3D Printing Terminology Part One

Written by Abigail    2022-07-28

As a beginner of 3D Printing, you may encounter a lot of words of science and industry-specific, which may confuse you. But there is no need to worry, this article will introduce common words of 3D Printing and explain every 3D Printing terminology. Moreover, we deliver detailed descriptions of the terms that should help you understand them smoothly.3d printing common words, 3d printing terminologies

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Part 1. 3D Printing Terminologies

1. CAD

CAD, also known as Computer Aided Design, is a modeling process that design parts before 3D Printing. Many industries utilize CAD as well, such as engineering, architecture, etc. Basically, there are two types of CAD software, which are 2D and 3D. While 3D CAD can be further divided into three categories. They are wireframe modeling, solid modeling and surface modeling in which solid modeling 3D CAD is the most commonly used one for 3D Printing. The major reason is that solid modeling is ideal for creating functional parts in reality.

While in surface modeling, sculpting is usually used to create organic shapes for characters. There are a lot of sculpting tools on the market, such as Blender, ZBrush, Meshmixer, Sculptris, and 3D Coat, etc. You can choose the one that meets your needs easily.

As a variety a different CAD programs available on the internet, and they cover all budgets and experience levels. Beginners can learn and use free CAD software to get started, such as SketchUp Free, TinkerCAD, Wings3D, etc. While software like Fusion 360, AutoCAD, and SolidWorks that have more functions, features, and tools are more suitable for experienced designers.cad, cad software, free cad software, cad programs, 3d cad

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2. STL

STL is the defacto file format of 3D Printing. The former step of exporting STL file is CAD design that we just mentioned above. It is said that STL is the backronym of Standard Triangle Language, Standard Tessellation Language, or StereoLithography. It is file format that describe only the surface geometry of the design without any color, texture, and any other attributes in CAD modeling. STL file is commonly used in 3D Printing, rapid prototyping, and computer aided manufacturing. Many CAD-software support STL file format and can detect and amend errors automatically, which means exporting STL file successfully is no big deal. stl, stl file cad design

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3. G-Code

We've talked about STL file which is a file format that output of a CAD software and store data such as geometric shapes and layer height of the 3D model. However, most of the 3D printers cannot print STL files directly as they cannot read and understand the language of STL files. So, what can we do after exporting STL file from CAD program?

As 3D printer is building the 3D object layer by layer, all we need to do is to let the 3D printer know the data of every layer, which is called G-code. G-code provides instructions to the printer and tell it which coordinates to move, how fast to move and what path to follow. Therefore, G-code is generally the numbers that 3D printers can read, and 3D printer turn these numbers into shaping a real object. Nevertheless, you may ask how to generate G-code and which software should use?stl file, g-code, 3d printers

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4. Slicer

To generate G-code file is an easy click of pressing the "Slice" button of a slicer software, and eventually you will see every layer of the 3D model displays from bottom to top. You can set layer parameters like layer thickness when coveting STL file to G-code by the slicer. This step will define how the model will be printed by the printer. As slicer is such a great tool in 3D Printing process, which one is the best? Here are our recommendations for you!g-code file, slicer software, slicer, covert stl file to g-code

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5. AM/ FDM/ SLA/ SLS/ MJF, and More

There are many acronyms in 3D Printing world and make beginner confused. First of all, we want to talk about some acronyms about 3D Printing technologies, such as AM, FDM, SLA, SLS, MJF, etc.

AM, addictive manufacturing is another word for 3D Printing as it is a process of adding material layer by layer. FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modeling, it is an entry level technique in 3D Printing. Many 3D Printing fans own a desktop FDM 3D printer as it is cost-effective and easy to use compared with other 3D Printing technologies.

SLA, also know as Stereolithography, prints liquid resins and produces parts with smooth surface finish.

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and MJF (Multi Jet Fusion) are printing nylon powders and eventually build a solid object. They both can print parts with complex geometries without any support structures, the major difference is the MJF is invented by HP and the material is exclusive.

DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) SLM (Selective Laser Melting) is the breakthrough of 3D Printing as the technology prints metal directly.

There still remains many other acronyms of 3D Printing technologies, please stay tuned and we will introduce more in the future articles!am, fdm, sla, sls, mjf, slm, dmls, 3d printing acronyms

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6. Curing

When we talk about curing, it must indicate to the special 3D Printing technique-SLA/ DLP/ LCD. Take SLS an example, as SLA is a process of printing liquid resins layer by layer, it is actually curing liquid resins by the UV laser light. So, curing means curing resins and eventually build a solid object. Besides, there is another step of curing after printing parts by SLA/ DLP/ LCD, post-curing. The resin printed parts need to be cured again to ensure properties, we call the process post-curing.curing, post-curing, sla, dlp, lcd

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7. Filament

Filament is the printing material of FDM 3D printers, you can assume it is the paper for 2D printers. With the development of 3D Printing and new materials, you can print with the vast array of materials available nowadays. One of the most popular filaments is polylactic acid, also called PLA, the material is beginner-friendly but the mechanical properties are relatively lower than other filaments such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polyethylene terephthalate modified (PETG). But printing the later materials successfully are not an easy task. And somehow you can also print nylon or metal filaments by FDM printers, but it is much harder than printing plastics, and the printing settings are more complex.filament, fdm filaments, pla, abs, petg

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Alright, this is part one of 3D Printing terms, and we will keep updating this subject on our website. Stay Tuned!

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