IT pro’s guide to 3D printing technologies (free PDF)

3D printing enables rapid prototyping of industrial parts without the costs of one-off prototype manufacturing, and it can be used to create production-quality parts on demand. It’s also becoming an economical solution for hobbyists and educators. This ebook looks at how companies are reaping the benefits of 3D printing, potential risks and hazards, and what you need to know before adopting the technology.

From the ebook:

3D printing is a revolutionary advancement in the way industries design and manufacture products. For decades, 3D printing has been used for industrial purposes, to quickly produce parts for rapid prototyping before employing traditional manufacturing techniques. Now, with the increased precision of 3D printers and a dramatic increase in the lifetime durability of 3D-printed parts, many industries are adopting 3D printing as a form of just-in-time manufacturing to reduce design complexity and warehousing costs and to simplify supply chains.

For hobbyists, 3D printing allows the custom creation of parts to meet the needs of their projects, such as a plastic housing for a circuit board. Websites like Thingiverse feature crowd-sourced designs for replacement car parts to 3D printed art.

What is 3D printing?
3D printing refers to a variety of additive manufacturing technologies first introduced in Japan in 1981. Different 3D printing technologies are used depending on the type of printer involved and the type of material being printed.

Extrusion printing, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM) or fused filament fabrication (FFF), is the most common approach, due in large part to the low cost of printing hardware and thermoplastic materials.

Photopolymer printers, which use a liquid resin cured by ultraviolet light, are increasingly affordable for small projects and hobbyists. Printers such as LittleRP and mUVe are attractive options, and they can use resin from third-party vendors such as MakerJuice at a reduced price. B9Creations is a high-precision photopolymer printer that is accurate to 30 micrometers, though the increased precision comes with a higher price.

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