How are PTC heaters used in 3D Printing?

How are PTC heaters used in 3D Printing?

Posted by Adelle Webber on

3D Printing Applications are Growing

3D Printing at School - 3D Printing is Growing UpCan you believe “Sparky” now wants to purchase a 3D printer? I can still remember his first HP Laser printer that he insisted on buying for $5,000. Yep, it was for personal use. Kept telling me how much better it would be from the HP Color Plotter and Inkjet printer, which by the way, were not cheap. He didn’t tell me that this $5,000 laser printer had a memory of a nat and couldn’t print more than a 1 X 1-inch graphic on the 8 ½ by 11-inch sheet of paper. He told me that the plotter was for doing the graphics!

Printing 3D trinkets in a 3D PrinterHe tells me to know he can get a 3d printer to print “trinkets,” my word not his for around $2,000. That is more than the price of the new refrigerator that I want for my kitchen. And I know it won’t just be $2,000 either. The cost of his toys never includes the extras like plastic cartridges, substrates, software for scanning in objects, etc. We don’t want our kids left behind. Buying a 3D printer is a school project he tells me. Of course, he wants to see if there is a PTC element in the device.  Can you imagine kids using 3D printers in the classroom?


I made the mistake of asking him how they work!

How Did 3D Printing Get Started? were used

The origins of 3D printing are complicated; he tells me. I was a little curious when he told me they are producing body parts or at least attempting to create artificial limbs. 3D printing started in the early 70s evolving from the advances in inkjet printing. Inkjet printing is yet another one of his stories. Engineers found that it was possible to control the actual droplets of ink electrostatically to make very intricate patterns over small distances. Gradually those distances grew with technology, and inkjet printers have replaced conventional printers in all sorts of manufacturing processes. Many of the product labels you see on uneven surfaces such as small bottles, round packaging, and almost any product where you don’t see a stick-on name are inkjet printing. Of course, Sparky tells me he was the first engineer ever to use inkjet printing for high-speed address printing on envelopes. Even designed individual machines to feed the envelopes by the printers are 3,000 per minute. He has also sold swampland in Florida.

3D Printing and PTC Heater applications3D machining has been around a lot longer than 3D printing.  In 3D machining, CAD drawings guided the elaborate milling machines that drilled 3D objects from solid pieces of metal. This type of milling was an expensive option from traditional dies and casting, but when it was essential to get the metal piece quickly, it became viable. It also made since the original die was missing, and it was too expensive to create a new die and mold for one part.

Less expensive but similar machining processes began for plastics and softer materials. 3D camera software now scans the 3-dimensional object and produces cross-sectional dimensions that tell the printer how much content to apply to duplicated the cross-section.


How does 3D Printing Work?

The actual concept has been around for millions of years! Think about the slow origins of rock formations in caves from water dripping tiny amounts of minerals onto the floor of the cave to create stalactites, or is it stalagmites? These formations were nature's way of 3D printing!

Natures 3D priting

Even 20 years ago, the idea of 3D printing was somewhat novel and undoubtedly expensive, even on a small scale. Creating a 3-dimensional object by placing one layer of material on top of another, corresponding to the 3D model of the object was also time-consuming. Each layer had to dry before the next layer could be applied, or some hardening agent with each layer. It is hard for us mortals to think in terms of 3D printing. We are so used to the 2D version of print; it takes a good science fiction film to help us grasp the concept.

Most of the raw materials applied are maintained at set temperatures, pliable, or even liquid like ink for the transfer process to be successful over the length of time it took to create the object.

In traditional printing, several different ways of printing on a page evolved since the first Gutenberg Press. Printers still use derivations of that technology in offset and Gravure printing presses.

3D printing has also changed considerably since the first devices appeared. Now several different technologies would even be considered printing process before 3D print started to prove its value to manufacturing. (AM) Or g is one of the additive manufacturing new offshoots. Sparky tells me that it isn’t really printing, so doesn’t even want to explain it.

In one of his many careers, he worked in Offset and Gravure printing plants. He says that is real printing. Think of your high-quality magazines that have millions of subscribers. Well, maybe not anymore since we can Google most things.

Using Plastic as the Printing Material for 3D Printing

One of the more common types of 3D printing is using plastic-type materials for printing the layers onto a substrate. These materials have to be semi-liquid before depositing them on to the surface of the 3D object being formed. More elaborate printers that use a liquid plastic material that hardens after being deposited by UV rays or heat need, you guessed it, PTC heating elements. These industrial heating elements provide the perfect solution for lower-cost 3D printing devices.

This type of material, with the ability to apply layers quickly compared to other processes, is also used in rapid prototyping. This type of rapid prototyping that has been used to create models of new car designs can cut months off the traditional time required for hand-carved clay models.



Types of 3D Printers


Over the years, the 3D printing industry has grown dramatically, creating new technologies (and a new language to describe the different additive manufacturing processes). To help simplify this language, ASTM International -- an international standards organization -- released standard terminology in 2012 that classified additive manufacturing technologies into seven broad categories.


Below are quick summaries of the different types of 3D printing.

  • Powder Bed Fusion: Powder bed fusion is similar to binder jetting, except the layers of powder are fused (either melted or sintered -- a process that uses heat or pressure to form a solid mass of material without melting it) using a heat source, such as a laser or electron beam.
  • Directed Energy Deposition: Directed-energy deposition can come in many forms, but they all follow a necessary process. Wire or powder material is deposited into thin layers and melted using a high-energy source, such as a laser.
  • Sheet Lamination: Sheet lamination systems bond thin sheets of material (typically paper or metals) together using adhesives, low-temperature heat sources, or other forms of energy to produce a 3D object.
  • Vat Photopolymerization: Photopolymerization -- the oldest type of 3D printer -- uses a liquid resin that is cured using UV lights to create a 3D object.
  • Material Jetting: Just like a standard desktop printer, material jetting deposits material through an inkjet printer head.
  • Binder Jetting: In binder jetting, a thin layer of powder (this can be anything from plastics or glass to metals or sand) is rolled across the build platform.

Sparky explained 3D printers work, and our kids could do this at home easily with the new printer. This printing system helps our kids understand the potential of new technologies.


And eventually, in real-world applications, they will be creating models of body parts to plan surgery in hospitals. 3D printing equipment manufacturers continue to innovate to meet the demand or more complex applications.





The only good thing about learning the wonders of 3D printing and Sparky buying a printer is I get a new purse, dress, and a trip to Disney with the kids!



Temperature Control & Heating Requirements for 3D Printing

Most 3D printing processes require some temperature control for the materials and liquids used in creating the 3D dimensional object. Many of the devices utilized outside traditional manufacturing, where space is a critical element of design.

PTC heating elements and devices are ideal for the limited space and precise temperature control required in the process of 3D printing.

Are you a manufacturer of 3D printing equipment, 3D printing company, or using 3D printing technology? DBK USA offers a wide array of off the shelf devices to fill these needs and custom designs for more sophisticated equipment. DBK Products.

Need more help? Our product engineers are standing by to assist you at 864-599-1600.

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