What Materials Were Originally Used to Make 3D Printers?

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Smartphones, internet, fidget spinner, or 3D printers, every trend became popular at a particular time. 3D printer inventions date way back; however, it has become popular recently. The first 3D printer was developed in 1984 by Chuck Hull.

3D printers build items from scratch with the use of a 3D scanner file or CAD using different types of materials. The material in which a 3D printer uses vary from plastic to metal to human body cell as well as foodstuffs such as chocolate. However, this highly depends on the printing technique. In this article, we shall be covering what materials were initially used to make 3D printers.

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The material used in 3D printing

1. Acrylic

Stereolithography was the first 3D printing process. It operated using Acrylic-based material referred to as a photopolymer. Chuck Hull copyrighted the term Stereolithography after three French investors abandoned the process.

In 1984, Chuck used a beam of ultraviolet light in stretching out the shape of an object in a vat of photopolymer liquid. The light hardened every layer on the surface, and the platform would go down for the next layer to harden

2. Biodegradable

Also known as bioFila is a unique 3D printer filament. In 1999, scientists used biodegradable materials in constructing the first 3D printed organ, which is implantable in human beings. Furthermore, Wake Forest Institute scientists were able to print a synthetic scaffold of the human bladder, which was then coated with a human patient cell.

Biodegradable 3D materials are perfect for the production of items that are of high quality.

3. Graphite and Graphene

Due to its conductivity and strength, graphite became the best choice in 3D printing. The material is perfect for developing highly flexible parts. Graphene was often used in developing building parts and solar panels. A Graphene proponent is the most flexible in most of 3D applicable materials.

Despite being used in 3D printing for long, graphene gained popularity after a partnership between an Australian company Kibaran Resources and 3D Group. Graphene was first used in 3D printing in 2004, and it one of the most electrically conductive materials in 3D printing. The material is light in weight and very strong at the same time. These features make it perfect for creating an array of products.

4. Paper

Paper has been used in 3D printing for long. Designs were printed on paper using 3D technology in order to achieve a realistic prototype, unlike on a fat illustration. When it comes to designing a proposal, a 3D model offers an excellent presentation for the convoying essence of the model with accuracy and in detail. This makes the paper a perfect material for the presentation since it gives a more vivid sense of whether the product should be abandoned or taken into fruition.

5. Nitinol

Nitinol was used in 3D printing for medical implants, and it has become one of the common materials used in the medical field. In 3D printing, Nitinol is valued due to its super-elasticity ability. The material is a mixture of nickel and titanium.

Nitinol is capable of bending into an extensive degree without breaking. You can restore Nitinol into its original form even when you fold it into half. Due to that, Nitinol is among the strongest and flexible 3D printing material. This product is perfect for the production of medical products. So far, Nitinol has accomplished aspects that were impossible to achieve.

6. Plastic

This is one of the oldest and most commonly used 3D printer filaments. Plastic is perfect for creating an array of products, from toys to household equipment. Due to their lightweight and easy to mold nature, plastic has become one of the common 3D printer filaments in the market. Furthermore, plastic is affordable and features an array of colors, which makes it perfect for creating toys.

Nowadays, plastic use in 3D printing has developed to become biodegradable, making it safe for the environment.

7. Carbon fiber

When 3D printing rose to fame, carbon fiber was among the first commonly used material. Carbon fiber filaments are perfect for coating plastic materials and increase their strength. Plastic and carbon fiber combination has grown in popularity among 3D printing industries due to their incredible strength. Due to that, carbon fiber can be used as an alternative to metal.

The different 3D printing technology used often in the past

1. Stereolithography

This was the first 3D printing process in history, and it is also known as SLA. Despite being the oldest, the process is still running to date. Just like before, most of the printing techniques use CAD files in processing objects, which is printed based on the printing machine understanding.

2. Digital light processing

Also known as DLP, it was first invented in 1987 by Larry Hornbeck from Texas. This 3D printing technology is similar to Stereolithography. Furthermore, it is popular in projectors, cell phones, and 3D printing productions.

DLP operates using digital micromirrors that are on a semiconductor chip. Despite that SLA and DLP runs on photopolymers, they have different light sources. DLP operates more on conventional sources, such as arc lamps.

3. Fused deposition modeling

Fused deposition modeling or FDM is the standard 3D printing technology. With this technology, you will be able to print concept models as well as final end-use models using an engineering-grade thermoplastic.

You should note that FDM is the only 3D printing technology that creates models using production-grade thermoplastic. This process produces excellent mechanical, chemical, and thermal quality products making appealing and useful to engineers as well as manufacturers.

4. Selective Laser Sintering

Selective Laser Sintering or SLS is a 3D technology that uses a laser as the primary power source in creating 3D models. SLS was invented by Carl Deckard, a Texas University student, and Joe Beaman, who was his professor in the year 1980.

SLS operates similarly to SLA; however, they differ in terms of material used. The powder is the primary material in SLS, while the liquid resin is the standard material is SLA. Furthermore, SLS does not feature a support structure since the 3D item printed is surrounded by powder.

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3D printing technology has developed rapidly. You should note that the different models of 3D printers highly depend on the technology used. Nowadays, the 3D printer is more advanced and clever when compared to the previous models.

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