How does 3D printing work?

What is this 3D printing thing I have heard so much about?

Glad you asked. 3D Printing aka additive manufacturing is a method of manufacturing physical parts in an additive manner. Successive layers of build material are placed on top of each other layer by layer, are used to build the part from a digital 3D CAD file.  This is similar to how a sea shell will grow over time and can leave a very similar effect.

Additive manufacturing has several different methods of producing a prototype. Each method has its own advantages, all use the same method of adding material layer by layer. The same principle of building up, rather than cutting away applies no matter which method of additive manufacturing you choose to use.


Layer by layer

sls print cake removal

So, how do you actually ‘print’ something?

First off, you’ll need an STL file to upload to us . This file is the digital model that you want transformed into a physical printed object. Don’t worry it isn’t as scary as it sounds.There are several ways to obtain 3d models:


  • 3D Scan your object: 3D Scanning is not an easy process and generally requires a professional.

  • CAD Software: Computer Aided Design has come a long way and is much easier to use.

  • Download free designs: Search from over two hundred thousand designs that you can simply download as an STL and 3D print.

  • Hire an expert designer: If you require your design to be taken to the next level, choose from one of our New Zealand member expert designers to CAD up your model ready for 3D Printing.