3D Printing Overview
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), refers to various processes used to synthesize a three-dimensional object. In 3D printing, successive layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object. These objects can be of almost any shape or geometry and are produced from a 3D model or other electronic data source.
What is Additive Manufacturing?
Additive manufacturing (AM) describes the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material to build products. Once a file is produced using a 3D modeling software, the additive manufacturing machine (otherwise known as 3D printers) reads the data from the file and lays down successive layers of material to create a 3D object.
While the technology was first introduced in the early 1980’s, its first uses were focused on prototyping and as a way to visualize models in preproduction. Since then, additive manufacturing has evolved and is being used to create end-use products across almost all industries.
Products created using additive manufacturing techniques can be made in a variety of materials, from plastics to metals to ceramic. The technology is fluid and still evolving, and new materials are introduced at a more rapid pace than ever before.