3D printing is a process of making a three-dimensional object of virtually any shape from a digital model (more). 3D printing is an additive process, where successive layers of material (more) are laid down in different shapes.

There are a number of additive processes now available, differing in the materials that can be used and the way layers of material are deposited.

To produce layers: some prototyping processes create 3D physical prototypes by solidifying layers of deposited powder using a liquid binder, e.g. 3DP Z Corp’s technology; other processes melt, or soften material, e.g. SLM (selective laser melting) or DMLS (direct metal laser sintering), SLS (selective laser sintering) and FDM (fused deposition modelling); and yet other processes cure liquid materials using sophisticated technologies e.g. SLA (stereolithography).

Each process has its own advantages and drawbacks, however the additive process of 3D printing offers significant advantages over more traditional engineering subtractive processes, with significantly shorter lead-times and lower material costs.

3D printing has proven to yield long-term strategic value by enhancing design-to-manufacturing capabilities and reducing time to market.

For more information on the material and process options available (more), or to discuss your requirements please Contact us.