ZPrinter 350 developed the latest 3D printing technology in 2009 that defined improved accessibility, speed, usability, efficiency, and affordability (Bogue, 2013). Materials and Processes 3D printing technology uses different types of materials depending on the required product. Some of the materials used in 3D printing include alloys, polymers, glass, metal, and plastic. Notably, 3D printing involves arranging the materials in different layers and designing different shapes to complete the additive process (Lipson & Kurman, 2013). In 3D printing, manufacturers use standard inkjet printing technology to develop layered parts by depositing a liquid binder onto thin layers of powder (Z Corporation, 2005).
Consequently, the print heads moves over powder and prints cross-sectional data sent from. stl, .wrl, .ply, and. sfx files through a feed piston and platform (Z Corporation, 2005). Indeed, 3D CAD software export 3D models as standard and printable file formats for 3D printing (Z Corporation, 2009). Evidently, the 3D printing process aims at transforming a digital model or design into a physical product of any geometrical dimensions. Using the standard and printable file formats for 3D printing, manufacturers launch ZPrint™ software in a PC that slices the 3D model file into various digital cross-sections, or layers (Z Corporation, 2009).
Consequently, the ZPrinter prints every layer and places the layers on one another to develop a unique product. A short drying cycle culminates the 3D printing process by drying the multi-layered products (Z Corporation, 2009). The joining of cross-sectional layers develops the final shape of the physical product (Lipson & Kurman, 2013). Ideally, the 3D printing technology enhances visualization, automation, and cost-effectiveness of 3D data or digital models. The process enhances the production of highly customized products and designs since manufacturers will only feed the ZPrint™ software with relevant 3D data (DAveni 2013).
As such, the manufacturer controls the 3D printing process and can initiate changes and incorporate creativity where necessary. Clearly, 3D printing defines an effective, flexible, and modern manufacturing process that applies in various industries. Examples of 3D Printing Applications Printed Car (Strati) The Strati depicts 3D printing innovation and the world’s first 3-D printed car (Kurczewski, 2014). Local Motors designs and builds the two-passenger car. The 3D printing innovation uses carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic material to manufacture the Strati.
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