3D Printing Terminology
3D printing is a method of creating 3-dimensional objects from a computer aided design (CAD) file. There are different styles of 3D printing, but Dremel 3D printers use the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) process to extrude molten plastics layer by layer, creating a 3D object. Here is a list of commonly used terms to help familiarize you with the technology:
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
|A virtual 3D object typically produced in a CAD program.
|The act of using a computer aided design software to generate a 3D Virtual object.
|An additive manufacturing machine that produces a 3D object by building one layer at a time.
|The act of using an additive manufacturing machine to produce a 3D object.
|The process of building an object one layer at a time.
|Temperature of the heated build surface to aid in better adhesion of the filament.
|Typically a fiber reinforced toothed gear belt, used to transfer movement from a stepper motor to a component of the printer.
|A single layer printed around an object to prevent warping. Similar to a brim of a top hat.
|When the printer is required to print a layer on top of a gap without supports. Just like a bridge over a stream.
|A property of a material that will break without much deformation.
|The surface of which the model is printed on. This can be a fixed or removable surface. A.K.A Print Bed or Print Platform.
|Generally refers to the height of the layer being printed. Similar to the resolution of a TV, the thinner the resolution lines (or layer height) the better the resolution (visual quality).
|The time it takes a printer to complete the model.
|CAD (Computer Aided Design)
|A software used to generate a three-dimensional object in a virtual environment.
|The temperature at which an enclosed printer will reach during printing. Some printers monitor this to maintain a set temperature.
|The transitional edge, typically a 45ᵒ angle, between two right-angled faces.
|Any form of disruption or complete disruption of the filament extrusion process.
|A specially formulated thermal plastic derived from PLA, to mimic the properties of traditional ABS plastic.
|Result of the first layer being squished into the bed, and/or the first layer being larger in width from settings, and/or the first layer insufficiently cooling. This causes the first layer of an object to be bigger than the following layers, resulting in the shape of an elephant’s foot.
|The components and/or assembly that performs the process of extrusion.
|The act of pushing molten material through a die or nozzle.
|A roll or coil of material to be melted during the extrusion process.
|The rounding of an interior or exterior edge of two right-angled faces.
|A software loaded onto a machine to control its functions and operations of the machine.
|Common name for the most widely used numerical control programming language. It is used to control automated machine tools; like CNC’s, water jet tables, plasma tables, and 3D printers.
|Irregular heating throughout the extruder components, preventing filament from
extruding and melting properly. Often causing clogs.
|An object that does not contain any infill. This will produce a fast print, but may result in poor print quality and will be very low strength.
|The amount of material that is used inside a model to provide strength, often referred to in percentages. 100% infill is a solid model, 0% infill is a hollow model.
|The adhesive quality between layers. Poor layer adhesion will result in separated layers. Good layer adhesion will provide a strong bond between each layer.
|Sometimes called build resolution, it is the height of the filament for each layer. This is typically measured in millimeters or microns. (.1mm = 100 Microns)
|The process of making the build surface (bed) as parallel with the horizontal movement of the nozzle as possible.
|Defines the settings for a specific material; such as retraction speed, retraction distance, print speed, print temperature, and bed temperature.
|The temperature at which a solid turns into a liquid.
|A measurement commonly used in 3D printing. A micron is 1000 th of a millimeter; 1mm = 1000microns, .05mm = 50 microns.
|The component where the molten filament is extruded from.
|The diameter of the material that is extruded from the nozzle. Shells and wall thickness are dependent on this diameter.
|The target temperature the nozzle requires to reach to melt the material for extrusion.
|A popular polymide material, best known for its toughness, flexibility, high impact resistance and good abrasion resistance. While being a tough material, it does have its challenges which include: prone to warping, not suitable for moist or humid environments, and requires special storage considerations. Nylon is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture; printing with nylon that has absorbed moisture will lead to many print quality issues.
|A common standard 3D image format that uses a simple text-based structure format. The simple format may also lead to very large file sizes if the model is large or complex.
|Overhangs occur when a new layer is partially supported by the layer below. Angled walls are considered overhangs and depending on the printer and technology, it may often require supports to print successfully. The industry standard overhang threshold is 45ᵒ.
|PETG is a glycol modified Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). The material has good surface finish, impact resistance, very minimal warping, but is prone to wear, poor bridging, and can produce thin hairs or stringiness.
|PLA (Polylactic Acid)
|The most popular material for 3D printing due to the ease of use. It is low cost, stiff, has good strength, dimensional accuracy, and good surface finish. The downside of PLA is it has low heat resistance, it can be brittle in some instances, and it is biodegradable in sunlight.
|The assembly that moves around laying the filament down. The assembly generally includes the extruder assembly, fans, carriage, PCBA, and sensors.
|Also referred to as Nozzle Temperature. This is the target temperature for the nozzle to hit in order to print the selected material.
|The act of finishing or improving the appearance of a 3D object after the printing process. This includes support removal, curing, heat-treating, sanding, tumbling, polishing, painting, gluing or fusion, etc. Nearly all 3D objects require some degree of post processing.
|Storing user specified settings to be quickly accessed for later use. Common settings include nozzle temperature, bed temperature, print speed, layer height and supports. The biggest use case is having a profile for each kind of material.
|The speed at which the print head moves during the printing process. This speed is typically measured in millimeters per second (mm/s). Filaments require different print speeds.
|The largest possible dimensions of printable space. This will vary by printer.
|A thick grid of material with a roof-like layer on top. The model is then printed on top of this roof-like layer. This aids in bed adhesion and cooling properties to help warping, but will leave a worse surface finish on the bottom of the model and requires more material to be used.
|Defines the length of filament to be retracted by the extruder motor (stepper). The larger the value, the further from the nozzle the filament is retracted.
|Defines the speed of the filament being pulled away from the nozzle.
|Also referred to as perimeters, it is the amount of outer rings applied to a model for rigidity.
|Known as slicing software, it is the software that takes a CAD type file, and slices it into layers, applies print profiles, and saves it as a G code file for the printer to read.
|A DC motor that moves in steps. The motor has multiple coils organized in groups called “phases”. Energizing each phase in a specific sequence controlled by a computer, will produce rotation and very precise movements and speed control.
|A common standard 3D image format that uses geometric shapes to define a 3D image. There are two formats of STL’s, binary and ASCII. Binary are the most common, as they are more compact. ASCII files are easier to read and debug.
|Support is extra material that is printed to give a layer a surface to rest on. Supports are typically required for overhangs and bridges and can be removed during post processing.
|This value controls the amount of support used for overhangs; generally represented in percentages. A higher value will provide a better overhang or bridge, but will be harder to remove during post processing.
|The quality or roughness of the surface of the printed part.
|The moving speed of the print head during non-printing, meaning no material is extruded during this movement.
|The minimum wall thickness; the thinnest dimension a wall can be printed. This can vary printer by printer; a good rule of thumb is ensuring that walls are not thinner than the diameter of your nozzle diameter (.4mm nozzle = .4mm thinnest wall)
|Due to the high heat used in the 3D printing process and the variances in materials, materials cool down at different rates in different areas, resulting in warping. Warping can be reduced with things such as a heated bed, bed glue, build sheets, rafts, brims and selecting the correct material.
|An industry term used to describe a complete model. Having your model surface closed/complete will be watertight.
|The side-to-side (left and right) movement of the print head.
|The front and back movement of the print head.
|The up and down movement of the print bed.
|Also referred to as Z-Gap, it is the working gap between the tip of your nozzle and the build surface. Since the filament needs somewhere to go when being extruded, this gap provides area for the nozzle to extrude onto the build plate. The higher the offset, the more distance between the nozzle tip and the build surface. This is adjustable and is critical for proper bed adhesion.
|The vertical distance between two objects of whatever subject it applies to (supports and rafts).