Since science and technology have made very impressive progress through a number of wonderful inventions in all fields of the world, while talking about the advancement of technology, it’ll be unfair to ignore the fantastic invention of technology in the form of 3D printers.
We are actually surprised by witnessing the brilliant performance of 3D printers in a way they efficiently model the 3D objects. No doubt, a 3D printer is a futuristic technology with its unbelievable features. Further, the collaboration of laser technology with 3D printers has further enhanced this technology.
So, in this article, we will try to elaborate both these term, and the major differences between them.
The 3D printer is a technological device that first models the design of a 3D object on the computer system and then prints the exact copy of that modeled 3D object. This printer works on an additive process where the desired object is built by adding layers of raw material to one another.
Here the edges of the object are carefully refined without any other finishing process. As the 3D object is made by the addition of layers of raw material rather than through carving of raw material, so this process doesn’t allow any material wastage.
How does a 3D printer work?
As mentioned above that 3D printers’ work is mainly based on the layer additive process. So by this process, the 3D printer prints 3D objects via layer by layer formation. For example, when a 3D printer is processed to print a 3D cube, then the 3D printer lays down a square-shaped layer over another Square shaped layer, and it continues this laying down until the desired 3D object is constructed. As ordinary 2D printers rely on ink, similarly, a 3D printer needs special plastic polymer to print objects. For bringing raw material into the desired 3D shape, the raw material is first melted down.
- It employs a simple manufacturing process. Before 3D printers, several complex processes were needed to form a 3D object from raw material, and every process needed a separate machine. The 3D printers made it simple. Now we can model a complicated 3D object in a single and simple step rather than any complex process through the 3D printing process.
- Can build multiple 3D objects at a time. Under proper commands, a 3D printer can build different 3D objects with different shapes in a single turn alternatively without any mechanical problem. While before 3D printers, different manufacturing processes were needed to form different objects at different times.
- No raw material wastage. 3d printers work on additive process rather than a subtractive process. In the additive process, a 3D object is made by layer after layer formation. So here only needed amount of layers is utilized, and in that way, it prevents wastage of raw material. While in the subtractive process, the carving of raw material brings a significant wastage.
Laser 3D Printers
On one side, the laser technology is progressing day by day, while on the other side, it collaborates with a 3D printer to bring a wonderful device called Laser 3D printer. Laser 3D Printer is mainly based on the subtractive process of printing. In this process, the raw material is carved through the help of a laser to turn into the desired 3D object. So here the raw material like wood, fabrics, metal, or any acrylic material can be carved into a 3D shape.
The Laser 3D printer employs two techniques to produce an object. One is cutting to cut any material into 3D objects other is an engraving that is mostly used for printing jewelry items, custom visiting cards, and others.
Besides cutting and engraving, it also uses some other processes like Selective laser sintering (SLS), Stereo lithography (SLA), etc.
Selective laser sintering (SLS)
In Selective laser sintering, the fine polymer powder is used. Here through the use of laser, the particles of powder are fused together to form a 3D object. The print process is like it begins with depositing powder to the first layer and solidifies its coating, then it does the same for the second layer. In this way, it continues the solidifying layer until the object is formed. While in the end, the extra and unused powder is removed through a brush.
In Stereolithography or SLA, a laser is used to turn photosensitive resin into a solid. Here beside a laser, a resin tank, a build platform, and an elevator are used to complete this process. Here through the photo polymerization process, the photosensitive resin is cured into one layer at a time, and then it solidifies then in the same way another layer is created. This process of layer formation is repeats until the whole object is formed.
Laser 3D Printers vs. 3D Printers.
Although both terms, 3D laser printer and 3D printer seems similar, yet there is a great deal of difference between them.
- Both perform a common function of printing but in different ways and result in different quality of production due to differences in technology.
- Laser 3rd printer employs the subtractive process of carving raw material through a laser to create a 3D object while a 3D printer employs the additive process of layer over layer format (of raw material) to create a 3D object.
- Laser 3rd printer uses a subtractive process, so it makes raw material wastage by the laser cutting process while the additive process of the 3D printer makes no raw material wastage.
- Laser 3D printer needs post-processing steps like welding to finish the edges of parts. While the 3D printer needs no post-finishing process, rather it refines the edges of the object in a single step.
- The Laser 3D printer utilizes raw material like wood, fabrics, metal, or any acrylic material to build a 3D object. But 3D printer mostly uses plastic polymer to form a 3D object.