3D Printing Modelling

Stampa 3D Modellismo

Modelling with 3D printers

Today, a new concept of art is becoming increasingly popular, and this is possible thanks to the increasing use of modern 3D printers, which are also ideal for modelling.

These devices are characterised by their excellent production flexibility and because they exploit technologies capable of producing more or less complex shapes with impeccable results.

Therefore, it is possible to create all kinds of models quickly and reasonably cheaply. Any idea can be taken beyond the computer screen, i.e., to develop high-fidelity objects rich in detail, gadgets, collectable series, promotional material, stage sets, and much more.

Here, Fama 3D facilitates the workflow regardless of the required parts. The result is always a design model in which every smallest detail results from careful study so that creativity is not limited.

Modelling and 3D printing: general aspects

Today, 3D printing technology is usually the first technology mentioned when modelling. Indeed, the level of small details that modern devices can realise is quite challenging to achieve with other traditional systems.

One has to consider that before the advent of 3D printers, models were almost always created through the skilful use of milling cutters, as well as manually or through an even more rudimentary technique. The latter, more specifically, involved the initial construction of a wooden skeleton, i.e. the various master sections of the structure, onto which the planking was then applied, i.e. a skinny coating that followed the shape of the skeleton itself longitudinally.

As one can easily imagine, the work involved was not only quite meticulous but also time-consuming and often involved solving various critical issues due to recurring inaccuracies. Modelling does not admit errors and implies that everything must fit together perfectly, which is why nothing can be left out.

3D printers have also practically revolutionised the modelling sector, as they deliver excellent results quickly and without inaccuracies. However, it must be considered that these printing tools are certainly not new in recent years, as they already existed at the end of the 1990s. On the other hand, they had prohibitive costs that not everyone could afford. The creation of models with 3D printers finally became affordable and only experienced a particular peak in the last decade.

Therefore, any artist or creative person can now get involved, i.e., push ideas beyond all boundaries to make unique, novel, original models with even quite unusual shapes. The results are beyond all expectations and will not disappoint the most demanding.

Why use 3D printing for modelling

3D printing applied to modelling is appreciated indiscriminately because it allows numerous problems to be solved, i.e. to enhance projects of all kinds in a way that makes them understandable to everyone and very realistic.

3D modelling can also be done from scratch, and the model can be digitised by taking a 3D scan that reproduces the object in all its details as an initial reference. Naturally, elements with complex surfaces, such as sculptures, artistic, vintage or design elements, can also be digitised, saving time and never compromising precision.

In the past, creating models entailed many difficulties in creating and maintaining huge and irregular structures. Human labour sometimes became wearisome and far too complex to be done by hand, considering the hours required to create the supporting elements and components.

Another major limitation was the models’ weight, whether made with a milling machine or using the planking technique. In any case, the finished product was by no means light.

Another recurring problem was heat, i.e. the breakage of parts due to temperature changes. Models exposed to the sun, placed inside Plexiglas cases to be admired by visitors during exhibitions, risked irreparable damage. Especially during the summer and until September, unfavourable conditions were created for the materials used, which do not have adequate characteristics to withstand the high temperatures.

This explains why novice and advanced artists prefer to use 3D printing for their creations. The combination of various technologies allows any project to be realized.

Every part of the model can be completed quickly, and materials with diverse performance characteristics are used. It is precisely these aspects that have prompted many industry enthusiasts to opt for 3D printing to create not only static but also dynamic models.

Once the print is finished, resins and filaments can undergo special post-processing treatments, allowing striking effects. For example, the model will stand out relatively quickly with the help of the airbrush and metallic paints. Sanding the individual pieces will also make the surfaces perfectly smooth and shiny.

In short, the extreme precision of 3D printing can make all the difference. It is perfect when minor details must be emphasised, and sophisticated design objects must be produced. Even the most complex shapes will no longer be a problem.

3D printing and the serial modelling revolution

In light of what has been explained, modelling has never been a sector mainly oriented towards technological innovations but rather a way of primarily working by hand. Today, however, with imagination and fantasy, experienced modellers can create sensational works using raw materials that were once unknown. 3D printing has changed everything, as handmade sculptures give way to hundreds of models and mass production.

In the past, moulds were made from the prototype, into which plastics and resins were injected. Once hardened, the latter stabilised and became ready to be marketed.

The described system is still in vogue, but with 3D printers, the model is digitally sculpted using special software, so an infinite number of copies can be produced. In essence, the matrix model is nothing more than the set of pixels in a program, so changes and details can always be made if necessary, as well as introducing poses or removing accessories.

What we have witnessed in the last decade is a major evolutionary step that has brought together manual processes with digital horizons. This means that modelling and 3D printing create a creative workshop that is free of obstacles and can be customised according to specific needs.

It should also be pointed out that many manufacturers do not make the necessary files available to the public to be able to print models, so those wishing to take possession of a specific project will have to request a 3D printing service by turning to highly specialised partners with proven experience in this field.

To begin taking your first steps in the 3D printing sector, it is essential to understand the various types of devices that can best make your model.

3D printers and software

The range of 3D prints is quite broad and varied. Available models include filament (FDM, FFF), resin (LCD, SLA, DLP, MJF) and sintering.

The former uses polymeric plastic filaments, which are suitably cast, extruded, and placed on the work plate. With each layer laid, the printer axis rises until the complete object is produced.

On the other hand, Resin printers create the model using a plate, otherwise known as a printing plate, placed inside a container with resin that is photosensitive to ultraviolet light. The printer works one layer after another here, while the LCD screen emits UV light that hardens the resin.

Various resins, such as liquid, water-based, calcinable, and biocompatible, can be used during processing, with multiple colours and transparencies as required.

Finally, sintering printers can diffuse and exert heat and pressure on various materials, such as metal, ceramics, and alloys, to create a solid mass. Therefore, we are faced with a technology that is quite versatile and precise and guarantees broad freedom of customisation with professional results.

Laser-sintered parts do not require support structures and can take any shape, even irregular and complex ones. The dimensions are also unlimited, as individual components can be composed of other sub-components.

All 3D printers require special software to work correctly, and there are many alternatives to meet any need. These programs lend themselves to many configurations and allow the management of STL files, i.e. the positioning, rotation, modification and scaling of models, as well as the insertion of anchor points. The software also takes care of the slicing procedure, i.e. the final preview, before saving the part and making it operational for 3D printing.

Modelling programs also offer excellent results in sculpting and allow even small elements to be added with great precision. These tools are not within everyone’s reach and require strong technical skills, which is why 3D printing can never be improvised and needs the support of specialists who know how to meet the customer’s expectations.

All the advantages of 3D printing in modelling

3D printing not only overcomes the limitations of manual production but also opens the door to new possibilities, allowing for precise and rapid mass production and repairs of old models only concerning damaged and worn parts.

The most important positive aspect of 3D printing applied to modelling is the maximum freedom of shapes. Through sophisticated technologies, minor elements, more or less complex details, entire structures, and parts of all kinds can be perfectly assembled.

Another plus not to be overlooked is that of being able to foresee the subdivision of the various elements in the CAD, an important aspect when one wishes to execute a paint job free of burrs.

To solve the inconvenience of sudden breakage due to excessive heat, state-of-the-art raw materials and resins that are not afraid of temperature changes or corrosion are used. During production, glues are drastically reduced precisely because 3D printing favours joints, through which the finished product can remain stable over time.

When you want to create models for personal or commercial use and do not have the necessary equipment or indispensable skills, there are several alternatives you can rely on. The simplest is to turn to companies specialising in printing, such as Fama 3D, which can provide what is technically called a matrix, i.e., prototyping and printing the files to produce the final piece.

The company is a serious and reliable point of reference, even if you want to create several pieces in a series for possible commercialisation, for which maximum confidentiality will be guaranteed.

From the matrix, moulds are created to be filled with resins with a hardening action for mass production. Otherwise, further systems will be used to guarantee speed and significantly reduce costs.

As you can easily guess, the cost of 3D printing varies depending on the technology used, the materials chosen, and specific parameters, such as model size, surface definition, and filling.

In any case, Fama 3D’s proposals are the most efficient in the prototyping sector because not too much time elapses between the design and realisation phases. The expense will still be low for a single model or many finished objects.

Interested parties can always request a personalised consultation for the development, transformation and optimisation of 3D files, choosing from a wide selection of resins and Nylon PA12, also in colour. There is also no need to worry about delivery times, which are always quick, considering that production generally does not exceed seven working days.

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