3D printing or additive manufacturing is any of various processes of making a three – dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source primarily through additive processes in which successive layers of material are laid down under computer control. A 3D printer is a type of industrial robot.
Additive Manufacturing technologies found applications starting in the 1980s in product development, data visualization, rapid prototyping, and specialized manufacturing. Their
expansion into production (job production, mass production, and distributed anufacturing) has been under development in the decades since.
A large number of additive processes are now available. They differ in the way layers are deposited to create parts and in the materials that can be used.
- Some methods melt or soften material to produce the layers, e.g. selective laser melting (SLM).
- Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), the technology fuses metal powder into a solid part by melting it locally using the focused laser beam.
- Selective laser sintering (SLS), uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material (typically metal), aiming the laser automatically at points in space
- Fused deposition modelling (FDM), laying down material in layers; a plastic filament or metal wire is unwound from a coil and supplies material to produce a part.
- Stereolithography (SLA) also known as optical fabrication, photo – solidification, solid free – form fabrication and solid imaging) producing models, prototypes,
- patterns, and production parts up one layer at a time by curing a photo-reactive resin with a UV laser or another similar power source.
- Laminated object manufacturing (LOM), layers of adhesive-coated paper, plastic, or metal laminates are successively glued together and cut to shape with a knife or laser cutter.
- Each method has its own advantages and drawbacks, and some companies consequently offer a choice between powder and polymer for the material from which the object is built.
PLASTO is based on the FDM – Fused Deposition Modelling where the filament is fused thro heated extruders to form a layer of thickness as low as 0.05mm (50μ).