SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Apr2018

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72 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2018 Article by Zohair Mehkri, David Geiger, Anwar Mohammed, and Murad Kurwa FLEX Contrary to popular belief, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are not the same thing; however, they can be used interchange- ably for the sake of ease. According to ASTM F2792-12a "Standard Terminologies for Addi- tive Manufacturing Technologies," 3D printing is "the fabrication of objects through the depo- sition of a material using a print head, nozzle, or other printer technology." The process starts with a 3D model draw- ing that is done on any standard CAD soft- ware. This 3D model file is then converted into a stereolithography file format by either the native program or a third-party file converter. Some printers have this file conversion capa- bility as part of their software suite for their printers. The file is then converted into GCode or a language that the printer can understand, essentially creating the file into cross sectional slices of the part. This step is commonly known as "slicing." Once the slicing of the drawing has been done the printer is ready to start the print. For nearly all 3D printers, the above process is the same, with the printing process itself being the main differentiator. In a fused fila- ment fabrication printer, once the 3D drawing is sliced, the printer can begin printing. The main components of the printer are, the print bed, the extruder, the hot-end, and the mate- rial. Material for this technology usually comes in a wire form on a spool. This wire filament is fed into the extruder, the extruder uses torque and pinch to control the speed of the filament being fed into the hot-end. Once the filament is in the hot-end, it is melted using heat. The melted material is forced out of the hot- end by the extruder that is pushing in more material from the top. The hot-end, usually made of aluminum, deposits the melted mate- rial onto the build plate in a designated pattern as dictated by the software. As the material is being deposited by the hot-end, the build plate is moving in a X-, Y- or Z-axis depending on the part requirements of what is being printed. In some printers the build plate will stay station-

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