3D printing, digital fabrication, additive manufacturing and all that buzz
An old technology that is hot as hell; exploring the history of 3D printing and how it changed today's makery movement.
3D Printing is an additive manufacturing process in which a physical object is created from a digital design. There are many different 3D printing technologies and materials, but all follow the same basic idea: a digital model is turned into a solid three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer.
So how does it work?
In order to 3D print something, we need a digital 3D design file, a model object to transform to a physical object. This design is then ‘sliced’ into thin layers horizontally and is sent to a 3D printer.
The actual printing process depends on the technology and printing material used. For now we will pretend building and food 3D printing does not exist and will focus on desktop 3D printers, which melt a plastic material and lay it down onto a surface layer by layer. Printing often takes a lot of time, even multiple hours, and the final result may need post-processing such as sanding, painting etc.