Additive Manufacturing: Stereolithography and Selective Laser Sintering

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  • Topic: Selective laser sintering, Solid freeform fabrication, Rapid prototyping
  • Pages : 6 (1720 words )
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  • Published : April 30, 2013
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(Stereolithography & Selective Laser Sintering)

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling which are subtractive processes. The technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing in jewelry, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many other fields. The process is also known as Layered Manufacturing and Rapid Prototyping.

The term additive manufacturing refers to technologies that create objects through a sequential layering process. Objects that are manufactured additively can be used anywhere throughout the product life cycle, from pre-production (i.e. rapid prototyping) to full-scale production (i.e. rapid manufacturing), in addition to tooling applications and post-production customization. In manufacturing, and machining in particular, subtractive methods are typically coined as traditional methods. The very term subtractive manufacturing is a retronym developed in recent years to distinguish it from newer additive manufacturing techniques. Although fabrication has included methods that are essentially "additive" for centuries (such as joining plates, sheets, forgings, and rolled work via riveting, screwing, forge welding, or newer kinds of welding), it did not include the information technology component of model-based definition. Machining (generating exact shapes with high precision) has typically been subtractive, from filing and turning to milling and grinding.

General Principle
Additive manufacturing takes virtual blueprints from computer aided design (CAD) or animation modeling software and "slices" them into digital cross-sections for the machine to successively use as a guideline for printing. Depending on the machine used, material or a binding material is deposited on the build bed or platform until material/binder layering is complete and the final 3D model has been "printed. A standard data interface between CAD software and the machines is the STL file format. An STL file approximates the shape of a part or assembly using triangular facets. Smaller facets produce a higher quality surface. STL files describe only the surface geometry of a 3D object without any representation of color, texture or other common CAD model attributes and the file format is supported by many software packages. 3D model slicing

3D model slicing
To perform a print, the machine reads the design from the STL file and lays down successive layers of liquid, powder, paper or sheet material to build the model from a series of cross sections. These layers, which correspond to the virtual cross sections from the CAD model, are joined together or automatically fused to create the final shape.

Various Additive Processes
Several different 3D printing processes have been invented since the late 1970s. The printers were originally large, expensive, and highly limited in what they could produce. A 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 sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM), while others cure liquid materials using different sophisticated technologies, e.g. Stereolithography (SLA). Type| Technologies| Materials|

Extrusion| Fused deposition modeling (FDM)| Thermoplastics, HDPE, eutectic metals, edible materials| Wire| Electron Beam...
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