Now the origin of the term "additive technologies" should be clear. Most digital manufacturing methods rely on the removal of excess material. For example, the same apple can be carved, drilled and cut out of a blank.


Best 3d printer under $500 Money: Master the game
Best 3d printer under 500. Review updated June 2022

Such technologies are called subtractive. In 3D printing, everything is exactly the opposite: the object is built grain by grain, layer by layer, from scratch. Hence the term "additive process".

As we have already said, there are a great variety of 3D printers and they are arranged in different ways. Particularly complex industrial machines that sinter layers of fine metal powders using high-precision lasers can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But desktop options that print with plastic thread are quite affordable for an ordinary amateur.

How functional are printed products?

Let's put it this way: it all depends on the quality of the process and the plastic used. It is quite possible to print working gears for homemade robots or plastic cases for electronic gadgets on a home 3D printer. Hardened plastic composites with carbon fiber additives are even available to seasoned amateur engineers. Of course, souvenirs, toys or a new handle for a frying pan will not be any problem. The great thing is that you will have the opportunity to create unique products or repair things that have long been discontinued. The cost of one part, as a rule, will be higher than that of consumer goods, but there are exceptions here too. At least the same protective casings for a smartphone: see Best 3d printer under 500 as a reference.

Best 3d printer kit under 500

The production of desktop 3D printers is already in full swing, the finished products are cheaper than competitors and are not inferior to them in terms of characteristics or print quality, and you won’t have to run far for service. In addition to FDM printers, there are machines that work with liquid resins cured by light, plastic and metal powders, sintered lasers, and even devices that make high-precision three-dimensional models from sheets of plain paper, but this is a separate topic.

In 2011, a biogel-filled printer printed a human kidney during a TED conference. Two years ago, Adidas announced a new sneaker that can be 3D printed in 20 minutes. And recently, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully tested the spacecraft's engines, which were also printed on a 3D printer: Wiki.

In today's world, 3D printing is not an amazing technology of the future, but a well-studied reality. It is used in architecture, construction, medicine, design, production of clothing and footwear and other areas. At the request of "3D printer", search engines give out hundreds of drawings and prototypes of varying complexity - from a soap dish and a table lamp to a car engine and even a residential building.

Anyone can buy a printer and print a smartphone case, but not everyone goes beyond 3D printing from a drawing. In this article, we will tell you when 3D printing appeared, how the technology can be applied and what its prospects are.