A 3D printer is a computer-controlled machine that prints workpieces layer by layer. Such a 3D printer uses liquid and powder materials, which are liquefied and applied layer by layer, curing or sintering to form a three-dimensional workpiece. The materials used are polymers, ceramics, resins, metal powders, binders and hardeners.
3D printers are used in rapid prototyping, in medical technology for the production of organs and implants, in automotive technology and the aircraft industry, as well as in development and research facilities. Virtual 3D graphics or scans from 3D scanners serve as templates for 3Dprinting. Especially in the production of models and prototypes, there are decisive cost and time advantages because 3D printers can process various file formats for 3D models, eliminating the need for mold production.
Important components of 3D printers are the print bed or heating bed, on which the auxiliary and support structure with the print object is located. The print bed can be positioned in the Y axis. The printing material is a plastic strand called filament, which contains the metal powder or ceramic powder. The supporting structures - which include columns, stairs, frame constructs, walls and other stabilizing structural elements - are used to stabilize the print object. The filament is fed as a plastic strand to the print head, the extruder, where it is heated by a heating block and pressed out of the nozzle. The nozzle is located above the print object and can be positioned in the X and Z axes.
3D printers can be built in completely different ways. They can work like 2D printers and print successively layer by layer, but they can also work with rotating print heads that circle around the workpiece to be created. The finished workpieces no longer need to be reworked, eliminating labor time for drilling, grinding or cutting.