Difference between 3D and 4D printing?

3D printing has existed for almost 3 decades, yet this industry is evolving with new applications, materials, and a new 3D printer, another technology is rising and it is called 4D printing.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is the method through which 3-dimensional solid objects are sculpted through the digital file. The 3D manufacturing method is mostly used to create prototypes or end products.

In 3D printing, the layers of substrate are added after the completion of a previous layer to sculpt the object. Due to this repetitive process of adding layer 3D printing is also known as the additive manufacturing process.

What is 4D printing?

The process that creates a smart 3D object from a material that has the capability to change its shape over time over the influence of external energy input as temperature, light, heat, or other environmental stimuli.

How 3D and 4D printing is different?

So, what additional D in 4D makes it different from 3D? 3D printing is an Additive Manufacturing Process, in which 2D structures like layers are created repeatedly till 3D structure is formed. The objects created through the 4D process have the ability to change their shape over time. 

4D printing technology is a combo of 3D printing + customized designs + smart materials. It is based on Stereolithography (SLA), using the photo-polymeric liquid to build a 3D object layer by layer.

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