printing jobs. If you have an existing product in hand, the sample can be copied using a 3D scanner that creates the necessary computer files. A more complex process involves the creation of a virtual prototype of the product using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.
Once a digital file of the design is built, the computer program slices the image it produces into hundreds of tiny layers. One popular technology involves using Those slices which are fed to a 3D printer for physical reassembly using liquid plastic instead of traditional printer ink. The result is a perfect reproduction that can be analyzed, assessed, manipulated, and tweaked until it’s just right. Another even more popular technology involves building the design by extruding plastic from a nozzle much like how a hot glue gun works.
“There’s always a need to hold [a prototype] in your hand or to use it, to see if it performs and does what you expect,” says Mark Jackson, owner of Blue Dolphin Design and Engineering. Have a look at 3D printing in action: