Three-dimensional printer was introduced in Indonesia in 2013. But this technology has actually discovered long time ago, precisely in 1981 by Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute that use raw materials photopolymer for printing three-dimensional objects from this printer. This liquid plastic is used because it has the property of being able to change shape when exposed to hard light. Unlike the thermoplastic used in material extrusion (melting material), photopolymer is thermostat material. This material cannot be melted or softened again after it hardens caused of chemical reaction by the irradiation process.

            If we look further back, three-dimension printer was born from long history of topography and photosclupter. It all started at the end of the 19th century, when scientist tried to created the three-dimensional relief map. In 1892, Joseph E. Blanther who work in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire used layered method to determined the topographic contour lines. The material that used by Blanther is a layer of the wax that has been cut to form height contour line pattern which than stacked together to produce a three-dimensional surface in the form of a mound as a positive pattern. Meanwhile, the three-dimensional surface is in the form of a negative basin-shaped pattern which is a pair of surface bumps. Both function as a contour printing tool. The way it works is by placing the printed paper between positive and negative patterns, then pressing between positive and negative patterns into one, so that the paper inserted between the two patterns will also be compressed and folded to form the desired contour pattern.

            Then in 1937, Banmnuarchigel V. Perera patented his work on making three-dimensional relief maps that were almost similar to Blanther’s works, but Perea used cardboard instead of wax. The cardboard sheets are first cut following the desired contour line pattern, then the cardboard sheets are stacked in such a way as to match the desired three-dimensional contour pattern. Each cardboard sheet represents a certain height scale. By using cardboard, Perera claims that his work can produce a high degree of accuracy at a low cost and does not take much time and effort.

            In 1972, Matsubara of Mitsubishi Motors proposed a topographic process using photopolymer to form a thin layer as a molding tool for casting a topographic object to replace wax or cardboard as did Blanther and Perera. The formation of a thin layer of photopolymer itself is carried out using lighting techniques. This is what started the use of photopolymer as raw material in topographic engineering processes, and at the same time started the use of photopolymer as the main raw material of 3D printers by Kodama.

            On the other hand in the same century, photosculpture emerged in an effort to create a replica of three-dimensional objects that refer to parts or shapes of the human body. In 1860, a sculpture artist from France named Francois Willem succeeded in using this method to create a three-dimensional object in the form of a human statue. In his method, Willeme places an object to be duplicated in the middle of the circular space. There were also placed 24 cameras that surround and lead to the object to take photos of these objects from different angular positions. The silhouette of each photo produced is used as a guide for sculpting.

            By Carlo Baese who is from Germany, this process was developed using a single light (monochrome) to scrape or carve a candle. Long irradiation time is used to determine the shape of the contour as desired. The longer the candle is heated, the deeper the body is thought to be from the heat emanating from the light.

            In 1968, William J. Swainson from England had a method similar to what Baese did, namely by firing two lasers at a photosensitive polymer to form a three-dimensional object. The laser beam serves to scrape the surface of the material to form the desired object pattern. Photosensitive polymer itself is a plastic material that is sensitive to light radiation exposure, so it will change shape if exposed to light. The experimental device carried out by Swainson was also built at the Battelle Laboratory in the United States in 1984, but this device was not cheap enough to be marketed.

            From this long process was born the first 3D printer created by Kodama, better known as Rapid Prototyping (RP) technologies. This name was taken because the technology can accelerate the process of developing manufacturing products in the industry at a very low cost. The workings of this RP are by forming objects in layers using photopolymer, which is a combination of topographic technology and photosclupter.

            Then in 1983 Charles Hull invented a machine called the stereolithography apparatus (SLA). The principle of this machine is to convert liquid plastic photopolymers into solid materials using ultraviolet light or lasers. When an object is being printed using photopolymers at a point on a platform, simultaneously UV or laser light is also fired at a point on the platform so that the object being printed will immediately harden. The platform that is used alone can move up and down, so that the process of three-dimensional objects occurs by layered (stacked). The process of designing objects and controlling the printer itself is done using a computer. Thanks to this discovery, Hull founded a company called 3D Systems Corporation which is one of the largest 3D printer companies today.

            After the discovery of SLA technology, other 3D printer technologies began to emerge such as selective laser sintering (SLS). Like other 3D technologies, SLS also starts with 3D files that are designed using a computer. In the SLS process, the powder layer is spread evenly on the platform. The laser systems controlled by a computer functions to heat the plastic powder. In addition, there is a process similar to SLS called direct metal laser sintering (DMLAS), which uses titanium as its basic material. This technology was first developed by Carl Deckard in 1986 at Texas University.

            The rapid development of 3D printer technology gave birth to so many three-dimensional object printing techniques. In addition to SLA and SLS, there are no less than 10 other techniques used in 3D printers to date. The material used is also not limited to photopolymer, depending on the purpose of making these three-dimensional objects.             Currently the use of 3D printers includes many things, some of which are in the fields of medicine, manufacturing, art, and so on. As explained in the rubric of health, the July 2015 issue of 1000 Guru Magazine that in the future 3D printers are used to print organs in the human body, in order to meet the growing need for organ transplants. Some of the advantages of using a 3D printer include: cheaper and effective in producing prototypes of an industrial product, can be produced on a small scale or even in units (customize), and is able to produce products that are more detailed and complex.


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