What is 3D printing

3D printing is a process in which a 3D object is built by stepwise adding layers upon one another. This process is also called Additive Manufacturing, which refers to any process that adds layers (as opposed to the removal of layers , in for example milling). This technique has been around since the early '80, but only with the introduction of the RepRap in 2007 it became accessible for consumers.
3D printing is used for both rapid-prototyping as well as producing small series, and is therefore used in art and design, architecture, construction, the automotive, and many other industries .


Before the 3D model can be manufactured the following steps must be made:
 

  •  Creating a 3 dimensional design using software. Something that used to be only possible with complex CAD (Computer Aided Design ) software, but nowadays there are programs (software) available that can even be operated by very young children.
     

  • The design must be prepared for the 3D printer. The 3D design must be converted into a set of instructions for the 3D printer to use. This process is known as ' slicing ' which means that the 3D design is cut into horizontal slices. The necessary  CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software generates the printing instructions (G - code ). These days there is also software available that does this or automatically or with a simple push of a button.
     

  • The design is now ready to be printed

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