3D Printing Glossary

by Jason King on April 12, 2014

We recently added over a hundred new definitions to this already extensive Glossary, but we’re not done yet. If you have any suggestions for 3D printing terms we’ve missed then Contact Us and let us know. If you’d like to learn more about 3D printing, please Download Our FREE Beginners Guide to 3D Printing at Home eBook, it’s packed full of useful, interesting and free information. Finally, feel free to Like, Share and Bookmark this page. Enjoy…

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3D Batch Control

A cloud 3D printing service introduced by Sculpteo in January 2014. Specifically designed for professionals and businesses in need of short-run manufacturing, it allows users to upload a 3D file, change its dimensions in a browser and order the design to be printed and shipped.

3D Bioplotter

A 3D bioprinter, manufactured by Envisiontec, that uses a syringe-like mechanism to deposit materials that form well-defined structures. For forming human tissues, the dispenser is loaded with cells, agar, collagen, alginate and fibrin which are all components of normal human tissues.

3D Bioprinter

Any 3D printer which uses bio-ink in order to produce living tissues. Examples include NovoGen MMX and BioAssemblyBot.

3D Bioprinting

The process of generating spatially-controlled patterns of cells (tissues) through additive manufacturing technologies. Organovo is one of the pioneers of 3D bioprinting.

3DCrafter

An intuitive 3D printing software that uses a drag-and-drop approach to 3D modeling. It is created and distributed by Anabilis Software. The basic 3DCrafter is free while 3DCrafterPlus and 3DCrafterPro are paid versions which incorporate additional features for more detailed modeling.

3DLT

A 3D printing marketplace based in Covington, Kentucky. It allows users to upload 3D files and the company then prints and sells those files.

3Doodler

A 3D printing pen developed by Peter Dilworth and Maxwell Bogue of Wobbleworks. It was funded through a Kickstarter campaign that raised about USD $2.3 million. It is basically a compact FFF 3d printer that extrudes ABS material from its tip.

3D Printing

3D printing is a term that is commonly used to describe any process in which a solid tangible object is created from a computer model. It is often used interchangeably with additive manufacturing.

3D Printshow

An annual 3D printing exhibition in which several additive printing companies demonstrate their latest innovations in 3D printing. In 2015, it will be held on 12th and 13th of March in Madrid.

3D Sand Casting

A process where molds are created in sand by either fusing the granules together using SLS or by using a high grade resin. The molds are then filled with molten metal to produce solid metal objects.

3DS Max

A professional 3D modeling, animation and rendering software developed by Autodesk. It can be bought for $3675 USD.

3D Systems Corporation

One of the largest 3D printer manufacturers in the world, founded by Charles Hull who invented the first 3D printer back in 1984.

3DTin

One of the simplest 3D modeling tools, requiring no installation or plugins. Models can be created and edited directly within a browser with WebGL support (Google Chrome or Firefox) and exported in popular formats including STL, OBJ and DAE. 3DTin was acquired by the 3D design company LAGOA in late 2012.

A

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ABS-ESD7

A form of ABS, developed by Stratasys, that is static-dissipative and is ideal for use in electronics.

ABSi

A variant of the thermoplastic ABS, developed by Stratasys, which is not only stronger than standard ABS material, but also translucent, making it suitable to build transparent components that allow light to pass through.

ABS M30

A variant of the thermoplastic ABS, developed by Stratasys, that specializes in tensile, impact and flexural strength. It is up to 70% stronger than standard ABS and is ideal for conceptual modeling, functional prototyping, manufacturing tools and end-use parts.

ABSplus

A variant of the common thermoplastic ABS, developed by Stratasys, that is 40% stronger than the standard ABS material.

AC3D

A professional 3D design software package available for $90 USD.

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Thermoplastic commonly used to make filament for use in FFF 3D printers.

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate (ASA)

An ultraviolet-resistant thermoplastic, produced and marketed by Stratasys. It offers best aesthetic appearance of any FDM material available and has wide range of applications including commercial goods, sports goods and construction materials.

Additive Manufacturing

See 3D Printing.

Additive Metal Manufacturing (AMM)

Any 3D printing process which builds up metal objects in layers, but often refers to the process of binding or fusing powdered metal together.

Airwolf 3D

A California-based 3D printer manufacturing company founded in 2012 by Erick Wolf and his wife, Eva. It advocates the RepRap goal of self-replicating 3D printers. Products include the 3D printers AW3D HDL, AW3D HDR, AW3D HDx and AW3D HD2x with prices ranging from $2100 USD to $4000 USD.

Alumide

A mixture of aluminium and plastic powder which is used to produce objects with a metallic look and feel but at a much lower cost than pure metal.

Arcam

A manufacturer of additive printers that use Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology which build up objects from metal powders.

Art of Illusion

A free open-source 3D modeling and rending software written entirely in Java. Despite being free, its features are comparable with many commercial 3D printing softwares. Some of these features include subdivision surface based modeling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.

AutoCAD

A commercial software for computer-aided design (CAD) developed by Autodesk. It was first released in 1982 and has remained Autodesk’s flagship product. It is now in its 29th generation and is one of the most widely used CAD softwares throughout the world.

B

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Bed

Another name for a 3D printers build plate, which is a flat surface in which the parts are made.

Belt

Non stretchy toothed drive belt normally used to transfer rotational movement between motors and other parts.

Binder Jetting

Any inkjet-style technology which jets a liquid onto a powdered material in order to bind it together and build up an object in layers.

BioAssemblyBot (BAB)

A six-axis 3D bioprinter that was produced by the collaboration of Advanced Solutions and Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (CII). It succeeds the BioAssembly Tool (BAT) and brings several improvements over it including improved software called Tissue Structure Information Modeling (TSIM).

BioAssembly Tool (BAT)

An earlier version of the BioAssembly Bot (BAB) that was limited by its software. A lot of time had to be invested in writing instructions for it.

Bio-compatible Polyjet Photopolymer (MED610)

A photopolymer for use in SLA printers. It is bio-compatible and so, is ideal for manufacturing medical materials used in contact with skin or mucous membranes.

Bio-inert Hydrogel

A material used as a support for tissues during the bioprinting process. It is non-reactive to tissues.

Bio-Ink

A culture of live cells which are used as the material for a bioprinter. This phrase was coined by Organovo, a bioprinting company on the NYSE.

Blender

A free open-source 3D software. It is a powerful software featuring a number of efficient commands for fast operation including single-key keyboard commands. It is available for all major operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux.

Breakaway Support Technology (BST)

Used by printers which add disposable supports to sloping, or overhanging parts. These supports then have to be manually removed by hand when the object is complete.

BRL-CAD

A free open-source 3D modeler that incorporates several high-end features such as geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing and signal processing tools. It is multi-platform with versions available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux.

C

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Catalyst

Any substance which speeds up chemical reactions but without being consumed in the reaction itself.

CGTrader

An online marketplace for 3D models. It is an open marketplace allowing designers to upload their 3D models which they can then exhibit and sell online to interested buyers. Buyers can also order a 3D printed version of the model which is handled by Sculpteo.

Cheetah3D

A powerful commercial 3D modeling software that also allows users to render and animate 3D models. It is exclusive for Mac OSX and is priced at $69 USD.

ChefJet

A 3D sugar printer manufactured by 3D Systems Corporation. It comes in two forms: the monochrome Chefjet 3D printer and the full-color Chefjet pro 3D printer. Sugarlabs, the original creator of the project, was acquired by 3D Systems Corporation in 2013.

Choc Creator

A 3D printer that prints chocolate. It is manufactured by Choc Edge. The first version Choc Creator V1, launched in 2012, was replaced by Choc Creator V2 in 2014 which brought improvements such as a bigger syringe and better temperature regulation of the chocolate, allowing the V2 to print for longer periods with better consistency.

Choc Edge

A UK-based 3D printing company known for producing the first chocolate 3D printer “Choc Creator V1” in April 2012. This was subsequently replaced with “Choc Creator V2” in 2014.

Computer-aided Design (CAD)

The use of computer technology (including various software) for creation and modification of designs. Almost all 3D printers rely on CAD for creation and editing of virtual objects that are later printed.

Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAM)

The use of computer software to control machine parts for manufacturing objects. 3D printing is a type of CAM in which various software are used to give instructions to a 3D printer to print a desired object.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC)

Machines which allow digital tools to be crafted automatically.

Concept Model

A physical model of a final product which demonstrates its form but which may lack details, texture and functionality.

Cube

Range of thermoplastic extrusion 3D printers produced by 3D Systems, first developed in January 2012.

Cubify

Website run by 3D Systems based around their Cube printers. Not only does it sell printers but it provides a 3D printing service, sells a range of objects and supports the Cube owning community.

Curing

The process of hardening a liquid or other material to produce it’s final form.

D

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Darwin

Also known as RepRap 1.0, this printer was one of the first RepRap printers and is capable of replicating many of its own parts.

da Vinci 1.0

An FFF printer that is produced by XYZ printing. It has a build volume of 20x20x20 cm and retails at USD $499.

da Vinci 1.0 All-in-One (AiO)

A combination of da Vinci 1.0 3D printer and a 3D scanner that is produced by XYZ printing. It has a build volume of 20x20x19 cm (similar to da Vinci 1.0) and a price of USD $799.

da Vinci 2.0 duo

An FFF printer, produced by XYZ printing, that features two extruders for multi-color printing. It has a build volume of 47x51x57 cm and a price of USD $649.

Dental Photopolymers

Photopolymers for use in dental industry. Stratasys offers three types of dental photopolymers which include VeroDent (MED670), VeroDentplus (MED690) and VeroGlaze (MED620). They are used for producing artificial teeth, veneers and diagnostic wax-ups.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) Projection

The solidification of a photocurable polymer liquid using a DLP projector. This solidifies the liquid one layer at a time and can be used to produce very high resolution objects in a very short time.

Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM)

The production of final products or components using 3D printing technology.

Directed Energy Deposition

Similar to DMLS except metal powder is deposited from a print head before fusing it together with a laser. This allows the repair of objects as well as their manufacture.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

Using a laser to selectively heat and fuse a vat of metal powder, in order to build up a 3D object in layers.

Discov3ry

A 3D printer add-on, manufactured by the company Structur3D, that can create a paste from a wide variety of materials such as silicone, plastic and Nutella. It has its uses predominantly in the food industry. For instance, it can be used to make complex cake toppings using icing sugar.

Do It Yourself (DIY) 3D printers

These printers require users to assemble the printers from parts and print objects without the aid of experts or professionals. Examples include Printrbot kits and several RepRap printers such as “Darwin” and “Mendel”.

Drop On Demand (DOD)

A material extrusion process used to make sacrificial molds or patterns made from a special casting material.

E

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Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF3)

An additive manufacturing process that uses a focused electron beam in a vacuum environment to create a molten pool of metallic substrate. Ideal to make complex, net-shaped parts.

Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

The use of an electron beam to selectively melt and fuse together metal powder to create an object layer by layer.

Envisiontec

A manufacturer of professional-grade 3D printers.

Extrude

The process of pushing out a melted build material (usually plastic), in order to build up a 3D object as it cools and solidifies.

Extruder

The part of a 3D printer which consists of a cold end to pull in the build material and a hot end to melt and extrude the build material.

F

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Fab@Home

An open source 3D printer which uses a syringe type extrusion mechanism. This means it can be used to produce objects out of a range of materials including: silicon rubber, cake icing, cheese, PlayDoh and clay.

Filament

This can refer to the wire made from build material (commonly 1.75mm or 3mm in diameter) which enters the cold end of the extruder, or the heated wire (commonly less than 1mm in diameter) which exits the hot end of the extruder.

Foodini

A 3D food printer manufactured by the company Natural Machines. It operates like a regular 3D printer but instead of printing plastics, it squeezes out edible ingredients from stainless steel capsules. The co-founder of Natural Machines, Lynette Kucsma, calls it a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven.

Formlabs

A company in Somerville, Massachusetts that designs and manufactures desktop 3D printers. It came to public attention when it raised approximately 3 million dollars on Kickstarter for its first printer, Form 1.

Form 1

A 3D printer that uses stereolithography (SLA) process. It was announced by Formlabs in October 2012 after the company raised around 3 million dollars for it on Kickstarter. It brought the expensive stereolithography technology in an affordable, desktop-class package.

Form 1+

An upgraded version of Form 1, released by Formlabs in June 2014, at the same price tag as Form 1 ($3,299). It brought improvements in speed and print quality.

FreeCAD

A general purpose and open-source 3D modeling software. It is aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design. It is multi-platform with software packages for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX systems.

Frog

Sometimes referred to as squashed frog and is the part of a printer which the printing plate connects to. The term originates from the RepRap Sells Mendel part that looked like a squashed frog.

Functional Prototype

Representation of a final object to test out it’s form, fit and function, but without necessarily using the final materials, colours or texture.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Both the term and it’s acronym are trademarks of Stratasys. The equivalent term fused filament fabrication is often used instead as it has no legal constraints unlike the trademarked versions.

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)

The process of building up an object by depositing a material on top of or next to other material in order to join the two, usually by using heat or adhesion.

G

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G-Code

The format of information which some 3D printers use to control them and which is sent from a computer to the printer.

Geomagic Design

A commercial 3D modeling software published by 3D Systems. It is available for $2000 USD.

Geomagic Design Elements

A basic form of Geomagic Design with several features excluded that is available for $1000 USD.

Granular Materials Binding

The binding together of powders in order to build up a 3D object in layers. Binding can be in many forms, such as binder jetting, sintering or melting.

H

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Hardening

See Curing.

Heated Bed

Type of build plate used in many 3D printers which keep the base of the build object warm to prevent the object from cooling unevenly and warping as a result.

Hot End

Nozzle part of an extruder which heats the build material and extrudes it to build up the final object.

Hyrel 3D

An Atlanta-based company that manufactures 3D printers based on FFF technology. Its products include Hyrel Engine, featuring an open build area and Hyrel System, which has a closed build area. It started in September 2012 as a Kickstarter project when it raised about $150,000 USD.

Hyrel Engine

The less expensive of the printers offered by Hyrel 3D. It features an open build area and a built-in LCD. Optional features include embedded PC and heated build platform. It comes in five variants: Tinkerer (E1), Hobbyist (E2), Apprentice (E3), JourneyMan (E4) and Professional (E5) with prices ranging from $2045 USD to $3095 USD.

Hyrel System 30

The more expensive of the two printers offered by Hyrel 3D. Its features include a closed build area, a built-in PC and LCD and chamber lighting. It has a build volume of approximately 8x8x8 inches and a price range of $4000-7000 USD.

I

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i.materialise

An online service owned by Materialise which allows users to sell, upload and print 3D designs.

Inkjet Bioprinting

A type of bioprinting in which a bioprinter extrudes liquid droplets of bio-ink onto a substrate to form tissues. The printer is capable of moving in the X and Y axes while the platform moves up and down to provide the z axis.

Invetech

A research company that specializes in custom automation systems for use in biomedical fields. It is known for partnering with Organovo to form the innovative 3D bioprinter NovoGen MMX.

J

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K

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Kapton Tape

Polimide adhesive tape which is heat resistant and is often used on the surface of a heated bed to build the object on.

Kudos 3D

A 3D printer manufacturing company that raised approximately $700,000 in June 2014 on Kickstarter for its Titan 1 SLA 3D printer.

L

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Laminated Object Manufacture (LOM)

The process of building up an object by binding together laser cut sheets of plastic, foil or paper in order to build up an object.

Laser-Assisted Bioprinting

Less common than other types of bioprinting (inkjet and microextrusion), laser-assisted bioprinting utilizes focused laser pulses to form patterns of cells in a substrate.

LaserCUSING

The use of high powered lasers positioned very close to a bed of metal powder in order to fuse it together to form a homogeneous material structure.

Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS)

Directed energy deposition technology invented and trademarked by Optomec.

Laser Powder Forming

See Directed Energy Deposition.

Layer Plastic Deposition (LPD)

A form of FFF patented by Zortrax. It involves extruding preheated plastic material in layers that later cools to form the desired object. It is used in Zortrax M200 printer.

Laywood-3D

Composition of wooden fibres mixed with a polymer binder used to 3D print wooden objects.

Low-Temperature Deposition Modeling (LDM)

A thermal extrusion technology that uses low temperatures. This has particular uses, for example in human tissue engineering.

M

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M3D

An American 3D printer manufacturing company based in Bethesda, Maryland. It is known for manufacturing one of the cheapest 3D printer in the market called “the Micro” which starts from USD $200.

Makerbot Industries

A 3D printer manufacturing company based in New York City. It was founded in January, 2009. Although, initially it offered DIY kits but later models were closed box requiring no construction. The company was acquired by Stratasys in 2013 for $403 million. The current generation of makerbot products includes Replicator, Replicator mini and Replicator Z18.

Makerjuice Labs

A manufacturer of low-cost photo-resins for use in SLA printers offering resins at prices as low as $55 per liter.

Material Extrusion

Any technology which extrudes a material in order to build up an object. Examples would be thermoplastics which are heated first using an element, or even cheese which is extruded though a syringe. All are forms of material extrusion.

Material Jetting

Any technology which builds up an object by jetting a photopolymer though a print head before solidifying it using a UV light.

Maya

A commercial 3D computer graphics software developed by Alias Systems Corporation and currently owned by Autodesk. It has wide variety of applications from making 3D models for use in 3D printing to making video games, animated films and TV series. Its price is $3675 USD.

Mcor Technologies

A 3D printer manufacturing company that specializes in 3D printers that use standard A4 paper as their raw material. It is based in Ireland and was founded in 2005. Its products include Mcor IRIS and Matrix 300.

Mendel

It is an improved version of the first RepRap printer “Darwin” and is at the forefront of the RepRap goal of self-replicating 3D printers. It brings several improvements over “Darwin” including a bigger print area, improved axis efficiency, simpler assembly and capacity for tool changing.

Microextrusion Bioprinting

This is similar to FFF printers. It extrudes small beads of biological material on a substrate to form tissues. The microextrusion head is capable of moving in all 3 axes (x, y and z).

Mink

A 3D printer manufacturing company based in New York that specializes make-up 3D printer called Mink 3D printer. As of February 2015, its products are under development.

Mink 3D printer

A desktop 3D printer that prints make-up. The idea was conceived by a Harvard graduate Grace Choi. According to Choi, it can “create any type of makeup, from powders to cream to lipstick”. Still under development, initial price estimates claim a price of $300 USD for the Mink printer.

Monomer

Molecule which can form larger polymer molecules by forming multiple bonds with other monomer molecules.

Multiphase Jet Solidification (MJS)

Ceramic or metal powder is mixed with a binder and extruded to build up an object in layers. The binder is then removed by heat or by chemicals before the object is densified by heating it in a kiln.

N

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Nichrome

Alloy made up of nickel and chromium, often use to make the heating element in the hot end of an extruder, or in a heated bed.

NovoGen MMX

A bioprinter produced by Organovo and Invetech that is capable of forming three-dimensional tissues. It contains two printheads. Hydrogel or bioink can be extruded from any of the two to form tissues. At present, it is being used to form artificial tissues to test drugs.

Nylon 12

A thermoplastic produced by Stratasys that offers high fatigue, friction and chemical resistance. It is ideal for use in automotive and consumer goods industries.

O

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Objet

Israeli company which invented and made commercially available a material jetting process called PolyJet Matrix. Merged with Stratasys in December 2012 so no longer trades under the Objet name.

Organovo

A pioneering bioprinting company who are working on creating human tissues and transplantable human organs.

P

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Parametric

Parametric 3D models are very flexible and can by resized and skewed in all directions.

Pattern

Master version of an object used for making molds. Usually quite tricky to make but with the help of additive manufacturing they are much easier to make.

Photopolymerization

Generic name for processes which use light to solidify photopolymers. Such technologies include stereolithography, material jetting, DLP projection and two-photon polymerization.

Photopolymers

Plastic resins which change their properties when exposed to light. Liquid photopolymers which harden when exposed to UV light are used in the process of stereolithography.

Plastic Jet Printing (PJP)

Another name for thermoplastic extrusion or fused deposition modeling which is a term used by 3D Systems.

Polycarbonates (PC)

A group of thermoplastics that are easily worked, molded and thermoformed. They find applications in electrical, construction, medical and phone industries.

Polycarbonate-ABS (PC-ABS)

A combination of polycarbonate and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) that combines the strength and heat-resistance of polycarbonates with the flexibility of ABS. It is ideal for use in manufacturing, prototyping and modeling.

Polycarbonate-ISO

An industrial thermoplastic which is biocompatible making it ideal for food and drug packaging and medical equipment manufacturing.

PolyJet

See Material Jetting.

PolyJet Matrix

A technology which mixes polymers together during the creation of an object allowing up to 14 different materials to be used while 3D printing a single object.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

Biodegradable thermoplastic which is often made from corn starch or sugar cane and is a commonly used as build material in FFF 3D printers.

Polyphenylsulfone (PPSF)

A thermoplastic used in FFF printers that is known for its heat and chemical resistance. It is ideal for use in automotive and aerospace industries.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Teflon)

A low friction thermoplastic which is used in extruders and other areas where friction needs to be minimised.

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)

Build material which is soluble in water, so is best suited as a removable support material.

Powder Bed Fusion

Generic term for any process which selectively adheres powder together in order to build up a 3D object. Covers such technologies as SLM, SLS, SHS, DMLS and LaserCUSING.

Printrbot

An FFF 3D printer created by Brook Drumm. It is one of the cheapest 3D printers available in the market with Printrbot Simple kit costing just $349. It comes in various models including Printrbot simple, Printrbot simple metal, Printrbot Go and Printrbot Plus.

Pro.Sculpteo

An off-shoot of Sculpteo serving the needs of professional customers.

Q

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R

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R1

An FFF 3D printer manufactured by Robo 3D. It has a build volume of 10x9x8 inches. Features like SD card 3D printing, turn-key 3D printing and 6 months part-replacement warranty make it an attractive offering at $799 USD.

Raft

A disposable base which is printed first onto the build surface, with the object being built on top. Provides more adhesion to the build surface and reduces warping.

Rapid Prototyping (RP)

Any process which uses computer controlled machinery to create a prototype of an object.

Recyclebot

A hardware device that converts waste plastic into filament, which can then be used in open-source FFF 3D printers. Professor Joshua Pearce, the inventor of Recyclebot, claims that the device reduces the cost of filament from $35/kg in the market to 10 cents/kg made from recycled plastic.

Replicator Desktop 3D printer

An FFF desktop-class printer released by Makerbot Industries in January, 2014. Featuring a build volume of 25 by 19.9 by 15 cm, it retails for $2,899 USD. It is the fifth generation of makerbot’s printer and incorporates Wifi enabled software.

Replicator Mini

The smaller form of Replicator Desktop 3D printer with a build volume of 10 by 10 by 12.5 cm and a retail price of $1,375 USD.

Replicator Z18

The Z18 is similar to the Replicator Desktop 3D printer but has a massive build volume of 2000 cubic inches and retails for $6,499 USD.

RepRap

Open source rapid prototyping machine that can make many of its own parts.

Robo 3D

A 3D printer manufacturing company based in San Diego, California. The company rose to public attention when it raised about
$650,000 USD on Kickstarter in 2012. Its principal product is the R1, an FFF 3D printer.

Robocasting

Also known as DIW (Direct Ink Writing). An additive manufacturing process in which filament of “ink” is emitted from a nozzle. This filament is then used to construct the object layer by layer. It was developed in USA in 1996.

S

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Sacrificial Molds

A disposable single use mold used in processes such as sand casting.

Sculpteo

A French 3D printing company that offers 3D printing services through cloud. It was founded in June 2009 by Eric Carreel.

Selective Heat Sintering (SHS)

Created by a company called BluePrint and similar to selective laser sintering. However, it uses a thermal print head instead of a laser to selectively fuse together layers of powder together.

Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

A technology similar to SLS, but which uses a high powered laser to selectively and completely melt together powdered metal.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

A powder bed technology which uses a laser to selectively fuse/sinter together powder to build up a 3D object in layers.

Shapeways

An online company who provide 3D printing services and allow users to share their 3D designs.

Sheet Lamination

See Laminated Object Manufacturing.

Sintering

Heating up powdered material in order to fuse the granules together by slightly melting the outside of the granules.

SketchUp

3D CAD design software originally owned by Google but sold to Trimble Navigation in 2012. Available in both free and paid versions.

Smooth Curvature Printing (SCP)

A process, patented by Solidscape, that eliminates surface ridges during vector printing. Based on motion control technology, it allows curved surfaces in the printed object to be significantly smoother as compared to traditional wax printers.

Solidoodle

A New York-based company that manufactures and sells 3D printers. It was founded in 2011 by Samuel Cervantes, a former Makerbot executive, with a heavy focus on affordability and ease of use.

Solidoodle 3D printer

An FFF 3D printer manufactured by Solidoodle. It is currently in its 4th generation called Solidoodle 4. It has a build volume of 8x8x8 inches and can be bought for $599 USD.

Solidscape

A 3D wax printer manufacturing company based in New Hampshire. It was founded by Royden Sanders in 1993 and produces 3D wax printing materials and software in addition to 3D printers. It was acquired by Stratasys in 2011.

Solidscape Max2

A high-precision 3D wax printer, produced by Solidscape. that can produce wax patterns. It has a build volume of 6x6x4 inches. It is marketed for use in medical and jewelery industries. It employs the company’s proprietary SCP technology and is the fastest and most precise of the Solidscape printers. It is priced at $55,650 USD.

SolidWorks

Leading 3D CAD design software owned by Dassault Systemes.

Soluble Support Technology (SST)

Similar to breakaway support technology, used to support hangover or sloping parts of a 3D model during printing. SST however uses a soluble material so it can be dissolved away rather than having to break it away by hand.

Spot-A materials

A manufacturer of low-cost photo-resins offering resins at prices as low as 65 euros per liter.

Squashed Frog

See Frog.

Stepper Motor

Electric motors which rotate in discrete and precise increments, often used to control printer heads.

Stereolithography

A type of photopolymerization which used a UV laser to solidify a photopolymer liquid in order to build up an object in layers.

STL

File format used by stereolithography CAD software originally developed by 3D Systems in 1987 and still used by most 3D printers today. What it actually stands for is debatable, but it’s most likely to be either Stereo Lithographic or Standard Tessellation Language.

Stratasys

Leading 3D printing company providing high-end printers and services for industrial and commercial customers.

Support Structure

See Breakaway Support Technology and Soluble Support Technology.

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Tango Family Photopolymers

Rubber-like photopolymers for use in SLA printers. Applications include knobs, handles, grips, hoses and footwear.

Temperature-resistant Photopolymer (RGD525)

A photopolymer known for its heat resistance. It is ideal for applications where heat resistance is required such as jigs, fixtures, household pipes, hot air and hot water testing.

The Micro

A small 3D printer manufactured by M3D LLC. It began as a crowd-funding project on Kickstarter where it raised more than $3.5 million USD in May 2014. It is one of the most affordable 3D printers to date with a price tag of just USD $200-300.

Thermoplastic

Any plastic which can be transitioned to a molten form by heating and solidifies again when it cools. They are used especially in FFF (fused filament fabrication) type of 3D printing. Common thermoplastics used in FFF are ABS and PLA.

Thermoplastic Extrusion

The process of extruding melted plastic though a print head nozzle in order to build op an object in layers. FFF printers employ this method.

Thick Sheet

Rigid flat sheet which is used as a build surface and can be made from a variety of materials.

Thingiverse

Popular website which allows users to upload and share their printable 3D designs.

Threeding

An online additive printing marketplace. Started in 2013 by a group of students from the Bulgarian National Academy of Arts, this marketplace allows its users to buy, sell and exchange 3D models ready for 3D printing.

Tinkercad

A free online 3D modeling tool offering features for creating and editing 3D models within a browser.

Tissue Engineering

The modification or creation of living matter and which may be achieved by using a bioprinter.

Tissue Structure Information Modeling (TSIM)

A revolutionary bioprinting software, introduced in BioAssemblyBot, that enables doctors and scientists to design, visualize, collaborate, simulate and analyze 3D tissue models. It simplifies the process of bioprinting which has been plagued by complex, difficult-to-use softwares and thus, saves a lot of time.

Titan 1

A DLP-SLA printer produced by Kudos 3D that raised about $700,000 on Kickstarter for it. The printer is claimed to be 2 times faster than other SLA printers such as Form 1 because of its patent-pending passive-self peeling (PSP) technology. Its price ranges from $1,899 to $2,799.

Transparent Polyjet Photopolymer (RGD720)

A photopolymer for use in SLA printers that allows light to pass through. Its wide range of applications include glass, eye-wear, artistic and exhibition modeling.

TripodMaker

A 3D printer company based in Belgium. It was founded in January 2013 by an engineer Pieter-Jan Vandendriessche.

TripodMaker 3D printer

An FFF delta-type 3D printer, produced by TripodMaker, in which three arms are connected to common joints at their base. It is priced at 1400-2000 euros and uses Polylactic acid (PLA) as its build material.

Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP)

A revolutionary technology which uses a femtosecond pulsed laser to selectively solidify a special photopolymer that solidifies when hit by two protons. Allows X and Y axis resolutions of down to 100 nanometers, making it the highest resolution 3D printing technology currently known.

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Ultem 1010

A thermoplastic with high strength and thermal stability. It is ideal for automotive, aerospace, medical and food-production industries.

Ultem 9085

A flame-retardant, high-performance thermoplastic with high strength-to-weight ratio. It is ideal for use in transport industry, especially aerospace, marine and ground vehicles.

Ultimaker

A Dutch-based 3D printer company that was founded in 2011. The 3D printers manufactured by the company include the FFF 3D printers, Ultimaker Original and Ultimaker 2.

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Vat Polymerization

Generic name covering any technology which uses the solidification of a photopolymer in order to build up objects in layers. Includes technologies such as stereolithography, digital light processing and two-photon polymerization.

Viscosity

Another name for the resistance of flow of a fluid and often used with reference to extruded thermoplastic material.

Vitamin

Any part of a RepRap printer which it is currently unable to print itself. Examples being, nuts, bolts and electronics.

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Wings 3D

A free and open-source 3D subdivision modeler developed by Björn Gustavsson and Dan Gudmundsson. It is available for most platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

Wire and Ark Additive Manufacturing (WAAM)

Based on fused deposition modeling of metals, this is the experimental use of arc welding equipment, which is modified to melt thin titanium wire in order to build up a 3D object.

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XYZ printing

XYZ printing is a 3D printer manufacturing company backed by Kinpo Group, a leading name in electronic manufacturing. It produces FFF printers including da Vinci 1.0, da Vinci 2.0 duo and da Vinci AiO.

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Z-ABS

A thermoplastic manufactured by Zortrax specifically for use in its Zortrax M200 printer. It comes in various colors and can be bought for 27 euros per kg.

Z-GLASS

A thermoplastic copolyester mixed with glass fiber. It is manufactured by Zortrax and can only be used in Zortrax M200 printer. It is ideal for printing translucent objects with high strength and resistance. Its price is 39 euros per kg.

Zortrax

A Polish manufacturer of 3D printers and filaments. Its products include Zortrax M200 printer, Z-ABS filament, Z-GLASS filament and Z-ULTRAT filament.

Zortrax M200

A 3D printer manufactured by Zortrax using the Layer Plastic Deposition (LPD) technology (which is actually a form of FFF). It has a build volume of 7.87 L x 7.87 W x 7.28 H inches and can be bought for 1595 euros at the Zortrax store. It comes preloaded with Z-suite software and features plug-and-print functionality.

Z-ULTRAT

A thermoplastic manufactured by Zortrax. It is notable for its durability and strength making it ideal for prototyping mechanical parts, architectural models and design prototypes.

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