3D Printing Resources: What is 3D Printing?

Learn about 3D printing and discover new resources.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, involves creating a 3-D, physical object based on a 3D model. There are different technologies to create a 3D-printed object, including the ones below.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): Creates a 3D object layer by layer with thermoplastic filament heated to its melting point and extruded from a 3D printer's nozzle. FDM is the most common printing technique.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): Creates a 3D object with a laser that fuses together particles of powdered materials.

Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP): Think of the film Terminator II. A digital light projector bombards a reservoir of liquid plastic with UV images to create a solid, 3D object.

Stereolithography (SLA): Creates a 3D object with a UV laser that hardens liquid plastic or resin in a reservoir.


spools of yeallo, purple, orange, and silver filment

There's a variety materials with which to print. For example, our Ultimaker 2Go uses Polyactic Acid plastic filament (PLA), a bio-degradable plastic often made from cornstarch or sugar cane.

Another common plastic filament is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), which is oil-based and with a higher melting point and environmental impact. Think LEGO bricks.

Our Ultimaker 3 Extended prints in either PLA and ABS.

Here is a glossary of additional 3D printing material.

3D Pens

Coocheer 3D drawing pen

The Coocheer 3D drawing pen - 3D pen of choice for the CSCC Library!

3D pens are small, handheld devices. They're similar to hot glue guns, allowing users to "draw" in 3D by extruding a thin line of liquid PLA or ABS filament, which instantly hardens and creates a 3-D object. Most pens allow for adjustment of speed and temperature and to quickly colors.

Some popular 3D pens are 3Doodler, the Lix, the Scribbler, and the MYNT3D

Digital Scanners

Xbox 360 scanner

You can use scanners to create digital files of objects to manipulate.

Overview of 3D Printing

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