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3D printing: check out how it works!

What is 3d printing?

What is 3D printing? How does it work? What are the applications of this technology?

In this article, you’ll see the answers to these questions and more!

3D printing allows you to manufacture products with less money and with more precision. Therefore, this new technology has become an increasingly popular solution in the market.

Next, check out what 3D printing is and how it works!

What is 3d printing?

Ordinary printing is widely used to print documents, newspapers or any type of graphic material that is flat. But, with the development of this technology, today we are able to transform this flat print into something three-dimensional.

3D printing is a process that aims to transform a digital prototype into a solid, tangible and three-dimensional object. This technology joins thin overlapping layers to, in the end, create the expected object. Finally, it can take a few hours or even days to complete this process.

In this way, this type of tool soon became popular in the market for manufactured products and printing in general.

That’s because of the precision in the creation and the prices – a small 3D printer can cost up to $300.00. Also, the space occupied by the equipment is much smaller when compared to large production systems of manufactured products.

How does 3d printing work?

How does 3d printing works?

3D printing starts with producing a virtual design of the object to be made. Typically, this step is done using computer-aided design (CAD), software capable of creating extremely accurate and technical drawings.

Also, the digital illustration of the object can be done using a 3D scanner. This technique works by taking multiple photos of the object, taking multiple angles to get an accurate three-dimensional illustration.

Then the illustrated objective must be prepared for printing. To do this, it goes through a “slicing” process. In other words, it is broken into hundreds, perhaps thousands of thin layers by means of specific software. As we saw earlier, these layers will be the basis of the object’s impression.

Finally, the sliced ​​layers of the prototype will be loaded by the 3D printer via a USB cable or Wi-Fi connection. Then, the layers begin to be printed, one by one, until they form the final object.

Now you know how 3D printing works. But, there were still some loose ends… After all, the common printer uses ink to perform the graphic printing. This leads us to some questions:

What kind of material is used in the 3D printer? How are the thin layers created and layered on top of each other to form the final result? That’s what we’ll see in the next topic!

How is an object printed, in practice?

First, the 3D printer will print the thin layers through a process called material extrusion.

Typically, this is done by injecting a semi-liquid material from the equipment, such as plastic, metal, or cement, through the extrusion nozzle.

The extrusion nozzle can move horizontally and vertically, printing the thin layers presented by the object prototype design.

Thus, this procedure is repeated countless times, until all the layers are superimposed to form the final result.

3D printing applications

Basically anything can be created using 3D printing. Currently, many people are benefiting from this technology, from doctors and engineers to ordinary people.

Check out some examples of the use of 3D printing below!

In medicine

Medicine is increasingly benefiting from this technology. Nowadays, doctors are able to create custom prostheses, as well as replicas of bones, organs and blood vessels. Also, there is the creation of medical tools and equipment.

In the automotive sector

In the automotive sector, 3D printing is used by automakers to test and make sure that car parts perform as expected. Furthermore, adaptations and improvements can be made according to the analysis of the tests.

For creating jewelry

3D printing is also used for creating jewelry. Its use makes it possible to create customized parts, with specific sizes and greater precision of details. Moreover, the creation time of the parts can be faster, which guarantees greater agility in the production process.

Benefits of 3D printing

As we’ve seen, 3D printing brings countless possibilities for the creation of new objects and solutions in different markets.

Therefore, we can separate the main advantages of this technology, such as:

  • Very low start-up costs
  • Very fast turnaround
  • Wide variety of materials available
  • Design freedom at no extra cost
  • Each piece can be easily customized

However, 3D printers are still in the development stage. So, we can still observe certain limitations in these devices, such as:

  • Lower competitive cost in larger volumes
  • Limited accuracy and tolerances
  • Lower strength and anisotropic material properties
  • Requires post-processing and removal of support

What to expect for the future?

We can say that, currently, 3D printing is gaining maturity, presenting improvements and new features in its performance.

A few years ago, the technology was considered a big hype hoping for rapid general consumer adoption. However, its use goes far beyond the production of small solutions for people’s daily lives.

Today, the 3D printer is a promising milestone to play specific roles in certain areas, such as medicine, for example.

Therefore, we can expect the development of this equipment with a greater focus on specific niches that involve factory products.


In this article, you have seen what 3D printing is, how it works and what are its practical applications.

Clearly, design presents itself as an important part of this process. After all, the entire development of the digital prototype is carried out based on the design.

Therefore, we can expect more solutions, equipment and improvements from this practice in conjunction with the development of 3D printing.

Now, if you liked this article, take the opportunity to visit our blog and check out other similar content. We look forward to seeing you there!

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