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. 3D printers use materials such as metal alloys, polymers, plastics, or even food ingredients.

Application of 3D printers

3D printers are used in many industries, like aerospace engineering, dentistry, archaeology, biotechnology, and information systems. 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 CAD (computer aided design) 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 an STL (stereolithography), 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 terms, Printer, Printing terms