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3D Printing Dictionary

3D model

A digital file containing data that represents an object in three dimensions. There are many 3D formats including container formats that include skeleton rigging, animations, textures and other assets included with the 3D model. STL is the most popular format for CAD, CAM and 3D printing.

See also:

STL AMF Blender OpenSCAD

3D printer

A device capable of producing an object from digital data (a 3D Model).

See also:

RepRap

3D printing

Creating a physical object from a 3D model. 3D Printing technologies include many different methods of creating objects with FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) currently being the most popular for residential hobbyists and consumers.

See also:

FFF FDM SLA Additive manufacturing

3D printing materials

Materials used in 3D printing.

See also:

PLA HIPS ABS Nylon Polycarbonate T-glase PET NinjaFlex

3MF

A XML based file format originated by Microsoft for use in additive manufacturing. 3MF features a document tree for including human-readable assets and common file formats.

See also:

STL AMF Additive manufacturing

4D Printing

A term used for the next-dimension in 3D printing. 4D models are 3D models that have articulation and have been produced in a single print. 4D printing may produce a model that can be folded, spun or otherwise manipulated without any additional assembly after being printed.

ABL

Automatic Bed Leveling. Strategies for ABL include using mechanical end stops, inductive proximity switches, force sensitive resistors and contact probes to provide feedback used to offset printing to help compensate for uneven or not level beds.

See also:

Bed Leveling

BOM

Bill of Materials. A list of required items (materials) for a project.

Bed Leveling

When printing with an FFF printer having a level bed is absolutely critical to the quality of the first few layers of the part.

See also:

ABL Raft

ABS

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. A common plastic used in 3D printing as well as many toys and household objects. Printing with this material may lead beginning printers to experience part warping and parts not sticking to the bed. A heated print platform or chamber is recommended. ABS can be dissolved in acetone.

See also:

3D printing materials

Acetone gluing

Applying acetone to ABS causes the ABS to melt. This effect can be used to 'glue' ABS parts together.

Additive manufacturing

The process of manufacturing an object by adding material to it layer-by-layer. There are additive manufacturing processes for many materials including metals and plastics. FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) is a type of additive manufacturing.

See also:

Fused Filament Fabrication

Aleph Objects

A Colorado based company dedicated to libre hardware, free software and libre innovation in the 3D printer and personal manufacturing space. Producers of the LulzBot TAZ and Mini printers.

AMF

Additive Manufacturing File. An AMF is an open standard file format for describing objects for use in additive manufacturing (3D printing). AMF is superior to the common STL format.

See also:

Additive manufacturing STL

AstroPrint

AstroPrint, a Kickstarter(tm) project, is a free and open source project to bring wireless management and remote monitoring to your printer. A Cloud Slicer, Remote Monitor and other services are available from their web site.

atomicfilament

US based producer of premium ABS and PLA filaments.

BeagleBoard

An open source hardware platform enabling hobbyists and developers to utilize high-performance and cost-effective single-board computers for their projects. The BeagleBone series of boards are part of the BeagleBoard family.

See also:

BeagleBone Replicape

BeagleBone

The BeagleBone is a series of high-performance and highly accessible computers using embedded Linux. The BeagleBone series of computers are members of the BeagleBoard family.

See also:

BeagleBoard Replicape

Bed materials

Special materials are necessary for the print bed of an FFF printer. The bed material must allow for good adhesion while still allowing the user to remove the part when it has completed printing. Many types of quality print material are available.

See also:

Borosilicate glass Fused Filament Fabrication

Blender

Blender is a very mature open source 3D modelling (and more!) software. Blender can be used to produce 3D models for printing. Version 2.6 and up include a plugin called the 3D Printing Toolbox to aid in producing printable models. This plugin must be enabled through the plugin manager.

See also:

OpenSCAD STL AMF 3D model

Borosilicate glass

A special glass that is resistant to thermal flucatations. This characteristic makes it ideal for use in a printer bed. Pyrex is a trade name for borosilicate glass. This glass is used in cookware and other areas requiring a material resistant to thermal changes.

See also:

Bed materials

Bowden extruder

A 'bowden' setup refers to a configuration where an extruder is remote to the print tool. This extruder pushes the filament through a tube connected to the top of the hot end. 'Bowden' is named after cables that function in a similar manner such as bicycle brakes.

See also:

Extruder Direct drive extruder

BQ

BQ is an electronics, robotics and 3D printing company headquartered in Spain. 3D printing products include an i3 kit, the Ciclop scanner, Horus scanning, ZUM robotics platform, BitBloq Studio and more.

brim

A very wide first layer of a print that is not part of the model. Brims can help with bed adhesion of a part.

See also:

Raft Skirt

Cold end

The portion of an extruder in an FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) printer that is opposite to the hot end. This portion is normally responsible for feeding the plastic into the hot end.

See also:

Fused Filament Fabrication

colorfabb

ColorFabb produces high quality filaments including many exotic filaments.

ColorPrint

An automatic gcode tool from Prusa Research that allows users to add filament changes to their print. Very helpful for single extruder designs. The program relies on good support of the M600 command as implemented in Marlin.

See also:

Prusa Research Open Source Software

Cura

Cura is a complete open source software suite for 3D Printers. Cura includes the CuraEngine slicer and a GUI for common tasks such as configuration, plating and slicing models. Cura supports many different 3D printers and is still in very active development.

See also:

CuraEngine Slicer

CuraEngine

Part of Cura. The CuraEngine can be used as a standalone slicer to produce gcode from 3D models.

See also:

Cura Slicer

Direct drive extruder

A direct drive extruder uses a gear mounted directly to the motor shaft to drive the filament (directly).

See also:

Bowden extruder Extruder

e3d

e3d is a UK producer of 3D printer parts and accessories. Popular e3d hot ends include the Chimera, Volcano, e3dv6 and e3d lite6.

effector

A short-hand commonly meant to refer to an end effector.

See also:

End Effector

End Effector

In robotics an end effector is the last link of a robotic mechanism. An end effector may be a claw, vacuum nozzle or other mechanism. Most commonly used to refer to the platform the hot end rests on in Delta printer designs.

Etcher

Etcher is a tool created by Resin.io to quicly and easily write images to storage devices like SD cards or thumb drives.

Extruder

An extruder is responsible for pushing plastic into the hot end, heating the plastic and then extruding the plastic out to the platform or previous layer.

See also:

Bowden extruder Direct drive extruder

FDM

Fused Deposition Modeling is a term used for a popular method of 3D printing. This term is owned by Stratasys. FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) is the preferred term when not referencing Stratasys technologies.

See also:

Fused Filament Fabrication Additive manufacturing 3D printing

FFF

Fused Filament Fabrication, an additive manufacturing process. FFF is the preferred term to use for 3D printers that use plastic extruders. This term was originated from the members of the RepRap community and its use is unconstrained legally.

See also:

Additive manufacturing RepRap

Filament

Plastic used in FFF printing. Filament is usually purchased in two popular sizes: 1.75mm and 3mm. Filament is used in a variety of materials.

See also:

3D printing materials

Finishing

A 3D printed part can be finished to increase aesthetic qualities. Finishing may involve healing parts of the print with a heat tool, sanding or placing printed parts in a vapor bath.

See also:

Vapor bath

Fused Filament Fabrication

Fused Filament Fabrication, an additive manufacturing process describing how material is additively deposited on to printed material to produce a sturdy object. FFF is the preferred term to use for 3D printers that use plastic extruders. This term was originated from the members of the RepRap community and its use is unconstrained legally.

See also:

FDM Additive manufacturing RepRap

Gcode

Code used to control a 3D printer. 3D models (usually STL) are converted to a series of gcodes that are sent to the printer controller. gcode is in plain text and it is possible to send gcode directly to your printer via a serial console.

See also:

Gcode file

Gcode file

A file produced that includes instructions for the 3D printer. When printing similar parts repeatedly it is often desirable to slice them into gcode once and then repeat sending the gcode to the printer. This avoids any inconsistency in the printed parts.

See also:

Gcode

Heat block

The heat block is the part of the hot end in an FFF printer that holds a heater cartridge (or resistor) and thermistor. The heat block houses the nozzle and is responsible for keeping the plastic at a consistent temperature for extruding.

See also:

Hot end Heat break

Heat break

The heat break is a small section between the heat block and cooling of a hot end. This area is designed to minimize the amount of heat transferred to the cooling area.

See also:

Hot end Heat block

Heater cartridge

A cartridge designed to produce heat from electrical energy. Heater cartridges fit inside of the heat block of the hot end in an FFF printer. Heat is controlled by electronics via feedback from the thermistor.

Heater resistor

An electrical component designed to produce controlled heat when electricity is applied to it. Heat resistors are still very popular with many systems moving to heater cartridges.

HIPS

High Impact Polystyrene. HIPS is most commonly used as a support material and can be easily dissolved in limonene. HIPS is also used as a primary print material and is known to warp less than ABS.

See also:

3D printing materials

Hobbed Bolt

Hobbing is cutting successive grooves into material to create, for example, gears. A hobbed bolt is a standard bolt (usually M8) with hobbing cut into it to be used as a driving mechanism for filament.

See also:

Hobbed Gear

Hobbed Gear

Hobbing is cutting successive grooves into material to create, for example, gears. A hobbed gear is a standard gear (usually mk7 or mk8 style gears) with hobbing cut into it to be used as a driving mechanism for filament.

See also:

Hobbed Bolt

Hot end

The hot end is the part of an FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) printer that heats up and actually melts the plastic. A hotend includes the heat block, heat break and cooling fins. The cooling fins and active cooling fans on some hot ends prevent heat from affecting the rest of the print tool. Often written hot end, hotend or even hot-end.

See also:

Extruder Fused Filament Fabrication Heat block

Josef Prusa

Josef Průša.

See also:

Josef Průša Prusa Research

Josef Průša

Josef Průša is the creator of the Prusa Mendel family of printers. An open source advocate, Josef Průša has made (and continues to make) a large number of advances in open source hardware and software for the RepRap project since 2009.

See also:

Prusa Research RepRap Open Source Hardware Open Source Software

Kamikaze

A full Debian based image for the BeagleBoard computer for use with Replicape. Includes all software necessary to run a 3D printer including Redeem and Toggle.

See also:

Replicape Redeem Toggle

MachineKit

MachineKit is an open source software project with a goal of creating rich software designed for controlling machines. MachineKit is compatible with popular hardware and features modules for controlling harware, processing digital feedback and more.

See also:

Printer controller Open Source

Marlin

A firmware for Arduino based printer controllers.

NEMA

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The NEMA maintains manufacturing standards for electrical equipment.

See also:

NEMA 23 NEMA 17

NEMA 17

NEMA 17 is a standard size and mounting plate for stepper motors. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) designates NEMA 17 as an electric motor with a 1.7x1.7 inch faceplate.

See also:

Stepper motor NEMA 23 NEMA

NEMA 23

NEMA 23 is a standard size and mounting plate for stepper motors. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) designates NEMA 23 as an electric motor with a 2.3x2.3 inch faceplate.

See also:

Stepper motor NEMA 17 NEMA

NinjaFlex

NinjaFlex is a brand of thermoplastic elastomer that produces very flexible yet very stong 3D printed parts.

See also:

3D printing materials

Nozzle

The nozzle is the end of the hot end where the hot extruded plastic exits. Common nozzle sizes have orifices of 0.35mm, 0.4mm and 0.5mm. A smaller nozzle orifice will produce a finer extruded filament at the cost of a lengthier print time and potential errors during a print. A larger nozzle orifice is generally more reliable with a shorter print time while reducing overall quality.

See also:

Hot end

Nylon

Nylon is a very strong material used in 3D printing. Flexible and low warp with good layer adhesion. Nylon must be kept very dry.

See also:

3D printing materials

OctoPrint

An open source web interface for 3D printers. OctoPrint also functions as a dedicated print host for a printer allowing the printer user to queue up jobs and leave OctoPrint to manage them.

See also:

Print host

Open Hardware

The designs and necessary components of a project or product are accessible and redistributable. Like open source software, open hardware is available to use and innovate with. Some restrictions apply depending on the license used by the project.

See also:

Open Source

Open Source

A development model promoting universal access to a product's design, production, software and other aspects. Redistribution of the product's design is encouraged. This model allows anyone to use and contribute to the product with the expectation that any improvements will be redistributed with the project. Many different licenses exist for Open Source software to protect the model of redistribution, availability and usage in commercial products.

Open Source Hardware

Hardware designs made available for redistribution and use. Some restrictions may apply depending on the license the project is distributed under.

See also:

Open Hardware

Open Source Software

Software following a model that allows source code, content and other assets to be redistributed and available. Some restrictions may apply depending on the license the project is made available under.

See also:

Open Source Open Source Hardware

OpenSCAD

An open source software project for modelling objects programmatically. OpenSCAD has its own language that allows a user to define geometry and boolean operations to accurately produce models.

See also:

3D model

PET

Polyethylene Terephthalate. PET is a lightweight and mostly transparent material. PET plastics are often used for food containers, although you should avoid storing consumable items in 3D printed containers.

See also:

3D printing materials

PLA

Polylactic Acid or Polylactate. A very common, eco-friendly, low-warp and mostly odorless filament created from plants.

See also:

3D printing materials

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a very strong material used in 3D printing. Polycarbonate must be kept very dry.

See also:

3D printing materials

Print host

A print host sends control codes to a printer to complete a print. Some printers include print hosts that can use SD cards or file transfers. Most printers require a separate print host.

See also:

OctoPrint Marlin Printrun

Printcore

A python library of RepRap related functions. Part of the printrun project.

See also:

Print host RepRap Printrun

Printer controller

The electronics responsible for controlling a 3D printer. The controller is responsible for interfacing to a host, processing gcode into instructions for the hardware, controlling the hardware and more.

See also:

Print host Marlin RAMBo RAMPS Replicape MachineKit SmoothieBoard Gcode

Printrun

A pure-python host software for 3D printers. Printrun includes pronterface (a UI), pronsole (allows for console control) and printcore (a reusable library).

See also:

Print host

Pronsole

The console component of printrun.

See also:

Printrun

Pronterface

The UI component of printrun

See also:

Printrun

Prusa Research

The company founded by Josef Průša. News and sales of innovative and open source projects including the Prusa i3 printer.

See also:

Josef Průša

Pythonista

A person who is a Python enthusiast or Python programmer.

Raft

When printing an object a raft is sometimes used to improve the adhsion of the object to the printer bed. Rafts can also be used to compensate for uneven print surfaces. When printing with supports a raft can be useful to stabilize the model and supports.

See also:

Skirt brim

RAMBo

An all-in-one printer controller manufactured by Ultimachine. Based on RAMPS, the RAMBo boards are open hardware that you can build, modify and program for. RAMBo is based on Arduino allowing for easy programming, extension and re-flashing.

See also:

RAMPS Ultimachine

RAMPS

RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield. A 3D printer controller built around an ATMega microprocessor and Pololu Stepper Drivers.

See also:

RAMBo Printer controller

Redeem

Redeem is the print host for Replicape powered printers.

See also:

Replicape

Replicape

Open source 3D printer cape created for the BeagleBone Black. Replicape leverages the full power of the BeagleBone and allows a user full access to the underlying Linux OS.

See also:

BeagleBone Toggle Redeem Kamikaze Printer controller

RepRap

RepRap is project that spawned a line of 3D printers capable of producing parts for additional printers (a self-replicating manufacturing machine). RepRap is also a community of individuals dedicated to open source innovation in the 3D printer space.

See also:

Fused Filament Fabrication Open Source Open Hardware

Servo

A servo is an electric motor with a feedback mechanism (usually a potentiometer) that can be used to position the motor. Hobby style servo motors are prone to having their plastic gears slip as well as developing jitter over time. Servos need to be occasionally recalibrated for the best results.

See also:

Stepper motor

Skirt

An outline of a printed part that does not connect to the printed part. A skirt is useful in ensuring that the plastic used in printing is flowing as expected before the printer begins printing the critical first layer of the part.

See also:

brim Raft

SLA

Stereolithography. A method of producing parts from a liquid resin cured into a solid. The plastic resin is usually cured to a solid by a high-energy ultraviolet light. Further hardening of the object can be achieved by exposure to ultraviolet light.

Slic3r

Slic3r is a popular software for 'slicing' 3D models into a format suitable for printing.

Slicer

A software program that reduces a 3D model into 'slices' suitable for turning into instructions for the 3D printer.

See also:

Slic3r CuraEngine

SmoothieBoard

An open source hardware printer controller that can also control CNC machines, laser cutters and more. The Smoothieboard uses a 32 bit Cortex MCU - a much more powerful processor than the Arduino based controllers.

See also:

RAMPS RAMBo Printer controller Open Source Open Hardware

Stepper motor

A stepper motor is a special DC motor with many coils. The motor spindle 'steps' between these coils to achieve predictable and accurate movement. A stepper motor is different from a servo as a servo features feedback for controlled positioning. Common stepper motors are usually indicated by a NEMA standard. Be sure to check the datasheet for the stepper motor you plan on ordering for wiring, shaft diameter, depth and bolt placement tolerances.

See also:

Servo NEMA NEMA 17 NEMA 23

STL

A popular 3D model format used in computer aided manufacturing including 3D printing.

See also:

3D model AMF

T-glase

T-glase is a polymer plastic from Taulman 3D. T-glase is mostly transparent and has the same qualities as PET.

See also:

3D printing materials

Thermistor

A resistor that reduces in resistance when heated. The properties of thermistors aid in controlling the heat in the heat block of an FFF printer by providing a feedback loop to the electronics of the printer which controls the heater cartridge.

Toggle

A very young open source front-end for Replicape powered 3D printers. Toggle includes a rich UI and runs natively from Replicape.

See also:

Replicape

Ultimachine

A Tennessee based 3D printer supply company. Ultimachine offers a variety of products and produces the RAMBo 3D printer controllers.

See also:

RAMBo RAMPS

Vapor bath

Many materials used in 3D printing can be dissolved with chemicals. Placing printed parts in a warm vapor bath can smooth the part and create a very nice finish.

See also:

Finishing