The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, which is why it is also called additive manufacturing. The term “3D printing” covers a variety of processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, with material being added together (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer. In the 1990s, 3D-printing techniques were considered suitable only for the production of functional or aesthetic prototypes and a more appropriate term for it was rapid prototyping. As of 2019, the precision, repeatability, and material range have increased to the point that some 3D-printing processes are considered viable as an industrial-production technology, whereby the term additive manufacturing can be used synonymously with “3D printing”. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries, and a prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model or a CAD file.
The most-commonly used 3D-printing process (46% as of 2018) is a material extrusion technique called fused deposition modeling (FDM). While FDM technology was invented after the other two most popular technologies, stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS), FDM is typically the most inexpensive of the three by a large margin, which lends to the popularity of the process.
At 3Diligent we provide the infrastructure that delivers the world’s most cutting-edge technologies and the world’s finest digital-manufacturing craftsmen to meet your every rapid-manufacturing need. You can leverage 3Diligent ProdEX’s proprietary software, to submit an RFQ through our cloud-based, secure portal to receive project bids from pre-qualified 3D printing, CNC machining, casting, and injection-molding manufacturers.
We ensure manufacturing excellence with 3Diligent Shopsight, a market-leading solution for job shops, machine shops, and service bureau operators. Designed with the modern machine shop in mind, Shopsight accommodates the unique needs of your shop with a collection of features to ensure you get the most from your digital-manufacturing assets.
Founded in 2014, 3Diligent is headquartered in El Segundo, California, just south of Los Angeles International Airport and in the shadow of some of the most innovative manufacturing companies in the world.