3D Printing

AAA

DEFINITION of '3D Printing'

The creation of a 3-D object through an additive printing process. 3-D printing allows the small scale manufacturing of objects out of a variety of materials, including plastics and powders, through a variety of processes. The additive processes used vary according to materials used and budget, and may include laminates (laminated object manufacturing, LOM), resins (stereolithography, SLA), or melted materials (selective laser melting).

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS '3D Printing'

In 3-D printing the object details, such as its shape and structure, are outlined using computer aided design (CAD) software or a digital scanning device. The details are stored in a computer, which determines how the 3-D printer will create the desired object.

Printing an object using a 3-D printer is different than printing a word document. The 3-D printer follows an additive process, meaning that the print nozzle lays down successive layers of a material, such as plastic or powder. The layers are built up until the object is complete, though further finishing may be required in order to add details or remove imperfections.

The amount of time it takes to print an object depends on its size and complexity. Objects constructed using thin layers will likely take longer to produce, though may provide greater detail than objects constructed of thicker layers. Layer thickness and the size of material particles is typically measured in micrometers.

As a technology, 3-D printing has been lauded for its ability to give small scale manufacturers the ability to create prototypes of new products quickly and cheaply, especially when compared to older manufacturing processes. Because it follows an additive process, 3-D printing could be used to create complicated objects, such as those with holes or curves. While objects can be highly customized, the slow speed at which 3-D printed objects are created makes it difficult to create objects through mass production.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Mass Production

    The manufacturing of large quantities of standardized products, ...
  2. Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing ...

    A U.S. Government subsidy created under section 136 of the Energy ...
  3. Flexible Manufacturing System - ...

    A method for producing goods that is readily adaptable to changes ...
  4. Bleeding Edge Technology

    Technology that is acquired almost immediately after its release, ...
  5. Manufacturing Production

    The creation and assembly of components and finished products ...
  6. ISM Manufacturing Index

    An index based on surveys of more than 300 manufacturing firms ...
Related Articles
  1. Bitcoin Innovations And Obstacles
    Investing News

    Bitcoin Innovations And Obstacles

  2. How Technology Is Replacing Workers
    Personal Finance

    How Technology Is Replacing Workers

  3. A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry
    Investing Basics

    A Primer On Investing In The Tech Industry

  4. Management Advice From Megalomaniacs, ...
    Entrepreneurship

    Management Advice From Megalomaniacs, ...

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Ghosting

    An illegal practice whereby two or more market makers collectively attempt to influence and change the price of a stock. ...
  2. Elasticity

    A measure of a variable's sensitivity to a change in another variable. In economics, elasticity refers the degree to which ...
  3. Tangible Common Equity - TCE

    A measure of a company's capital, which is used to evaluate a financial institution's ability to deal with potential losses. ...
  4. Yield To Maturity (YTM)

    The rate of return anticipated on a bond if held until the maturity date. YTM is considered a long-term bond yield expressed ...
  5. Net Present Value Of Growth Opportunities - NPVGO

    A calculation of the net present value of all future cash flows involved with an additional acquisition, or potential acquisition. ...
  6. Gresham's Law

    A monetary principle stating that "bad money drives out good." In currency valuation, Gresham's Law states that if a new ...
Trading Center