3D-printer – what is it and how does this miracle of technology?

The future dreamed of by our ancestors has already arrived. However, we do not notice it, but it will not go away. Imagine the situation: your favorite mug broke and in the shop already and there in the near future is not expected. It would seem a trifle, not worth paying attention to. However, if you have a 3D printer, then by simple manipulation, you can easily create an exact copy of the crashed object. Nothing fantastic there, as three-dimensional printing has long and loudly at the doors of our homes.

What is a 3D printer

A 3D printer is a device for layer-by-layer to create three-dimensional objects based on digital three-dimensional model. As source files are typically used several types of plastic, although in recent times start to appear and other materials. Desktop 3D printer looks like a small drawer with metal runners, which moves the work item to the printer: the extruder or laser. Typically, these printers are used to create different prototypes, molds and complex parts which in the usual way to make impossible or extremely difficult.

Printing technology

For the first time about three-dimensional printing began in the 80-ies of the last century. Just then came the technology of stereolithography, using to create objects a special photopolymer plastic. Briefly, its essence is as follows: under the action of laser in the photopolymer hardens, turning into a solid plastic. Thus, the laser beam pixel by pixel, literally “draws” the future object, creating it from a liquid substance.

Another technology that uses the laser called “laser sintering”. It as a working material is a fusible plastic powder, which is heated by the laser to melting point and thus sintered into the mainstream. So that the material is not burned and not oxidized, into the working chamber added inert gas is nitrogen.

Both technologies are commonly used in industrial installations sizes, while inkjet printing is perfectly suited to small home models. Inkjet 3D printer is a device which as a working element uses a special head-extruder that heats plastic filament to melting temperature. Gradually melted plastic is extruded through a nozzle, after which solidifies at room temperature. This technology is completely safe and relatively inexpensive (kg of plastic costs around 50-60 dollars), and it is popular in the Amateur environment.

What can 3D printers?

Today already created several models of 3D printers that can print objects with a precision of 100 microns. Such printers can create quite complex three-dimensional objects, ranging from toys and ending with architectural models. In the scientific activities of these printers allow you to not just look at the prototype, but to touch his hands. In the jewelry industry 3D printers are actively used for the creation of molds, and in archaeology to reconstruct the original form of the fragments found.

Many scientists and futurologists predict that the 3D printing technology will fundamentally change our lives. Now attempts to create a “food printer” that can print real food from base ingredients: proteins, carbohydrates, etc. Even more amazing looks, the ability to print human organs. No fiction in this – scientists today are able to print the intervertebral discs from stem cells.

In General, progress does not stand still and it looks like our kids will ask us about what 3d printers are, more often than we asked their parents about where babies come from. Well, on the trips to the store for all sorts of household items you can forget now – on sites Cubify.com and Thingiverse.com you can easily find a digital model all you need ranging from wrenches and ending by the nuts, so the phrase “download free mug” is not so crazy as it was a couple of years ago.

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