The terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” refer to processes that automatically build objects layer by layer from computer data. The technology is already well-used in many sectors including transportation, health care, military and education. Uses include building concept models, functional prototypes, factory tooling (such as molds and robot-arm ends), and even finished goods (such as aircraft internal components).
The aerospace and medical industries in particular have developed advanced applications for 3D printing. 3D printing is sometimes referred to as “rapid prototyping,” but this term does not encompass all current uses for the technology. Materials used in 3D printing include resins, plastics and, in some cases, metal. This Stratasys Inc. white paper in particular explores on how additive manufacturing and 3D printing can help bring better products to markets faster.