3D printing simulation has become widespread for some 3D printing processes like SLM. This article will give you an overview of when you might want to use this valuable tool.
Simulation enables one to predict or estimate how a material will behave under a specific set of constraints or conditions. In engineering and science, this is a necessary tool either to investigate and gain a deeper insight of the physics of a given process or to evaluate the functionality of a component before committing to its manufacture or production.
Simulation has been employed in engineering processes like construction, manufacturing (such as metal injection molding and casting), and robotics. Simulation can be performed using various methods or formulations, of which finite element analysis (FEA) is the most widespread.
In 3D printing, the situation is no different. Even after greatly advancing over the last few decades, 3D printing technology still exhibits downsides, such as the occurrence of defects or errors that can lead to the entire failure of a build. Hence, the ability to simulate the process to compensate and prevent these deficiencies is of utmost importance.
What’s more, as 3D printing technologies provide more flexible alternatives for manufacturing a component, such as increased complexity, simulation becomes a powerful tool to make 3D printing processes more efficient and to guarantee a specific outcome from the process.
Although, in theory, codes can be developed to simulate almost any process, including material extrusion and binder jetting, recent interest has been put in the simulation of selective laser melting (SLM). This process uses a laser to selectively melt metal particles in a powder bed.
Especially with this technology, simulation of the 3D printing process can enable users to gain knowledge of various aspects:
Currently, no commercial simulation packages are available to simulate the SLA process. Nonetheless, integrated software, such as PreForm by Formlabs, simulate the AM process to provide a time estimation, as well as a measure of the propensity for a part to be completed accurately or not.
To simulate the 3D printing process, a few multi-physics simulation suites can be employed:
Slowly, the development of 3D printing, and specifically of processes of high interest such as SLM or electron beam melting (EBM), are being accompanied by efforts to simulate them.
As the tools available become more developed and computational expenses decrease, the use of simulation will become more ubiquitous in everyday use. Nevertheless, for the regular user looking at using 3D printing as a hobby or in a learning environment, simulation might not be required given the unnecessary cost and complexity.
If you have an application that requires printing of high-quality components, with guaranteed printability and properties, then All3DP can help you select from our list of select partners, including commercial printing ventures, to help you achieve your goal.
consider using a 3D printing service. Towards that end, All3DP can help you with, our 3D Printing and Price Comparison Service. We provide real-time prices from leading 3D printing services, such as Shapeways, i.Materialise, and Sculpteo.
Save up to 50% by comparing prices from the leading 3D printing services. Simply upload your models, place your order, and leave the rest to us. Thanks to our partners, we provide worldwide manufacturing and delivery.
Feature image source: Simuleon / YouTube
License: The text of "3D Printer Simulator – A Short Guide to 3D Printing Simulations" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Subscribe to updates from All3DP
You are subscribed to updates from All3DP
You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…