3D Printing

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3D Printing

3D Printing class and online courses

What is "3D Printing"?

The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, which is why it is also called additive manufacturing. The term 3D printing covers a variety of processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with material being added together (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer. In the 1990s, 3D-printing techniques were considered suitable only for the production of functional or aesthetic prototypes and a more appropriate term for it was rapid prototyping. As of 2020, the precision, repeatability, and material range have increased to the point that some 3D-printing processes are considered viable as an industrial-production technology, whereby the term additive manufacturing can be used synonymously with 3D printing. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries, including hollow parts or parts with internal truss structures to reduce weight, and a prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model or a CAD file.