3D printing, also known as Additive Printing involves making just about any three-dimensional object out of a digital model (i.e. a computer model that has the ability to photographically replicate any object down to every last precise detail). In the process, sequential layers of the object are carefully placed in various shapes. In some ways, it is similar to creating a sculpture or a 3D art piece in that it involves cutting away the excess and unnecessary pieces.
When you say the word printer to the average person, the first thing they think of is the box shaped machine that prints words, pictures, etc. on command the way they are in the document exactly. Not so with the 3D printer. A 3D printer is still under the command of a computer but another name for it is actually the industrial robot and it is mainly a robot arm. That arm is capable of welding, painting, putting things together, inspection and testing all in one. It accomplishes this at incredible paces, persistence and accuracy.
The four most commonly used robots:
–Articulated: is the one with all the revolving joints, usually has anywhere from a total of two to 10 joints.
–SCARA: acronym stands for Selective Compliance Articulated-or Assembly-Robot Arm. It is known for its equivalent- alignment joint arrangement. This comes in handy for many tasks, including screwing a pin into a round hole without sealing in the pin. It also has a jointed two-link arm layout, which allows for a broad reach
–Delta robot: is basically three arms connected to a platform, it especially comes in handy for pouring substances into objects in assembly lines or drawing out diagrams, blueprints, etc.
–Cartesian Coordinate: moves in a straight line but axes are at right angles to each other. The three sliding joints are capable of moving up, back, forth, in and out. The large ones with the horizontal supports at the end are also known as Gantry robots.
Some repeat the same action over and over while others are more flexible and can move in varying degrees. Increasingly, 3D printers are becoming just one of the objects that are a part of the almost-miraculous man-made phenomenon called artificial intelligence.