How 3D Printers Work

Mustang Staff

Students in Mr. Cardenas’ 21st Century Class have used 3D printers to create a number of projects including key chains, Christmas ornaments, and models of machines. 3D printing is the process of making three dimensional objects from a digital file.

Today 3D printing is used to make consumer products (eye glasses, shoes, and furniture), medical and dental products (prosthetic limbs, bone grafts, teeth), and automotive and aviation parts. According to 3D, in the last 17 years, almost all of the hearing aids have been 3D printed by Materialise and Phonak.

Andrew Sink from Tom’s Hardware reports that the most common types of home 3D printers are resin MSLA (Masked StereoLithogrAphy) and filament FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). The MSLA uses A UV-cured material to create a model as it rises from a vat of liquid. FDM printers use a feedstock model fed into a hot nozzle, which produces a less polished finished product.