Editor's Note: This is the first of a series of posts excerpted from Jason Griffey's Library Technology Report "3D Printers for Libraries."
The simplest way to understand a 3D printer works is to imagine it as a machine that makes bigger things out of smaller blocks. In some cases the “blocks” are a powder, in some they are melted plastic, or they may be a ultraviolet light sensitive resin, but always the process is large things being made from smaller substrates. A 3D printer is a simple sort of robot that understands how to manipulate the raw material it’s working with in three dimensions rather than just two, as an inkjet or laser printer does. This type of manufacturing is also called additive manufacturing, as opposed to more traditional subtractive manufacturing, where material is removed from a larger sample to create custom shapes in a process like milling, lathing, or CNC (computing numerical control) machines. Read More »