3D Printer

Updated: 10/02/2017 by Computer Hope

An image of a 3D printer.Created by Chuck Hull in 1984, the 3D printer is a device that creates a physical object from a digital model by layering materials such as metal alloys, polymers, plastics, or even food ingredients.

Application of 3D printers

3D printers are used in many disciplines--aerospace engineering, dentistry, archaeology, biotechnology, and information systems are a few examples of industries that utilize them. As an example, a 3D printer might be used in the field of archaeology to physically reconstruct ancient artifacts that have been damaged over time.

How does it work?

An object's design typically begins in a computer aided design (CAD) software system, where its blueprint is created. The blueprint is then sent from the CAD system to the printer in a file format known as a Stereolithography (STL), which is typically used in CAD systems to design 3D objects. The printer then reads the blueprint in cross-sections and begins the process of recreating the object layer-by-layer, just as it appears in the computer aided design. In the picture below is an example of a 3D printer called the FlashForge.

3D Printer

Computer Aided Design, Hardware printer, Printer, Printing terms