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What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

  1. It all begins with the creation of a 3D model on your computer. There are many 3D modelling softwares you can use. We advise using Simplify 3D and also deliver a free copy of this program when you buy a Tractus3D printer.
  2. When you have a 3D model, the next step in the 3D printing process is to prepare it in order to make it 3D printable. This process is called slicing which means dividing a 3D model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. This is all done automatically with Simplify3D so you don’t need any additional slicing software.
  3. When your 3D model is sliced, you are ready to feed it to your 3D printer. When the file is uploaded to a 3D printer, the object is ready to be 3D printed.
  4. The object will be created by laying down successive layers of material. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

On this page you find a lot of articles about what is 3D printing. Any questions? Never hesitate to ask us! 

Hand holding a 3D printed high resolution transparant object

3D printer resolution – what does it really mean?

When you want to know more about what is 3D printing, you need to learn about the 3D printer resolution. Because the 3D printing process is such an accurate procedure, the resolution is in the size of microns. A micron is one thousandth of a millimeter, so it is extremely small. By displaying the 3D printer resolution, the buyer has a general idea of what the printer is capable of. There is more to the story, however.

It’s important to know that there are three types of possible deviations in the 3D printing process: machine-, material- and end result deviation.

A printhead of an industrial 3d delta printer

3D printing technology – Delta vs Cartesian

The 3D printing market is quite competitive, so there are plenty of different printers to choose from. Each printer has its own 3D printing technology and unique capabilities, so it’s important to know which printer is most suited for the results you want to achieve. As most 3D printers, Tractus3D printers use the FFF method (also known as FDM printing), which means everything is printed layer by layer using filament.

In the FDM 3D printing technology, two types of printing systems can be distinguished: Cartesian and Delta. The biggest difference between these two systems is the method of moving. Because each system has its own way of moving, you can achieve different results.

Table full of 3D printed parts of drones

The advantages of 3D printing

When you want to know more about what is 3d printing, you sure also want to know more about the benefits of this relatively new technology. Through creating layers, 3D printing opens a whole new way in which products are created and it offers a lot of advantages compared to the usual traditional manufacturing methods. They will be used to deal with a wide range of tasks in the same way that the digital revolution of twenty years ago enhanced lives and businesses in ways that could never be imagined.

There are many different types of 3D printing technologies available but the advantages discussed here are applicable to the whole industry. Through fast design, high levels of accuracy and the ability to make informed decisions, the following advantages make 3D printing a real prospect for businesses but also highlight its importance in future production techniques.

A man studying a 3D printed object which is produced by FDM 3d printing

What is FDM 3D printing?

To the question 'What is 3D printing?" there is not one absolute answer. The way in which 3D printing has developed in recent years is nothing short of astounding with a wide range of 3D printing technologies available.

The most common is the Fused Deposition Modelling, also known as FDM. This is a technology that has been patented by Stratasys and it is a technology that enables the creation of prototypes in a very short timeframe. This technology is also known as Fused Filament Fabrication or FFF. All Tractus3D industrial printers make use of this technology. Many different industries choose to use FDM 3D printing including the automotive industry and a wide range of consumer goods manufacturers. They use FDM because it helps to aid their product development, their prototyping and their manufacturing process.

An army officer holding 2 objects: the original metal object and a 3D printed metal-like version which is produced by 3d printing thermoplastics

Thermoplastics as a substitute for metal additive manufacturing?

Metal additive manufacturing technology enables the production of highly complex geometries due to the fact that is not constrained by the same rules associated with subtractive machining and other traditional manufacturing techniques. In fact, some 3D printed parts are already just as good, if not better. But there are more benefits. In this article we will first have a look at the other advantages that this relatively new technology brings. Then we will explain why 3D printing thermoplastics can be an even better and cheaper substitute. More and more companies are using 3D printing thermoplastics for crafting metal (like) objects as this has a lot of extra advantages compared to the standard process of metal additive manufacturing.

A batch of 3D printed objects showing the possibilities of 3D printing for manufacturing

3D printing in manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is always looking at new and innovative ways of working and in recent years, 3D printing has been at the forefront. Advancements in the 3D printing technology, equipment and materials has resulted in the costs being driven down and that makes it a more feasible option when it comes to general manufacturing use.

Traditional manufacturing has to deal with the ever-growing demands of the world but it has some restrictions. That is where 3D printing can step in to take over. 3D printing for manufacturing comes with a number of exciting and unique advantages when compared with traditional manufacturing.

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News

Interview with our New Commercial Director

27. November 2018

Maurits Blok: ”Big thinking, large printing”. Maurits Blok is the newly appointed Commercial Director of Dutch industrial 3D printer provider Tractus3D. Founded in 2015, Tractus3D manufactures a range of large-volume delta 3D printers and desktop systems, and is gearing up for the commercial shipment of a new high temperature 3D printer. In a rapidly growing…

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Pre-Order the Next Level PEEK 3D Printer: T850P

22. November 2018
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Blender Conference: 3D Printing with Blender

6. November 2018

Introduction to 3D printing with Blender. Blender is the open source software (similar to Autodesk Maya) used to create models and renders that are used for Movie, Game, TV, Architectural and Biomedical design to name but a few. The Blender Conference is is an annual event where the community meets in Amsterdam for three days…

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Lease Your Tractus3D Printer

18. October 2018

Financing a 3D printer without making a major investment at once? This is possible with our financial lease, which is available since this week. You can enjoy the possibilities of 3D printing and keep financial scope to do business. Take advantage from our lease opportunties and read more about it at the Financial Lease page.…

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Big Size 3D Printer: Show or Semblance?

8. October 2018

Big Size 3D Printer Debut: TCT Show 2018 RECAP. Definition of big When we ask Google to give us a definition of big, it comes up with the following wording: big /adjective: Of considerable size or extent. Wandering on the TCT Show in Birmingham it seemed like almost every 3D printing company has a printer…

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Large Scale 3D Printing is Changing

2. October 2018

Nowadays, it is hard to think of something that cannot be printed on. Shoes, shirts and even cars, all these items can be branded in a way you desire. The trade fair C!Print in Madrid is dedicated to promotional printing and has its focus on professional and large scale printing. C!Print is known for hosting…

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Visit us at the TCT Show

17. September 2018

World’s leading design-to-manufacturing event focused on 3D printing. Visit Tractus3D at stand F36 to experience the amazing possibilities of large volume 3D printing (more than 2 meters/6.6 feet high!). We will also introduce a new high temperature 3D printer which can handle special materials like (Carbon) PEEK, the ideal alternative for metal. When: 24 –…

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From 2D into 3D in the Sign and Graphics Industry

13. September 2018

Press Release (Large Volume 3D Printing). Ammerzoden, Netherlands, 10 September 2018 – Tractus3D, manufacturer of large volume 3D printers, has signed a partnership with Papergraphics, a company with over 35 years of experience as leading supplier to the large format printing industry. Together they are inspiring the sign and graphics industry about the opportunities of…

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New Case Study: Weight of Vehicle Reduced by 40%

21. August 2018

Energy Efficiency Increased. We have published a new case study about the HAN Hydromotive team using 3D printing. The automotive engineers invested in a Tractus3D printer and are using it for prototyping and to produce end-products as well. As a result they decreased costs and accelerated the development time. Thanks to the 3D printed parts…

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FREE Whitepaper: How to Calculate the ROI of 3D Printing

27. July 2018

Return on Investment. You have to consider all the advantages when you are thinking about investing in a professional 3D printer for prototyping and/or production. We want to help you with that calculation and offer you a free white paper. Learn if 3D printing makes economic sense for your business. It’s helpful to understand all…

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Businessman working on a computer on a desk with a industrial Tractus3D FDM printer on it

Do you have a question about 3D printing? Please never hesitate to ask us!

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