3D Printer Pro Glossary Of Manufaturing Terms

ABS plastic: A type of filament. Stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or the plastic that’s used in Lego bricks. Known for being resistant to shattering when dropped or hit.

Additive Manufacturing: Building a design from the bottom up using successive layers of material.

Build Envelope: The total area that the printer can print in. Example: A printer that advertises a 9-inch x 6-inch x 5-inch build envelope can print objects up to 9 inches wide, 6 inches long, and 5 inches tall.

Build Plate: The bed that the filament is extruded onto. It is often heated slightly to prevent the plastic from cooling down too quickly, which can warp the final product.

Direct Digital Manufacturing: Printing physical parts directly from digital plans.

Extruder Head: The heated nozzle that melts the plastic and places it on the build plate.

3D Printer Filament: An umbrella term for the different types of plastic that 3D printers use to print. Usually comes wound in spools, and is available in a variety of colors and sizes. 3d printer plastic is evolving quickly

Fused Deposition Modeling: A type of additive manufacturing where filament is fed to an extruder head, which melts and deposits the material onto a build plate. The extruder head is guided by 3D software.

Laminated Object Manufacturing: A type of additive manufacturing where thin layers of paper, plastic, or metal are fused together, and then cut down with a knife or laser cutter to make the final product.

Micron Layer: Abbreviated as mm, sometimes written as micrometer. Refers to the thickness of each layer of material that a 3D printer extrudes along the z-axis. One micrometer equals 0.000039 inches.

Open Source: A philosophy based on making plans and designs free and widely available. A contrast to the traditional secretive patenting system for inventions. Within the 3D printing community, there are open source plans for printers, things that can be made with the printers, and the software that the printers run on.

PLA plastic: A type of filament. Stands for polylactic acid, made from renewable resources (i. e. corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane).

Rapid Prototyping: An umbrella term for all techniques