What is 3D-Printing?

What is 3D-Printing?

Have you ever looked at a digital photo and felt like bringing it to life? A lot of us have. What if I told you this idea is no longer fantasy, and that it is in fact now a reality? That’s right; you can turn two-dimensional images into 3D, all with the help of 3D printing.

So what exactly is 3D printing?

3D printing is the process of making 3D objects from digital files, this is also known as additive manufacturing. It is called additive manufacturing because it employs additive processing to create the 3D objects. It involves layering materials, like plastics, composites, or bio-materials to create objects that range in shape, size, rigidity, and color.  Of course, all of this is done by using a 3D printer. It’s amazing that the world has gone from printing papers and magazines to printing 3D objects.

What is a 3D Printer?

3D printers are part of the additive manufacturing family and use similar methods to a traditional inkjet printer- albeit in 3D. It takes a combination of top-of-the-line software, powder-like materials, and precision tools to create a three-dimensional object from scratch.

These printers have extreme flexibility in what can be printed. They can use plastics to print rigid materials, like sunglasses. They can also create flexible objects, like phone cases or bike handles, using a hybrid rubber/plastic powder. Some 3D printers even have the ability to print with carbon fiber and metallic powders for extremely strong industrial products.

What is 3D Printing Used For?

So we know what 3D printing is and what it is used for, now we move to the uses of 3D printing. This glorious piece of technology is slowly reshaping a lot of heavy-weight industries around. It is clear that this tech is here to stay and will only get bigger and better with time. Here are some of the top uses of 3D printing:

1. Rapid Manufacturing and Prototyping

One major use of 3D printing is rapid manufacturing and prototyping. A lot of industries use it to create prototypes at little to no cost whatsoever. The process of creating prototypes in a very short amount of time is called rapid prototyping.

3D printing provides companies with a low-risk, low-cost and fast method of producing prototypes that allows them to test a new product’s efficiency and increase development without the need for expensive models or proprietary tools.

2. Aviation

Another use of 3D printing can be found in the aviation sector. The aviation sector is also part of the heavy sectors that have used 3D printing technology to increase efficiency and cut costs. GE Aviation has 3D-printed 30,000 Cobalt-chrome fuel nozzles for its LEAP aircraft engines. They achieved that milestone in October of 2018 and considering that they produce 600 per week on forty 3D printers. By 3D printing fuel nozzles, GE Aviation saves a whopping $3million per aircraft.

3. Construction

I know what you might be thinking; “is it even possible to 3D print a whole building?” the answer is a resounding yes! This is already being employed by a number of construction companies. Some companies 3D print parts prefabrication while some do it right there on site.

The first fully completed residential building was constructed in Yaroslavl, Russia in 2017. 600 elements of the walls were printed in a shop and assembled on-site, followed by completion of the roof structure and interior decoration for a total area of 298.5 sq meters (3213 sq ft). The project represents the first time in the world the entire technological cycle had passed building requirements, from design, building permit, registration, to connection of all engineering systems. The building was not built just for presentation, today a real, normal family lives in it.

4. Medicine

The healthcare center is probably the sector that has been the most affected by 3D printing. 3D printed prosthetics exemplify 3D printing’s versatility. It is difficult and expensive to produce prosthetics that fit a patient. With 3D printing, measured prosthetics can be modeled and printed at a significantly lower cost. Children in need of a prosthetic formerly had to wait to get one to be sure they would not outgrow it. Now, a new prosthetic can be 3D printed for them every few months. In some third-world countries, prosthetics are not even an option, they can now take advantage of 3D printed ones.

5. Education

You know a piece of technology has groundbreaking positive effects if it makes its way into the educational sector. Educators and students have long been using 3D printers in the classroom. 3D printing enables students to materialize their ideas in a fast and affordable way.

3D printers are now commonly found in classrooms and public libraries. Universities have 3D printers available for students to use in classes and projects. Companies such as MakerBot offer certification courses in 3D printing applications for both educators and students.

Graphic design students can easily construct models with complex working parts. Students in the sciences can create and study cross-sections of organs in the human body as well as other biological specimens. Chemistry students can make 3D models of molecules and chemical compounds.

Types of 3D Printing

There are several types of additive manufacturing, although The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), developed a set of standards that classify additive manufacturing processes into 7 categories.

Types of 3D Printing Technologies and Processes

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), developed a set of standards that classify additive manufacturing processes into 7 categories. These are:

  1. Vat Photopolymerisation
  2. Stereolithography (SLA)
  3. Digital Light Processing (DLP)
  4. Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP)
  5. Material Jetting
  6. Binder Jetting
  7. Material Extrusion
  8. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
  9. Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  10. Powder Bed Fusion
  11. Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)
  12. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
  13. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
  14. Sheet Lamination
  15. Directed Energy Deposition


3D printing is definitely a game-changer in the tech world. It is revolutionizing manufacturing on a global scale, safe to say that it is a brilliant piece of technology. Its versatility makes it a very useful tech. its application is only limited to the manufacturer’s imagination and ingenuity. What is even more mind-blowing about it is that it hasn’t reached its full potential yet, it is still undergoing upgrades.  Who knows what 3D printers will be used for in the future? An exciting prospect isn’t it?

Leave a comment down below and let us know what you think about 3D printers.

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What is 3D-printing and how does it work?

3D printing is the process of making 3D objects from digital files. It involves layering materials, like plastics, composites, or bio-materials to create objects that range in shape, size, rigidity, and color.  Of course, all of this is done by using a 3D printer.

What is 3D-printing used for?

3D printing is used for a lot of things and I wise range of sectors. It’s used in construction for building scale models and actual building structures. Also, it is used in medicine to make prosthetics and so on. Its application has a wide range.

Why is 3D printing not so popular?

There are primarily two reasons why most people don’t own a 3D printer in their houses; It requires design talent, and most people aren’t designers. One needs to learn design software. The 3D printers are quite expensive, and the affordable ones aren’t as sophisticated as the industrial models.

Is it illegal to 3D print a 3D printer?

Having a patent on an invention or innovation means no one else can create, use, or sell a product without the patent holder’s permission. Therefore, 3D printing of a patented object is illegal, and the patent holder could sue for patent infringement.

How much does it cost to start 3D printing Business?

The average cost of Starting a 3D printing business is between $1000 to $10,000, depending on the scale of the business.

Is 3D printing expensive?

3D printing isn’t as expensive as people make it out to be. It is actually quite affordable.

Can you 3D print anything?

No, 3D printers can’t print anything in terms of materials and shapes. 3D printers require specific properties in materials to 3D print such as thermoplastics like PLA that soften when heated rather than burn.