Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

3D Printing: What is 3D Printing?

A guide to 3D printing at Joyner Library.

About This Page

This page provides an introduction to the basic concepts of 3D printing.

Already familiar with the basic concepts? The next step is Find/Design Digital Models.

6 Basic Stages of the 3D Printing Process

In a nutshell, 3D printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model. This is typically done by laying down many successive thin layers of a material, also known as additive manufacturing. So, what does this look like? Watch the video below from Adafruit Industries.

The type of 3D printing seen in the video above is called fused deposition modeling (FDM), and build objects layer by layer from the bottom up. They do this by heating plastic filament and extruding it through a small nozzle onto a build plate. FDM is arguably the most popular type of 3D printing and is most often used by hobbyists and other non-commercial enthusiasts. Commercial businesses are also known to use FDM for new product development, prototyping and even manufacturing development. This technology is considered to be simple-to-use and environmentally friendly. 

All of Joyner Library's 3D printers use this process. Here are the six basic steps to go from a digital model to 3D printing a physical object:

images of 3d printing process

3D Printing Process by Kholoudabdolqader is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

 

If you want to know more...

For more information about 3D printing, visit the following links:

3D Printing Help

Have more questions? Need additional help? No problem! Contact us via:

Email

3dprinting@ecu.edu

A staff member will respond to your email within 24 hours during normal business hours (M-F 8:00 am-5:00 pm).

Phone-Teaching Resources Center Service Desk

252-328-6076

A staff member will return your call within 24 hours during normal business hours (M-F 8:00 am-5:00 pm).