What is 3D Printing?


Also known as rapid prototyping, 3D printing refers to technologies that construct physical objects from three-dimensional (3D) digital content such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer aided tomography (CAT), and X-ray crystallography. A 3D printer builds a tangible model or prototype from the file, one layer at a time, using an inkjet-like process to spray a bonding agent onto a very thin layer of fixable powder. The bonding agent can be applied very accurately to build an object from the bottom up, layer by layer. The process even accommodates moving parts within the object. Using different powders and bonding agents, color can be applied, and prototype parts can be rendered in plastic, resin, or metal. This technology is commonly used in manufacturing to build prototypes of almost any object (scaled to fit the printer, of course) — models, plastic and metal parts, or any object that can be described in three dimensions.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Feb 8, 2012

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • add your response here
  • add your response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • add your response here
  • add your response here

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on STEM+ education?

  • add your response here
  • add your response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • add your response here
  • add your response here

Please share information about related projects via our NMC Horizon Report project submission form.