3D printing Lexicon

What is additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a family of manufacture techniques that add material in order to create the form of an object. 3D printing is an example of additive manufacturing since it can be described as the technique of juxtaposing layers of material in order to create an object defined by a 3D model data. Cuboyo is a marketplace for such data. Another example of additive manufacturing is casting.

What is tooling?

Tooling is an ensemble of techniques used in the industry to create objects. Techniques of tooling such as cutting, drilling or folding, all remove material to form an item. Tooling is the opposite process of 3D printing as it subtracts material when printing adds layers of it.

What is an extruder?

The extruder of a 3D printer is the part which lays the material down on the build platform. When the plastic filament arrives into the extruder, it is heated and dropped through a nozzle in a small amount (like a glue gun) following the design that has been instructed to the machine. The quality of the extruder is very important since it is the part of the machine responsible for the quality of the printing.

What does CAD means ?

CAD stands for Computer Assisted Design. It designates all the techniques and graphic modeling softwares used by designers to test and create 3D model data. In other words, CAD embraces all the techniques and softwares used by designers to make virtual designs intended for 3D printing.

What is an STL File ?

STL is the most popular format for 3D printing. The abbreviation stands for Standard Tessellation Language. Many software packages support this file forma making it widely used for 3D printing and prototyping. STL format describes the surface of an object using a three-dimensional system but does not describe its color or texture.

What is a filament ?

Filaments are the consumer goods of 3D printing just as cartridge is for paper printing. Usually, they are wires of plastic that customers can buy in reels. Different types of plastic can be used for 3D printing such as PLA, PVA or ABS. There are two standardized diameters of filaments : 1,75 mm and 3 mm. Filaments can be bought by weight or by meter. Once put in a 3D printer, they are heated with an extruder in order to print an object.

What is a maker ?

The term "maker" in 3D printing designates the people who print objects in 3D. Also, it is often used as a synonym of 3D printer's owner. Cuboyo’s makers can download 3D model data in order to print them at home.

What is a designer ?

In 3D printing, the designer is the person who creates a 3D model data. The job of a 3D model designer is to create a file and make sure it is printable. 3D designers often use a CAD system in the making of their designs. On Cuboyo, designers can upload all their 3D designs and choose a price for it. Makers can then download them in order to print them at home.

What is a build platform?

A build platform is the tray on which the layers of filament are dropped to create the item. In accordance with the printer, it can have different functions. Some build platform, for example, have a cooling function allowing a printed item to cool more evenly.

What does PVA mean?

The abbreviation PVA designates a type of plastic used in 3D printing: Polyvinyl alcohol. This plastic is soluble in water which makes it ideal in 3D printing to create supporting parts for complex designs such as some with a lot of overhangs. For those kinds of designs, a supporting structure during the printing is essential so that the object does not collapse on itself. Once the printing is done, the object is put in water where the PVA is dissolved.

What does PLA mean?

The abbreviation PLA designates a type of plastic used in 3D printing: PolyLactic Acid. This thermoplastic is biodegradable and translucent.. When heated, PLA doesn't smell like hot plastic but rather like a sweet cooking oil. This plastic is very popular among home printers and schools.

What does ABS mean?

The abbreviation ABS designates a type of plastic used in 3D printing: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. This thermoplastic is better known to be the one LEGO parts are made of. It is available in several colors. ABS is appreciated by engineers as it is strong and has a good high temperature resistance. When heated, ABS can waft a strong smell of hot plastic.

What does SLS mean?

SLS stands for Selective Laser Sintering, an addictive manufacturing technique consisting in printing a 3D object using powders instead of liquids. Unlike 3d printers that use heated plastic filaments to create an item, SLS machines fusion layer by layer powders of various materials. Therefore SLS allows the printing of metals, nylon, ceramics and even glasses.

What is slicing?

Slicing is the process through which the designer defines the layers of the to-be-printed object on the 3D model. A 3D printer works usually layer by layer. Therefore, it is important that designers who create 3D model data plan the features of those layers. Slicing allows the designer to define the thickness of the layers but also to choose if parts of the objects are filled or empty.