What is 3D Printing?
3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a digital model. It is also known as additive manufacturing because the physical model is built up one layer at a time. The most popular 3D printers use a process called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), in which a plastic filament is fed through a heated nozzle that melts the plastic. Computer-controlled motors move the nozzle around to create the shape of a layer, which hardens immediately. The object is built this way, one layer at a time, from the bottom up.
What are some practical uses of 3D printing?
Students can create prototypes of their product designs. Instructors can incorporate 3D objects to enhance learning in the classroom by creating automotive parts, complex molecules or cross-sections of organs. 3D printing can also be used to create replacement parts.