Software Development

What is 3D Printing and How Does It Work ?

What is 3D Printing and How Does It Work

3D printing, which is an additive method that creates three-dimensional objects from digital files, is a process where the objects can be printed. The process involves laying down layers of material to create the object. This process creates complex shapes using materials such as metal, ceramic, and plastic.

It is incredible how easy it is to create any kind of three-dimensional object using thin layers.

Choosing the Right 3D Printing Technology for your Business

3D printing has many advantages, but each process is unique and will have its own benefits and limitations.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right 3D printing software. These include budget, cost of parts and raw material, as well as the production process.

Fused Deposition Modeling, Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering(SLS), and metal deposition are all options at the production level.

Every production process uses different materials, and each will produce different results.

You will also need to carefully assess issues like the material required, desired characteristics of the end product in terms of accuracy, build size, and application.

What are the Benefits of 3D printing?

Easier Customization

Because 3D printing allows quick prototyping and rapid production, it can be a huge asset to your business. 3D printing makes it possible to create and print complex designs, which is a significant advantage over traditional manufacturing processes. This allows you to reduce the complexity and cost associated with customization.

A 3D printer makes it easier to create complex shapes with less effort, time, and material. 3D printing is more efficient than traditional manufacturing methods and doesn’t require specific tools or an initial cost.

All it takes to create a new product is an update of the 3D file. It is possible to make unlimited numbers of identical parts by simply updating your 3D file, as the production cost is the same for any number of 3D-printed parts.

More Eco Friendly

3D printing reduces energy waste and leaves a smaller carbon footprint than traditional manufacturing processes. 3D printing is about affordable products that are efficient and cost-effective. It also aims to reduce waste.

Because 3D is focused on quality and efficiency, it is as eco-friendly a process as you can get.

Faster Product Development

Even small businesses can use 3D printing technology to design, prototype, and create products faster. Prototype creation can be done in a fraction of the time and cost savings that 3D printing technology offers. This is in contrast to traditional methods using expensive tools or molds.

Better Design Creation with 3D Printing

3D printing allows you to continue your experimentation with design until you find the right one. Computer-Aided Design software can create 3D printable models. The 3D printed models are more error-free than other methods. 3D printable models are also easier to identify and correct than traditional manual modeling. A 3D scanning process can be used to capture digital data about the appearance and shape of real objects and then print it in 3D.

More Beneficial Workflow

3D printing is affordable and scalable, which makes it easy for businesses to incorporate it into their production processes. Digital workflows that end with 3D printing produce a better product. This reduces errors and inaccuracies which could lead to wastage or loss of time and boosts productivity.

Also read: How 3D Printing is a New Business Model Here are 5 Examples

Better Supply Chain Management

3D printing is a cost-effective and energy-efficient production method. It produces minimal waste and can be used on-demand, which prevents overproduction and excessive inventory. Businesses can easily access the technology to move production to any location and get products to their customers in a shorter time frame. The process is completely toolless so manufacturers can tailor their offerings to meet client’s needs without having to invest in additional components.

Common 3D Printing Materials

When creating 3D printed products, there are many options. Our list will help you choose the right material before you make your decision.

Using Plastics for 3D Printing

Plastic 3D models are used often to make prototypes, toys, or household fixtures. Because of their flexibility, firmness, smoothness, and the large variety of colors, they are very popular. They are also relatively inexpensive. There are many options for plastic materials that can be used in 3D printing. Each material has its own unique characteristics and is best suited for specific purposes.


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Sterene (ABS), is a common polymer that’s used in 3D printing. It is lightweight and has good impact resistance. It is typically printed at a temperature of 210 to 250 deg C (410deg-482deg F). This material is used primarily for making appliances, hulls, decorations, toys, and other small parts. It can be sanded and mixed with acetone to make it smoother or glueable.


Polylactic acid, also known as Polylactideis (PLA), is a biodegradable plastic made from potatoes, sugarcane, and corn. It is extracted at lower temperatures with a nozzle temperature around 180deg-230degC (356deg – 446degF). It doesn’t require a heated bed, so you can use painter’s tape instead. It’s easy to print, inexpensive, biodegradable, and can be reused for many purposes. It is easy to print on cold surfaces and has low warping. It is more sturdy than other materials but can be damaged by extreme heat.


Nylon is known for its toughness and semi-flexibility. It also offers high impact resistance and resistance to abrasion. This is a great material for printing durable parts, textiles, and accessories. This is a great option for complex or delicate geometries. It is also inexpensive and durable, with little warping.

However, it is susceptible to water so it must be dried. Prints may be less accurate due to the possibility of shrinkage during cooling. Nylon filaments require extruder temperatures of between 220-250 oC (428deg – 482degF).


Another common 3D printing material is this one, which uses plastic resin for the raw material. It is extremely chemical-resistant and has low shrinkage. It can also be printed faster than a filament. It can also be used to create figurines, chess pieces, and rings, as well as accessories and fixtures. Resin is used to print 3D models at temperatures between 200 and 300degC (392deg-572degF). Resin can be expensive

Other Plastics Commonly Used for 3D Printing

  • Thermoplastic Polyurethane, also known as TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane), is a flexible and abrasion-resistant thermoplastic. It is able to create 3D printed objects with a durable structure that can withstand temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius (176°F). It can be used to make phone cases, rubber mats, and stress toys.
  • PETG, or glycolized Polyester, is a stronger material than ABS and is safe for food. It has very low shrinking. However, it can adhere to the printed surface and be used for food storage containers, packaging, and prosthetic devices.
  • ASA has strong chemical and ultraviolet resistance properties. Although it is simple to process, it requires high printing temperatures. It is used often to make bumper covers, garden equipment, fixtures, and other items.
  • For 3D printers, PEI (Polyetherimide or ULTEM) is a great choice. The surface, which is amber in color, is resistant to chemical attacks and doesn’t degrade under outdoor conditions. It is ideal for creating ventilation systems, latches, and cable ducts.

Using Metals for 3D Printing

Metal 3D printing (also known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering or DMLS) is a process that uses a laser beam for melting 20-60 microns of metal powder. This allows you to create durable parts out of metal powders. These machines are used to make tool components and final parts for aerospace, automotive, and other industries. These metals can be used to produce parts that are lighter and more affordable.


Aluminum is the most common material used for metal 3D printing. It is mostly used in an alloy form. It has good resistance properties and can withstand high voltages, while still being lightweight. It is used primarily in areas where weight reduction is important, such as the automotive and aeronautics industries.

It allows you to design complex geometries with high levels of detail. Aluminum is ideal for prototyping because it has a melting point of 670°C (1238°F). It is expensive and requires multiple builds to refine a part’s design in order to mass-produce it through 3D metal print.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel, another 3D-printed metal material, has a melting point of 1400 degrees Celsius (2552 degrees F). It is ideal for prototyping and demanding projects using a variety of manufacturing techniques. It can also be used in medical industries, such as for the production of custom-made orthopedics.

It is used to make parts in aerospace and automotive industries due to its heat resistance, corrosion-free and abrasion-tolerant properties. It is tedious to print and in some cases, at the microscopic level. However, printed stainless steel can be weak and easily fractured because they are often highly porous.

Also read: Best 5 Steps Sprint Planning Meeting For Streamline Development Process

Other Common 3D Printing Materials

  • Ceramic: Ceramics can withstand extreme temperatures and pressure without cracking or warping. Ceramics are less susceptible to corroding and don’t easily wear off, giving them an advantage over plastics and metals. They are ideal for precision work and offer smooth, glossy finishes. They are resistant to heat, acid, and lye. They aren’t the best choice for assembly because they need to be melted at very high temperatures and are fragile.
  • Paper3D: printing can be done with paper. You can also print on it to give it a wood-like feel. 3D printed paper does not have the same durability or detail as other materials. It can shrink when it dries, making it difficult to get the exact dimensions.
    Food3D: printing can also use food as a material. There are many food products that can be made using 3D printing, including jelly, purees, and cheese. NASA is using this technology to reduce food waste.

An Overview of 3D Printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), allows you to design an object using the software. The 3D printer then creates it by layering material layer by layer until the object takes shape. You can make the final object using any number or materials, including metals, plastics, powders, and filaments.

3D printing offers many benefits, including short production runs, quick prototyping, quick customization and adaptation, the ability to create complex shapes, and cost-effectiveness. Because it prints parts in layers, 3D printing has revolutionized manufacturing. It allows you to print complex objects with internal structures and subassemblies in one run, which is a significant improvement over traditional methods of production.

This method of producing is also innovative in that the material is not subtracted but is instead added. This means that raw materials are used to construct an object, rather than being removed or scrapped. This allows mass production without the need to use individual tools or hand-crafting. This helps to conserve raw materials and allows for efficient design and production.

In 2020, the global 3D printing market was worth approximately 12.6 billion dollars. Between 2020 and 2023, it is expected to grow at a rate of 17% annually. 3D printing technology has proven to be innovative. It is versatile and can be used in a variety of industries.

3D Printers

3D printers work in the same way as inkjet printers, but create a solid 3D model out of a variety of materials instead of a paper document. 3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing that creates three-dimensional objects from scratch using precision tools and materials. There are many 3D printer software options available, ranging from open-source to industrial-grade. A 3D printer can be used to make almost anything, including toys, machine parts, and jewelry.

These machines are replacing the traditional factory production lines with one machine. You can connect your computer to a 3D printer using a printable file. Once you have printed the file, press “print” to instantly get your 3D print. There are many possibilities for a desktop 3D printer at your company. Although printing speeds will vary depending on the model you are using and the material used, they can still be very fast. It is still a fast way to create parts, prototypes, and other items in a short time.

You can also make high-quality parts for industrial use at a fraction of the price of traditional manufacturing. The ability to modify and innovate your design allows you to create and modify materials as needed. In fact, here is a good selection of the best 3D printers for small businesses in the market today.

A Brief History of 3D Printing

The 1980s saw serious consideration about the viability and viability of 3D printing when Hideo Kodama, a Japanese inventor, was granted a patent for a 3D printer. To create prototypes and models, he based it upon the model of additive production. Scientists had been considering the use of additive manufacturing technologies to produce 3D models since the 1940s.

Previously known as rapid prototyping, it was intended to enable quick fabrication of models and physical parts or assembly using 3D Computer-Aided Design. The technology is now used in virtually all industries and drives innovation.

What is 3D Printing Used For?

Today, 3D printing is common in many industries, including aviation, education, fashion, and food. These are the top sectors that have adopted 3D printing.


Universities and schools are now using 3D printing to enhance their education. The process allows students to quickly create prototypes and doesn’t require expensive equipment or tooling. It allows students to quickly design and create models, reducing the distance between ideas and images on a screen and a physical object.

Through exploring engineering, design, and architectural principles, students learn about 3D printing applications. Students can create models and fossils, design and construct models, examine cross-sections of the organs, and make 3D models for molecules and chemical compounds.

The Aviation Industry

3D printing has been a key tool in the aviation industry’s ability to produce manufacturing and prototyping solutions. The 3D printers are used to create parts for airplane panels, parts of jet engines, and complex components in one piece. This helps to reduce assembly time and maintain high-quality standards. This reduces manufacturing costs and allows for components to be produced on-demand, which helps cut down storage costs. It also reduces tooling and waste costs.


3D printing has been used in the automotive industry for a long time. 3D printing allows companies to print spare parts, tools, fixtures, and even prototypes for new models of cars. The last point is that 3D printing has dramatically reduced research and development, as well as design and production steps in car manufacturing.


3D printing is used in the construction and architecture industry to create detailed models of buildings. This allows architects to modify 3D structures quickly and test new market potential using faster and cheaper prototyping. This allows them to quickly create sophisticated scale models of buildings, bridges, and other architectural structures.


3D printing has been a boon for the medical industry, helping to create new treatments, training, and research. Today, 3D printing can be used to create customized prosthetics, dentures, and implants, as well as hearing aids. To perform complex surgery or transplants, surgeons use exact 3D-printed replicas.

Scientists may soon be able to 3D bioprint tissues to make body parts. This will allow transplant patients to avoid rejection of their organs. For drug testing, 3D-printed tissue engineering applications are already in use.


3D printers are a great way to create jewelry that is unique and different from traditional methods. A 3D printer can be used to produce jewelry in two ways. You can either create jewelry directly from the 3D model or you can use 3D to make a mold that will be used for casting. This technology is also useful for prototyping designs.


3D printing has been used by many robotics companies to design their robots. This technology allows for smart manufacturing and flexibility. It allows rapid prototyping, which allows for quick refinement of designs based upon testing and trial. This is a great development opportunity for robotics in smart manufacturing that requires precision.


Artists can also take advantage of 3D printing’s benefits by including 3D models in their works. It has made it easy to create incredible sculptures using just sketches or photos. These devices are used to create real artistic works, such as props and costumes, and reproductions, with relative ease.

The Manufacturing Industry

3D printing is a great way to speed up manufacturing processes. Manufacturing companies are able to quickly create prototypes and print on demand. This allows them to reduce production waste while using easily accessible technology. Manufacturers can reduce product life cycles by using 3D printing’s speed and low cost to enhance and improve products in a shorter time frame.

What is the 3D Printing Process?

3D printing is simply an additive process where layers of material are stacked one on top of the other to create 3D objects. Depending on the material and purpose, 3D printing can take many forms. These are the steps involved in 3D printing:

  • Digital design can be done with your computer. You can also scan 3D objects using a scanner or choose a photo to print.
  • To convert your image to an STL file, you will need a Computer-Aided Design. This will allow your 3D printer to print the object. Morphi, BlocksCAD, and TinkerCAD are some of the most popular CAD programs.
  • Based on your specific needs, you will have to choose the right material to print your 3D object. This could be ceramic, metal, or another material.
  • Finally, press “print” to allow your 3D printer to print your object

What is the Best 3D Software?

Numerous 3D design programs have been created because of the popularity of 3D printing in multiple industries. Each program has its own uses and can be used for different 3D designs. Below is a list of the top 3D printing software currently available.


Onshape includes CAD, 3D printing workflows, analytics, admin tools, and an API that supports more than 50 engineering applications. It allows design teams to collaborate more quickly and make better business decisions. This CAD software can be used to model advanced robotics, agricultural equipment, biomedical devices, and consumer products. The subscription cost is $ 1,500 per year.


Rhinoceros, a powerful modeling program for creating 3D designs, is highly versatile. With relative ease, you can create, edit and analyze 3D models. You can also render, render, and animate them. It is mainly used by interior designers and architects to visualize space before construction.

Rhinoceros allows you to transform hand-drawn sketches into 3D visualizations. There are no limitations on the complexity, degree or size of your hardware. You can license it for $915 per license.


TinkerCAD by Autodesk, a free online 3D modeling and coding program, is for beginners. The intuitive block-building feature allows users to create models using a basic set of shapes. TinkerCAD includes a vast library of millions of files to help users find the right model for their project.

TinkerCAD can be used to interact with third-party printing services. It also comes with lesson plans that are available online and in the classroom. This software can be used by hobbyists, educators, designers, and kids to create toys, prototypes or home decor, Minecraft models, jewelry, and other items.


Solidworks CAD software provides a range of editing tools to facilitate manufacturing, assembly, simulation, 3D printing, and other tasks. It tends to be more industrial in 3D printing. It helps to clarify the relationship between design intention and design response through parametric design.

It allows attributes to be interlinked, and it can automatically alter their feature when one attribute changes. This allows users to create 3D models of high-performance assemblies and parts. It is often used by professional 3D artists.

Also read: 5 Popular Business Models for a Startup You Can Choose From

3D Printing Technologies for the Best 3D Printed Designs

After you have created your design, it is time to print it! There are many 3D manufacturing options available. The material you want to print on, and the industry for which the product is intended, will determine the method you choose. These are the top 3D printing techniques and their uses.

Fused deposition modeling (FDM)

This is considered to be the most well-known type of additive manufacturing. It works by pushing a filament made of solid plastic or other materials into the hot end. The hot end then extrudes thin streams of molten material in layers to create the desired 3D part. This allows the printer head to control the movement of the layers one at a time, defining the printed shape.

This is used in prototyping and rapid production in various industries such as automotive, manufacturing, medicine, and aeronautics. It uses plastic material for 3D printing, including polymers like ABS, PolyCarbonate(PC), Polylactic acid [PLA], Polyethylene Terephthalate (“PETG”), and others.

Stereolithography (SLA)

This type of additive manufacturing is the most popular. This works by inserting a filament of either solid plastic or other materials into a hot end. To create the desired 3D part, the hot-end extrudes thin streams of molten material in layers. This allows the printer head to control the movement of each layer, thus defining the printed shape.

This process creates fine features and smooth surfaces. This process can be used for manufacturing, including printing custom tools, molds, and jewelry. Stereolithography can be fast and produce any design. However, it can also be costly.

Material jetting (Polyjet)

The process works similarly to inkjet printing, except that it does not lay down the ink on a page. Instead, it deposits layers from one or more print heads. This allows for high-quality, full-color visual prototypes. It can be used for teaching, medical, casting patterns, and making molds.

It is a precise process but it is also one of the most costly 3D printing methods. The parts are not strong and will degrade over time. This allows the creation of electronic devices.

Selective Laser Melting and Selective Laser Sintering (SLM/SLS)

Selective Laser Melting ( SLM ) uses a high-power laser to melt and fuse metallic particles together. This technique is used in a variety of industries, including medical, aerospace, aviation, jewelry, and for melting and fusion of various metals such as titanium, copper, and nickel.

This process can create parts with exceptional physical properties, often stronger than conventional metals, and excellent surface finishes. This is a great advantage for prototyping and tooling.

Binder Jetting

The binder jetting process involves depositing a thin layer (e.g., metal, resin, or ceramic) of powdered material onto the build platform. The adhesive is then dropped onto the build platform. This glue is then deposited by a printer head to bond the particles together. Binder Jetting can be used for many purposes, including creating full-color prototypes and molds as well as low-cost 3D-printed metal parts.

Ceramic and metal are the most common materials used in this process. It is also used in aerospace, medical devices, industrial applications, part casting, and many other uses.

Fused filament fabrication (FFF)

Fused filament fabrication (FFF) is a 3D printing method that uses continuous filaments of a thermoplastic material. The filament is fed through a large spool and deposited on the growing material. This is used for prototyping, rapid manufacturing, medical, machine design, food, and other applications.

This allows you to fuse many materials, including wood, metal-infused thermoplastics and food. Because it uses low-cost materials, this is one of the most affordable 3D printer technologies. You can switch between materials easily and print multiple materials in a quick printing process.

Electronic beam melting (EBM)

The raw metal or wire material is subjected to a vacuum, and then the electron beam heats it together. This hot process produces parts that are free from residual stress. The vacuum also ensures a controlled and clean environment.

Because it uses whole metal powder, this technique creates high-density products. It is used primarily in the automotive, medical, and aeronautics industries.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) works with photopolymers and is very similar to stereolithography. The main difference is the source of light. DLP technology uses a conventional light source such as an arc lamp and a liquid crystal panel. The photopolymer resin is then applied to the entire vat in one pass. This makes it more efficient than stereolithography. It produces 3D printed parts of high precision and excellent resolution, which are perfect for prototyping.

The Future of 3D Printing

3D printing is changing the face of manufacturing. It provides quick and inexpensive solutions for prototyping and manufacturing. It has revolutionized manufacturing, where previously specializations and tools were required for industrial success. 3D printing is quickly closing this gap. 3D printing business opportunities continue to expand across all industries. With 3D printing technology constantly improving, it’s not surprising that 3D printers could soon be commonplace in homes and offices.

What is 3D printing in simple words?

3D printing can be described as a method of creating solid three-dimensional objects. A 3D printer is used to build the object layer by layer. Printing 3D objects can be done with a variety of materials, including plastics, metals and ceramics.

What are the differences between 3D printing and traditional manufacturing?

Traditional manufacturing involves skilled labor and additional materials like molds for injection molding and tooling to create specialized objects. To create an eco-friendly 3D object, 3D printing requires only CAD software, a computer, a printer, and material.

What is the main use of 3D printing?

Businesses have many options for 3D printing to make prototyping easier. They can also create complex designs and high-quality products using 3D printing.

Written by
Aiden Nathan

Aiden Nathan is vice growth manager of The Tech Trend. He is passionate about the applying cutting edge technology to operate the built environment more sustainably.

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