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What is 3D printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping, is pure magic.

Well, technically, it’s a manufacturing process that transforms a digital model into a solid 3D object. 3D printing is revolutionary because it enables the creation of designs and ideas previously too complex to manufacture, or too costly to do so. Customization, personalization, and rapid prototyping are possible with 3D printing.

A growing range of materials that can be 3D printed, including ceramic, steel, and metals with silver or gold finishes, enable many more individuals and industries to benefit from 3D printing. Designers can make anything from jewelry and board games to mechanical parts and drone accessories. (We at Shapeways are continuously impressed and excited by the innovative things our community is designing, printing, and selling!)

There are several different 3D printing processes, with selective laser sintering (SLS) being one of the most popular. An object is 3D printed using SLS, a process that takes place layer by powdery layer, with a high-power laser fusing tiny powder particles into the desired 3D shape. This is how SLS brings ideas to life—one single particle, and layer, at a time.

Check out this quick video that shows how 3D printing in SLS works:


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