IN THIS CHAPTER
Getting to know basic additive manufacturing
Understanding specialized additive manufacturing
Seeing what current technologies lack
Whenever you discuss additive manufacturing, direct digital fabrication, rapid prototyping, or 3D printing, you’re talking about the same process: translating a 3D design stored in a computer into a stack of thin layers and then manufacturing a real, physical object by creating those layers, one at a time, in a 3D printer. This chapter discusses current applications — and limitations — of this technology.
To translate a 3D virtual model’s design into the stack of layers that make up an object, all 3D printers require the unique coordinates of every element of the object to be fabricated.