Skip to Main Content

Morris Library

3D Printing at Morris Library: 3D Printing Terms

A guide to 3D Printing at Morris Library.

Common 3D Printing Terms

3D Printing - 3D printing is sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping. It is the process of creating a three dimensional physical object from a digital model. The 3D printer builds the object vertically by putting down layer upon layer of material.

3D Scanner -  a device that analyzes an object or environment and creates several data points that are then used to construct a 3D model

ABS - Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene - a common bioplastic used as a filament in some 3D printers. ABS is used in many household products and is the plastic used in Lego bricks

Autocad - software used in 2D and 3D computer aided design and drafting

Blender - free open source computer graphics software that can be used for 3D modeling

Build Plate - surface on which the 3D model is formed during the printing process

Bukobot - open source 3D printer designed by Deezmaker

Extruder - part of the 3D printer that melts the filament and places it onto the build platform

Filament - the plastic that is heated and extruded to create the physical 3D object

Infill - measured as a percentage, fills the empty space inside the object - most objects are created with a honeycomb shaped infill pattern

Makerbot - New York based maker of the Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

Makerware - software from Makerbot that works with other 3D modeling software to add supports and rafts, and customize how an object is printed

Mesh - polygon models used in 3D comprised of vertices, edges, and faces

OpenSCAD - free software to create solid 3D CAD objects.

Overhang - section of a 3D model where there is no support below that section.  Supports and / or rafts may be used to ensure proper printing

PLA - Polylactic Acid - type of plastic filament used by the Makerbot Replicator 2.  PLA is a bioplastic that is made from items such as corn starch.

Raft - a flat layer of filament used to prevent warping, stabilize objects, and helps non-flat surface objects adhere to the build plate

Resolution - layer thickness that is produced by the printer, a Makerbot Replicator 2 has a resolution up to 100 microns.

SD Card - Secure Digital - memory card format used in portable devices, including the Makerbot Replicator 2

Sketchup - free 3D drawing tool

STL - STereoLithography - File format created by 3D Systems

Supports - thin, easily removable material that is laid down where there are overhangs or large gaps in the object

Thingiverse - a repository where people can discover, make, and share 3D models. Users can download files of objects that others have made. Several of the objects can be customized and modified

Tinkercad - in addition to paid versions, has a free version of its software that creates 3D digital models

X3G - file type used by Makerbot 3D printers and created with Makerware software