Additive manufacturing or generative manufacturing processes or English: additive manufacturing (AM) is a general term for all processes that offer a cost-effective and quick way to manufacture prototypes and models, but also end products. The term is usually used as a synonym for 3D printing, but the term additive manufacturing makes it even easier to understand that this is a professional process. In additive manufacturing, the component is manufactured by adding the material in layers. Additive manufacturing is a professional production process that is the opposite of conventional abrasive manufacturing methods. In the case of ablative manufacturing methods, for example, the model is carved out of a solid block of material by milling. In additive manufacturing, on the other hand, the model is built up layer by layer from the materials. Materials can be, for example, different metals, plastics or composites. Additive manufacturing is often used in the context of rapid prototyping, i.e. in the production of prototypes in industry.
Conventional manufacturing, such as milling, drilling or turning, often reaches its limits. Some constructions cannot be implemented at all using conventional technologies. Additive manufacturing enables a “design driven manufacturing process”. This means that the construction is no longer determined by the manufacturing method, but vice versa. With the help of additive manufacturing, very complex models can also be manufactured, which are nevertheless extremely stable.
- Tool-free production - no tools are required in the production of components, which means that the one-off costs are almost non-existent.
- Comprehensive design freedom - even complex models can be produced
- Flexibility - production on site and as required
- Scalability - series or one-off production
- Reduce product development and time to market
- Possibility of ongoing adjustments even in the ongoing series production
- Manufacture of products on a microscopic scale (e.g. in medical or electrical engineering)
- High quality and economy
- Saving resources
- Geographically independent (no large production sites and large tools are required)
- Customization of products - Products can be adapted to the customer without additional costs
The basis for additive manufacturing is a CAD file (Computer Aided Design) with digital construction data. Areas of application in 3D printing are very different. The following is a brief overview of the most important areas:
- Prototype construction
- Serial production
- Educational institutions
- Tool and fixture construction
- mechanical engineering
3D printer EL-102
Enables the simultaneous printing of several components and the processing of large amounts of material up to a size of 500 x 400 x 510 mm (W x D x H).
3D printer EL-28
Allows the creation of components up to 340 x 240 x 350 mm (W x D x H) with extremely low operating costs and an open system for filaments.
The principle of additive manufacturing is a step-by-step structure in which the material is applied layer by layer. The structure is different depending on which process was chosen and which materials are used.
Fused Filament Fabrication
In Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) or also called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), e.g. Plastic (especially ABS or PLA) printed. The added material is melted by a heated extruder and applied to a heated print bed. The workpiece is manufactured line by line and layer by layer, with the next layer only being applied when the previous layer has solidified. This process has the largest possible range of processable materials. The EVO-lizer 3D printer also uses the FFF process for 3D printing. The following video explains the melt layering process using the EVO-tech 3D printer.
Different materials are suitable for 3D printing with powder. Plastic or plaster of paris is primarily used for printing, but glass, ceramic or other powdery materials are also suitable. Similar to a conventional inkjet printer, a 3D printer also works with print heads. These are used to apply liquid glue in small quantities to a powder layer. The powdery substances harden and glue the layers of the piece together. This is how the model is created layer by layer.
With selective laser melting, the material is not connected by a binder, but rather fused with the help of a high-power laser. This process can also be used to manufacture metal workpieces.
This process is comparable to selective laser melting, where an electron beam is used as the energy source instead of the laser.
In this manufacturing process, the models are built in a basin filled with liquid photopolymer. A laser projects the layers of the model onto the surface. The liquid photopolymer solidifies after a certain exposure time, forms the first layer and bonds to the print bed below. Then the print bed is pulled down and the next layer is built up.
The functionality corresponds to that of stereolithography, but a DLP projector is used as the light source.
MJM is a hybrid of stereolithography and conventional 2D printing. A liquid plastic is applied to a platform and immediately cured with a light source integrated in the push button. This procedure is very detailed.
FTI works similarly to the MJM process. A transport film is used here: it is used to apply the liquid plastic.
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