3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process by which physical objects are created by depositing materials in layers based on a digital model. All 3D printing processes require software, hardware, and materials to work together.
Advances are rapidly being made to make 3D printing technology reliable for mass manufacturing production-grade parts, and scientists and inventors are finding new ways to apply 3D printing technology every day.
Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
Also known as fused deposition modeling (FDM). This method of 3D printing heats and extrudes plastic materials. It's common in both consumer and professional 3D printers. Example 3D printers include MakerBot Replicator and Ultimaker 2.
This method of 3D printing uses UV light to cure or harden resins, layer by layer. Example 3D printers include Autodesk Ember and Formlabs Form 1.
Selective laser sintering (SLS)
Common in industrial manufacturing, this method of 3D printing uses lasers to fuse powdered materials together, layer by layer. Example SLS 3D printer manufacturers include EOS and 3D Systems.
Featured 3D printer
Introducing Ember, the first open source, production quality 3D printer. Ember uses high resolution digital light processing SLA technology. Print detailed parts with an accuracy of 25 microns for a smooth surface finish. As part of an open 3D printing platform, Ember can work with a variety of resins.
Additive manufacturing today
Capitalize on improvements in additive manufacturing to create better products faster—and stay ahead of the competition.
Fusion 360 (US site)
Connect your entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform. Send your designs directly from Fusion 360 to your 3D printer or a 3D printing service provider. Try free for 30 days
Within (US site)
Within generative design software solutions help engineers and orthopedic implant specialists produce lightweight, latticed designs for additive manufacturing. Learn more about Within
Create 3D animations for video games, films, and television. Print 3D models for stop motion animation, or print props and parts for scenes that combine live action and CGI elements. Try free for 30 days
Netfabb enables a complete industrial additive manufacturing workflow, from content to machine, making it quick and easy to prepare your models for 3D printing. Learn more about Netfabb
Tinkercad is a free web-based 3D design tool for hobbyists, teachers, and students of all ages. Make home decor, jewelry, toys, Minecraft models, and more. Learn more about Tinkercad
How do 3D printers work?
Learn about the four main 3D printing technologies: fused deposition modeling, stereolithography, direct light processing, and selective laser sintering.
Printing a safer earbud for music lovers
A pioneer of the first in-ear monitors for professional musicians, Asius Technologies used 3D printing to create an earbud that acts more like the human eardrum.