3D Printing

a close up of an orange object with a pencil

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects from a digital model. This technology has rapidly evolved over the past decade, and has become an important tool in various industries such as healthcare, aerospace, and automotive.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM):

FDM is a 3D printing technology that uses a thermoplastic filament to create objects layer by layer. The filament is melted and extruded through a nozzle, which moves along the X, Y, and Z axes to create the object. FDM is one of the most popular 3D printing technologies due to its low cost and ease of use.

Stereolithography (SLA):

SLA is a 3D printing technology that uses a liquid resin that is cured with a UV laser to create objects layer by layer. The laser selectively cures the resin, creating a solid object. SLA is known for its high accuracy and ability to produce complex geometries.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS):

SLS is a 3D printing technology that uses a laser to selectively fuse powdered materials together to create objects layer by layer. SLS can use a variety of materials, including plastics, metals, and ceramics, and is known for its ability to produce strong and durable parts.

Build Volume:

The build volume refers to the maximum size of the object that can be printed in a 3D printer. This is determined by the size of the printer's build platform and the range of motion of the printer's print head.

Support Structures:

Support structures are temporary structures that are printed along with the object to provide support during the printing process. These structures are removed after printing is complete, and are necessary for printing objects with overhangs or complex geometries.


Infill refers to the density of the material inside the object being printed. A higher infill percentage results in a stronger and more durable object, but also increases printing time and material usage.

Layer Height:

Layer height refers to the thickness of each layer of material that is deposited during the printing process. A smaller layer height results in a higher resolution object, but also increases printing time.

Overall, 3D printing is a versatile and powerful technology that has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing and design. As a product manager, it is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing in order to effectively leverage this technology in product development.