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3-D printer

See 3D printer.



3D printer

A machine that creates a plastic or metal part one layer on top of another (the additive fabrication method). Used mostly for quickly creating prototypes and molds, 3D printers are also used to build final parts. Available for myriad industrial uses as well as for the hobbyist, a variety of different technologies are used to form the layers. For details, see 3D printing. See personal 3D printer, 3D printing materials and rapid prototyping.




The Industrial 3D Pioneer
Standing in front of one of his company's high-end 3D printers, Chuck Hull co-founded 3D Systems, and his stereolithography technology pioneered rapid prototyping in the mid-1980s. (Image courtesy of 3D Systems, Inc., www.3dsystems.com)










Personal 3D Printers
In the 2012 time frame, these printers debuted for the consumer. From top to bottom (printing technology in parentheses): Formlabs Form 1 (stereolithography-SL), MakerBot Replicator 2 (fused deposition modeling-FDM), and 3D Systems Cube (plastic jet printing-PJP). See personal 3D printer and 3D printing. (Images courtesy of the manufacturers.)






Quite Amazing
Although 3D printing is maturing and gaining enormous ground, it never ceases to amaze people that objects like this can be created a layer at a time.






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