3-D Printing Basics

This printer is making a 3-dimensional object.

Have you ever seen a 3-D printer at work? It is amazing! It prints layer after layer, one on top of another. Before your eyes, a detailed 3-D object takes shape.

3-D stands for three-dimensional. This means that the printed object has length, width, and height. Regular printers print ink on paper. The printouts are flat. They are two-dimensional. They have only length and width.

The materials used by 3-D printers are often plastic or metal. Each layer is very thin, but the layers are printed on top of each other to give the object height.

Scientists made a 3-D model before printing this dinosaur skull.

Before a 3-D object can be made, a model must be created. Computers are used to make a 3-D model. Then, the object can be printed.

3-D printing has many uses. It can be used to create one-of-a-kind objects. For example, scientists might use it to make a model of a dinosaur skeleton. But the types of objects that can be made are endless. Toys, tools, chocolates, and even bones can be printed with a 3-D printer.

What Can You Do?       What would you make with a 3-D printer?

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