"3D printing is the process of making 3D objects from digital files

What is 3D Printing?

In the simplest terms, a 3D printer converts a file on a computer into an object in real life using plastic, metal, ceramic, or some other material.

A motion image of a 3D printer printing the earth

3D Printing Basics

There are many 3D printers on the market, and so there are a wide range of capabilities, prices, and sizes. There are tiny printers small enough to carry with one hand and large printers capable of printing houses!

A motion image of a large 3D printer printing sections of walls for a house

The most common type of 3D printer is the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer. For reference, the very common Makerbot falls into this category. This type of 3D printer works by laying down layer upon layer of melted plastic onto a bed until, after a few hundred or even thousand layers later, a 3D model is created. This type of 3D printing may not be as accurate as some more advanced types, but it makes up for this in its ease of use. In this guide we learn how to get started printing with FDM 3D printers. (The GIF pictured below is of a FDM 3D printer)

A motion image of a 3D printer printing the earth

Finding a 3D Model