USA & Canada
USA & Canada
FDM
Resource Guides

3D printing buyer’s guide

December 22, 2021
3D printing is a process that creates three-dimensional objects from a digital model. It’s often called additive manufacturing (AM) because the objects are built by adding successive layers of material, one on top of the next. Conventional manufacturing uses subtractive methods where the desired shape is created by cutting material away from a solid block. 3D printing is less wasteful because material is only added where it’s needed to create the part.
A 3D printer is the machine that builds the part. 3D printers differ based on the type of printing technology used and the size of the parts they can build. To make the part, the printer gets its “instructions” from a CAD model and software “slices” the CAD model into virtual layers. The printer then applies material where it’s needed to build each layer until the object is completed.

From rapid prototyping to manufacturing to realistic medical modeling, 3D printing opens the door to increased efficiencies and broader business opportunities. 3D printing frees you from traditional manufacturability constraints because your designs aren’t limited by the restrictions of conventional machine and mold tools. You can make things that often can’t be made at all with conventional tools, so you can optimize and create prototypes, tools, medical models and functional parts much more quickly and for a lower cost.

As you begin your search for the right 3D printing solution, this guide will help you understand the questions you’ll need to ask as well as provide insight into the technologies, materials and services available to you.

Download the buyers guide.