3D printing is described as a process that is intended to get a three-dimensional solid object as an end product by joining layers of materials. The equipment that is used for 3D printing is called 3D printer. 3D printing materials are extensively used for the production and development of superior custom polymers and compounded products. This technological advancement is driving the 3D printing industries and is leading them ahead with a better solution.
Plastics (Polymers), ceramics, metals, are the present used 3D printing plastics. Among them, plastics are the regularly used printing materials and are anticipated to continue as the majorly demanded material. This demand is because of the significant applications completed by the plastics in consumer goods and industries. The 3D printing methods now available are essential for designing prototypes and end-use production in various types of plastics.
Top Key Players Mentioned in the 3D Printing Plastics:
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polylactic Acid (PLA), Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK), Nylon or Polyamide, Polyethylene Terephthalate Modified Glycol (PETG), and Poly Carbonate (PC) are some of the 3D printing plastics that are popularly used in the end-user industries. Polylactic Acid PLA is the most commonly used 3D printing plastics globally. It is the suggested 3D printing plastics material used for a maximum number of the desktop 3D printers. PLA is recognized as the simplest 3D printing material to work with and is one of the eco-friendly 3D printing materials possible and require less energy to process and temperature. PLA processing is safer to use and provide a shinier and smooth appearance. PLA can deliver an excellent level of print and is less likely to warping. Though, when printed with PLA, the output is prone to jamming the printer nozzle due to its sticky nature. PLA can be utilized in the resin form for DLP or SL processes and the filament form in the FDM process.
Technologies Used In 3D Printing Plastic:
Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the accessible technology used for 3D printing in plastic. The basic principle applied in this technology is to place a layer over the layer of plastic until the final 3D output is achieved. To reduce the time of printing and for lesser consumption of material, the outer walls of the object are only printed in full strength. The inner part of the purpose is made up of a honeycomb-like structure, which is called infill.
Stereolithography 3D printing technology operates by solidification of layer after layer of liquid resin. On exposure to the laser, the photopolymer hardens and links to the earlier segment. Unlike FDM, in this technology, the complete model is made up of full strength material. With SLA technology casting wax and models, flexible and transparent plastics, are printed in 3D with very high precision, smooth surface and more exceptional surface quality.
PloyJet technology offers 3D prints by swiftly spraying and curing liquid photopolymer in a layer above the layer method. In this method, the resin is utilized using an inkjet printing head. Since it is a controlled method, printing can be done with multiple colors. For this method, there is no requirement to remove the support arrangement mechanically, as the support material does not get hard; instead, it can be blown away or washed easily.
Selective layer sintering (SLS) technology uses the material in the powder form as input and fuses particles with a layer over the layer. The whole method takes place in a heated pressure chamber. The most significant advantage of SLS technology is that the floating objects and overhangs do not require any support structures. With the help of SLS, a large number of models can be printed in one cycle, which reduces the overall printing time.
Future of 3D Printing Plastic:
Several companies are collaborating with research institutions to create 3D printing plastic naturally from cellulose and chitin, from recycled items, as well as 3D printable lignin that is made from trees, plants, and agricultural crops, which is then blended with other materials like carbon fiber to build composites. This indicates that there is a high potential for 3D printing to grow more environmentally sustainable.