♦ What Is 3D Printing?

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created creates an object. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

Advantages of 3D printing include:

  • New Structures and Shapes,
  • Less Waste
  • Customization
  • No Limit for Design
  • New Combinations of Materials
  • Cheap Manufacturing
  • Quick Production


♦ How Does 3D Printing Work?


  • Design a 3D file with 3D modeling program (CAD — Computer Aided Design Program)
  • Print! (With a service, or on your own machine!)

Instead of printing, real life rendering is also possible with 3D files. Before the production or before printing with ideal material, you can render and see how the file would look.


♦ What Kind of Program Do You Use?

There are various 3D software available nowadays and each program has its own strength. 3D modeling can be a very daunting area to approach. Thankfully, with each new generation of software, we find more and more 3D modeling packages that non-mathematicians can make use of.



Our beginner 3D printing classes will use 123D Design. This program is one particular application in a series of applications known as Autodesk 123D. The 123D Design application is meant to provide the ability to design 3D models, whereas the other applications in the suite are intended for more specialized purposes. The interface for 123D Design is very simple and streamlined. There are not a huge number of tools for you to use. 123D Design is free for personal use and good choice for beginners.
You can download 123D programs at:



A great intermediate level software to use for 3D printing classes is Rhinoceros 3D software. Rhino 3D is a professional modeling program aimed at the modeling of physical things. For example, Rhino is often used to model architecture, jewelry design, automotive design, product design, etc. Rhino is heavily based on the use of curves. The user interface in Rhino is certainly much more dense than 123D Design. Rhino 3D offers 90 days of free trial.
You can download Rhinoceros 3D at: