Browse Definitions :
Definition

3-D printing (additive manufacturing)

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)

Networking
  • local area network (LAN)

    A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and peripheral devices that are connected together within a distinct ...

  • TCP/IP

    TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and is a suite of communication protocols used to interconnect ...

  • firewall as a service (FWaaS)

    Firewall as a service (FWaaS), also known as a cloud firewall, is a service that provides cloud-based network traffic analysis ...

Security
  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for ensuring individuals have the appropriate access to ...

  • single sign-on (SSO)

    Single sign-on (SSO) is a session and user authentication service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials -- for ...

  • fraud detection

    Fraud detection is a set of activities undertaken to prevent money or property from being obtained through false pretenses.

CIO
  • change management

    Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization's goals, processes...

  • IT project management

    IT project management is the process of planning, organizing and delineating responsibility for the completion of an ...

  • chief financial officer (CFO)

    A chief financial officer (CFO) is the corporate title for the person responsible for managing a company's financial operations ...

HRSoftware
  • core HR (core human resources)

    Core HR (core human resources) is an umbrella term that refers to the basic tasks and functions of an HR department as it manages...

  • HR service delivery

    HR service delivery is a term used to explain how an organization's human resources department offers services to and interacts ...

  • employee retention

    Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping productive and talented workers and reducing turnover by fostering a ...

Customer Experience
  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

  • customer profiling

    Customer profiling is the detailed and systematic process of constructing a clear portrait of a company's ideal customer by ...

Close