Sep 18, 2017
3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing considered either very scary or very exciting, depending on your perspective. Manufacturers comfortable in their traditional business model cast a leery eye at 3D printing, and amateur and small-time innovators dream of the endless possibilities. It is a revolutionary technology making replication of tools and other practical items possible in your own home. The potential for innovation has no ceiling.
3D printers print layers of renewable bioplastics (or many other types of materials) into a full physical object. 3D printing works by downloading a file of a 3D model, pushing a button, and watching a printer build a physical representation of the design on your computer screen. The printer is fed by a plastic, sometimes as a string on a spool. The plastic is melted and applied into a layer of the object, instantly cooling to hold to form.
Of course, it isn’t magic. On the user end, it’s a push of a button. Ease of use is one of its main attractions. 3D printers work in several different ways depending on the model you’re using. The industry is evolving so quickly, production processes are in constant flux.