Introduction to 3D printing

3D printing involves layer by layer construction of a three-dimensional structure based on a three-dimensional CAD model. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing method. Additive refers to the addition of material as opposed to its removal, which is the case in traditional manufacturing.


The technology itself is resource-efficient and improves product characteristics. Adaptable to different geometries, products and materials, the technique is developed for a broad spectrum of materials such as metals, ceramics and plastics.

The five steps of 3D printing

  1. A computer generated component or scanned product.
  2. The product to be printed is prepared in a computer program, i.e. it is decided how the product should be manufactured in a machine. It is decided, for example, how the product is to be built up which affects strength as well as what density the product should have
  3. Manufacturing can be carried out in different ways, for example through laser-melting layer on layer with metallic power or by melting plastic.
  4. Finished components.
  5. Components mechanically released from any supporting materials and the plate for manufacturing.

3D printing can be used for the following:

  1. To produce pieces using complex geometry which would otherwise have been difficult or impossible to manufacture.
  2. To print parts or components which would have been very expensive to manufacture in another way, for example, by milling. It is fast and straightforward.
  3. Testing prototypes. It is easy to print out and test a certain amount and then produce a new one if changes need to be made.
  4. Print assistive tools for assembly, such as design of components which facilitate processing and assembly (lighter components, designed lifting points and controls). Quickly devising individually customised solutions for operations and workplaces, such as tools, grippers and smart fixtures, etc.


This article is tagged with these tags. Click a tag to see all the articles with this tag.

This article is categorised as Introduction  |  Published 2018-01-25  |  Authored by Johan Bengtsson