3D Printing with Polymers: All You Need to Know in 2022
As major chemical companies are now joining the 3D printing world and industry mainstays are further advancing the capabilities of the technology, polymer 3D printing is given a tremendous boost. Get more news about 3d Polymer Printer,you can vist our website!
To keep up to the latest developments, below we’ll be diving into the most exciting innovations in polymer 3D printing and opportunities offered by the technology. But first, let’s explore the common polymer 3D printing techniques used across industries.Polymer 3D printers dominate the 3D printing hardware arena. They lead on all fronts: shipment revenues, the installed base, and the number of developments happening in this space.
Polymer 3D printing was predicted to have generated $11.7 billion in revenues in 2020, a figure that includes sales of hardware, materials and 3D-printed parts combined. The emergence of Stereolithography (SLA) in the 1980s marked the beginning of the 3D printing era. SLA is an ideal technology for producing great looking parts with an excellent surface finish. Due to its accuracy and high resolution, SLA parts are mostly used for form and fit concept models or as master patterns for moulding applications.
SLA relies on liquid photocurable resins. These are selectively cured by a UV laser layer by layer, causing the resin to solidify.
While SLA parts offer a great surface finish, they tend to be less durable than parts produced with other additive technologies. Also, since SLA materials are sensitive to UV light, their mechanical properties can change due to overexposure to sunlight, thus making them unsuitable for outdoor use.
SLA photopolymers come in a variety of colour options as well as several speciality materials (castable, durable, high-temperature, medical-grade).
The choice of materials for SLA is constantly expanding. Over the last 12 months, we’ve heard multiple announcements about new 3D printing resins from the likes of Formlabs, Henkel, Zortrax, DSM, and many more.
What can be distilled from the recent news is that 3D printing resin development has reached a new level: companies are extremely focused on advanced applications, particularly in the medical, dental and engineering fields. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), as known as fused filament fabrication (FFF), is one of the most popular 3D printing methods for industrial uses. According to a market research firm, CONTEXT, the largest revenues from shipments came from this category of machines in 2020, reaching almost $150 million.
FDM became commercially available in the 1990s, serving as an affordable and user-friendly prototyping technology. Since then, FDM has evolved to offer greater reliability, accuracy and material choice, making it suitable for a number of production applications such as manufacturing aids. FDM uses thermoplastic filaments that are extruded through a nozzle onto the printing platform one layer at a time. One of the main limitations of FDM parts is anisotropy, meaning that their mechanical properties are not equal in all spatial dimensions. This can result in weaker parts.
Furthermore, FDM has a slower printing speed compared to other 3D technologies like SLS or SLA, making it generally impractical for series production.
Today, manufacturers have a variety of FDM filaments at their disposal, from elastic TPU to durable and reinforced ABS and high-performance materials like PEEK. With the availability of production-grade thermoplastics, FDM is ideal for producing functional, durable products.