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Professional 3D Printing
Professional 3D printing (Advanced additive manufacturing) is an industrial class. Concept models, jigs, fixtures, functional prototypes and end-user parts can be manufactured. Professional printer are more expensive, stronger and more efficient than the desktop printers.
Professional 3D printers are used by the design companies and hardware manufacturers to produce molds and prototypes. As a result, these printers have a high-quality standard, and they can print big object efficiently. So, they have a high price.
Dimensions of the professional printers show variety. Most printers have the same size with office type big photocopy machines. Typically, when the resolution, accuracy, and speed of the printer are increased, dimensions are relatively increased.
Technologies can be listed as FDM, SLS, DMLS and SLA. Different brands have different 3D printer technologies.
Production chamber in 3D printers is important because of the determining the biggest dimensions that can be manufactured as one piece. Production chamber changes depend on model and manufacturer. For example, Stratasys Dimension Elite has 8x8x12 inch, and Stratasys Objet1000 has 39.3×31.4×1119.6 inch production chamber.
One of the most important advantages of the professional 3D printers is the variety of materials in comparison with desktop printers. Most manufacturers have specialized material variety for their technologies. Wide variety in the material selection such as thermoplastics (ABS, PC, ULTEM), photopolymers (VeroClear, Tango), plastic powders (PA2200, PA3200) and metal powder (ALSI7MG0,6, INC718, Stainless Steel 316L) means that customer can choose the most suitable materials according to their needs.
Strength and flexibility rather than the ease of use are the most important requirements for professional 3D printing. Most manufacturers have their own software options such as GeoMagic, Stratasys Objet Studio, and Insight.
Aesthetic is for the professional 3D printer as the desktop printers. The most professional printers are similar to the photocopy machines, and 2D printers and they have a perfect industrial design for the office.
Resolution is the minimum thickness of the layer structure. It is an important requirement for professional applications. Professional printers can make printing at 16-micron resolution such as Stratasys Objet100 3D printer.
Professional 3D printer applications cover these:
Concept Modelling: Concept modeling is used to reify your ideas and concepts earlier. It is used for testing, proving and sensitive adjustments by design, engineering and architecting bureaus.
Rapid Prototyping: One of the most important advantages of professional printers is the ability to make moving parts with different materials. Full functional prototypes can be made for the different tests. Rapid prototyping increases the efficiency and helps to find imperfections in design process earlier.
Molding: Professional printers manufacture jigs, fixtures, and molds in hours even in minutes and decrease the lead time significantly.
Rapid Manufacturing: End-user parts can be manufactured with 3D printers without using molds. 3D printing decreases the cost and lead time. It can be a suitable alternative to assembly line production in the next few years.
Professional 3D printers are commonly used in aviation, medical, automotive, architecture and consumer goods industries.