Skip to main content

3D printing explained

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.

Manufacturing complex shapes starting from digital files

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 2019, 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.

A prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model or a CAD file (Computer-Aided Design) .

3D printer at BIRA-IASB Engineering.