3D Printing Explained
3D printing is a technology that turns 3-Dimensional digital designs into actual physical objects that can be used for prototypes, tooling components, TV/film special effects, decorative items, and even finished production parts.
There are several different processes that come under the 3D printing umbrella, but they all work on the same basic principle of converting a 3D digital design into thin cross sections and depositing material on top of each of these cross sections to produce a 3-dimensional object. This is more commonly known as Additive Fabrication or AF.
The material that you choose determines the process used to produce your model. Some processes can only produce monochrome materials and others can print in full colour, for more information on our material choices and the advantages of each please visit our materials section. As 3D Creation Lab develops we will be adding new technology and materials to our capabilities, so keep an eye on our Blog to keep up to date with the latest news.
The following videos show 3D printing in action:
Parts that are difficult or impossible to make by conventional subtractive methods can be produced by additive fabrication but there are still a few limitations to what can be printed and these include wall thickness, overall physical size and the ability of the software to process your digital designs. These are discussed in more detail in our tutorials and materials sections.
Interested in finding out some more? Have a look at this Wikipedia Article on 3D printing and you may also find the following Wikipedia articles of interest: Direct Digital Manufacture and Rapid Prototyping