What Exactly is 3D Printing?

3D printing is the process of using a digital file to create a three dimensional object. It can also be known as additive manufacturing. This is due to the process of producing the object – it is not all made in one go, and layers are added gradually to begin to create the whole object.

The first step of the 3D printing process is creating the file which is to be used. This can be done using a CAD programme or a 3D scanner, depending on whether or not you want to replicate an object or create one completely from scratch. The digital file is used by the 3D printer to form the basis of the new 3D object. To begin, the printer breaks it down into horizontal 2D layers. These are then gradually put together and built up by the printer, creating the object one layer at a time.

There are a number of different methods which can be used to create 3D printed objects. These are as follows:

  1. Sheet Lamination
  2. Material Jetting
  3. Binder Jetting
  4. Powder Bed Fusion
  5. Directed Energy Deposition
  6. Vat Photopolymerisation
  7. Material Extrusion