ABS– Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a commonly used 3D printer material for durable parts that withstand high temperatures. ABS can be post-processed with acetone for a glossy finish. Parts made of this material may contract when cooled.
Additive manufacturing– Additive Manufacturing is the name given to layer-by-layer build processes used in industrial applications. By contrast, “3D printing” is often used to refer to home, hobby, or desktop additive builds. However, media references tend to use 3D printing for both home and industrial uses, as it is the more popular term.
AMF– Additive Manufacturing File Format (AMF) is an official ASTM standard for converting CAD data into a 3D printable/additive manufacturable form. It is XML-based, which makes it easy to describe the shape and composition of any object to be fabricated on any 3D-printer. It was developed by ASTM Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies.
3MF– 3MF is a Microsoft sponsored, open-source format for translating CAD data into 3D printable/ additive manufacturable data. It is XML-based, retaining internal information, color, and other design characteristics.
3D printing– A process whereby three-dimensional parts are built layer by layer, as opposed to subtractive processes that remove material (such as CNC machining) or that create parts through liquefied material injected into a mold until the material solidifies (injection molding). A digital CAD file of a design is converted to data that represents thinly sliced horizontal cross sections. Various 3D printing/additive manufacturing technologies use these data to construct the design. 3D printing is the third leg in a total manufacturing platform. Here’s a video from Stratasys describing 3D printing.
Break away support structure– Many designs for 3D printing/additive manufacturing have features that must be supported during the build of the design. A break away support structure is one that is easily removed from the final design. Light finger or hand pressure is enough to separate the support material from the completed part.
Build time– Build Time refers to the time it will take to build an object. Each 3D printing/additive manufacturing vendor uses different parameters to define build time. These parameters can include machine warm up time, design part orientation, design fill patterns, part cool down time, post processing time, and so on.
Build tray– That part of 3D printers that holds the object as it is being built. Sizes range from 5 by 5 by 5 in. to approximately 3 feet square.
CAD– Computer-Aided Design, a type of software used by designers to create an object. Data from this software is the main input 3D printers use to build parts.
Extrude– In 3D printing, the process of moving a material filament through a nozzle.
Extruder– That part of a 3D printer that controls the deposition of a material filament to build a part. Often, an extruder consists of two assemblies, a hot end that melts and extrudes a thermoplastic material, and the cold end to pull and feed the thermoplastic from the spool.
Filament– In 3D printing, filament refers to the material made into a string shape that is moved through an extruder.
FDM technology– FDM stands for Fused Deposition Modeling and is trademarked by Stratasys Inc. It refers to the 3D printing process known as extrusion.
FFF technology—Fused Filament Fabrication is the non-trademarked term for extrusion. It was created by the members of the RepRap project.
Infil– The interior structure of a 3D printed model. To reduce material use, the inside or underside of many 3D prints are printed in a mesh pattern rather than filled in to a solid interior.
Layer thickness– The height measure of a 3D printed layer.
Multi jetting technology– An additive process where multiple deposition nozzles deposit material to build an object. Depending on the technology, the printer will deposit different materials simultaneously and/or different colors.
PC (material)– Polycarbonate This thermoplastic material is strong, impact resistant, and temperature resistant.
Photopolymer– Photopolymers are materials that react to either ultraviolet or visible light energy. In 3D printing, they are typically used in stereolithography processes.
PLA– Polylactic Acid. This is a biodegradable thermoplastic polymer used as a 3D printer material.
PolyJet technology– another way to refer to multijetting 3D printing technology. Key differences: multi-jet systems tend to use wax as a support material. Polyjet systems often use a gel-like substance; post processing for multi-jet is usually handled by putting the part in an oven and melting the wax. See multi-jetting technology.
Powderbed fusion– A 3D printing/additive manufacturing technology. Energy (such as lasers or electron beam) or chemicals are the most common means of fusing layers of powder into three-dimensional shapes.
Raft– A technique used to stabilize a 3D printed part. Primarily used in extrusion 3d printing, filament is deposited in a latticework pattern underneath the part. Often used with ABS material to help with build table adhesion, and to prevent warping.
Resolution– Often used to measure part quality. Resolution can describe layer thickness or the ability to deliver specific size features. Each 3D printing technology uses different units of measure, including in., mm, microns, and dots per inch.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) – an additive manufacturing process that uses lasers to sinter (rather than melt) powder metal material.
STL– is the first file format created to convert CAD data into data useful to a 3D printer. STL stands for STereoLithography; some say it stands for Standard Triangle Language or Standard Tessellation Language. Chuck Hull, the inventor of stereolithography, is often credited as the developer of the STL file format. STL is still in use today, supporting many CAD programs. Newer 3D printers have features and capabilities not supported by STL, which has led to the development of alternative file formats, AMF and 3MF.
Support structure– 3D printing material included in the build to support various features of a printed object. The support structure material varies by 3D printing machine and build material.
Watertight– A reference that indicates that a CAD file has been properly converted to 3D printing data to result in a proper build, i.e., no holes or gaps from the original CAD design that will result in a flawed build.