What is 3D printing

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

3D printing is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which is cutting out / hollowing out a piece of metal or plastic with for instance a milling machine.

3D printing enables you to produce complex (functional) shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.

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3D Modeling Software

3D modelling software come in many forms. There’s industrial grade software that costs thousands a year per license, but also free open source software, like Blender, for instance. You can find some beginner video tutorials on our Blender tutorials page.

3D modelling software are often made to suit the functions of the user’s industry. This has resulted in the rise of software suited to specific niches. As a result, there are software applications on the market that cater to aerospace or transportation, furniture design or fabrics and fashion among many others.

For this reason, when you are starting out, the amount of choices can be a bit overwhelming, we recommend starting with Autodesk’s Fusion 360