Browse Definitions:
Definition

3-D printing (additive manufacturing)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: From blockchain to RPA: A look at cutting-edge tech and the enterprise

3-D printing is a manufacturing process that builds layers to create a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model.

To print a 3-D object, the manufacturer uses a computer-aided design (CAD) program to create a digital model that gets sliced into very thin cross-sections called layers. During the print process, the 3-D printer starts at the bottom of the design and builds up successive layers of material until the object is finished.

In the past, the cost of 3-D printing was expensive and the technology was only used by large corporations, but the development of desktop 3-D printers has made the technology more accessible to small and mid-sized businesses and home users. Today, 3-D printers are used to create anything from a new toy or motorcycle part to manufacturing prototypes for testing purposes. Before 3-D printers existed, creating a prototype was time-consuming and expensive, requiring skilled craftsmen and specific machinery. Instead of sending modeling instructions to a production company, advances in 3-D printing have allowed businesses to insource prototype production on a regular basis. 

Michael Feygen is credited with developing the first 3-D printer in 1985. 3-D printing is known by many names; depending upon the context, the term may also be referred to as rapid prototyping, stereolighography, architectural modeling or additive manufacturing. Different 3-D printers use different materials to build layers. Some use liquid polymer or gel; others use resin, which tends to be more expensive. 

The ZPrinter 450 is an automated 3-D inkjet printer for offices.This commercial demonstrates how it builds prototypes.

 

 

This was last updated in September 2016

Continue Reading About 3-D printing (additive manufacturing)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Can food or rocket engine or a human organ be created using a printer?? Find out at http://scientificinnovation.blogspot.in/2013/08/another-dimension-in-printing-3-d.html ... please follow, like and comment on the blog post..
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • cyberextortion

    Cyberextortion is a crime involving an attack or threat of an attack coupled with a demand for money or some other response in ...

  • Cybercrime

    Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves a computer, networked device or a network.

  • National Security Agency (NSA)

    The National Security Agency is the official U.S. cryptologic organization of the United States Intelligence Community under the ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

  • 21st Century Cures Act

    The 21st Century Cures Act is a wide-ranging healthcare bill that funds medical research and development, medical device ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical ...

  • bad block

    A bad block is an area of storage media that is no longer reliable for storing and retrieving data because it has been physically...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close