3D Printing is a rapidly growing technology which is creating wonders in all the industries it derives its application from. The technology has a rapid manufacturing power to make new inventions possible. 3D printing, which has been the realm of engineering test labs, may make a drastic change in the ways we define our lives. These printers have seamlessly found their applications into almost all the spheres, including diverse fields like healthcare, food & beverage, construction and many more. Architects across the world have come up with this new channel which is impeccably being looked at for devising various useful materials for day to day life. 3D printing has begun to flourish in many application areas like healthcare, construction, architecture, food, textiles and so on. So, the materials being used for these purposes also vary accordingly. While construction industry mostly uses plastics, metals and ceramics to print buildings, the medical industry has its own array of bio-materials. Of all the materials being used in the industry plastics are the most often used ones.
The potential plastic market for 3D printing is generally commanded by ABS. ABS is majorly used in stereolithography (SLA) technologies and hence is also called SLA materials. The main reason why ABS is quite popular in the industry is due to the various properties. One of the important factors is that it can be easily melted at 225 degree Celsius, which can be attained even with the basic home appliances. It is relatively strong, is a little flexible and has a relatively high glass transition temperature which is around 100 degrees. Glass transition temperature, that’s the temperature above which a plastic goes from its solid state to a pliable state where it can lose its shape. These characteristics mean ABS is very suitable to 3D Print functional parts, like spare parts for machines or objects that are exposed to high temperatures like sunlight or hot water. There are not many varieties of ABS being used in the industry, but smart ABS and bendable ABS are said to be in demand. While the former is capable of offering a better boding and less warping which causes shrinkage, the latter is known to be more bendable.
If reproduced at the temperature suggested by the filament producer, ABS shows a better layer bond. These 3D printed objects are likely to be sturdier as well as high impact-resistant. Hence, it is more suited for mechanical parts and for objects that needs to be water and weather proof. Furthermore, ABS parts are more elastic than PLA derived portions and tend to bend rather than break under extreme pressure. Also, ABS is better malleable and also post processing is much easier with ABS. The 3D printed object can be cut, filed, sanded, painted, and bonded. Also, they can be treated with acetone in order to get a smooth and shiny surface or to weld two objects together. Aerospace sector is also incorporating printed plastics materials for replacing CNC-milled parts that reduce production costs, technically perform better, reduce weight of the entire system and offer better insulations. Scientific and technological advancements coupled with financial support from the government will also propel the growth of 3D printing using ABS resins in developed as well as developing countries.
This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for architects everywhere. With the increasing awareness among consumers, the 3D printing industry is set to see an upsurge in the near future and so does the materials being used in this industry.
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