an overview of

3D Printing


  • Meet your future.

  • This changes everything.

  • Additive Manufacturing

  • Bioprinting

  • Materials Research

  • Education

  • Unleash your imagination.

From creating product prototypes, to manufacturing custom parts and products, from generating architectural models, to creating ceramics and sculpture, from producing fashion apparel and jewelry, to printing artificial limbs and generating replacement organs from stem cells, 3D printing is impacting every industry. Now 3D printers are entering the consumer market as fun and inspiring gadgets that produce fun and functional objects to inspire future inventors, innovators and engineers. This website provides the fundamentals of 3D printing from home applications to artictic creations, from hobbbiest to industrial applications, this page covers it all through the use of video examples.


Video Montage Overview

Three videos that cover the basics.

snowflake template image news

Consumer Printing

Cube by 3D Systems, RepRap (open), objects you can print, thingiverse, scanning, 3d design software.

Video length: 5:52

[view script]

snowflake template image news

Industrial Printing

Printing Materials and Processes: Thermoplastics (ABS and PLA), 2 color printing, Multi-Material Polyjet, support material, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM), Paper Lamination, Stereolithography (SLA), Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Video length: 8:56

[view script]

snowflake template image news


Rapid prototyping, mass customization, ceramics, concrete, houses, organs, food, fashion, education.

Video length: 9:31

[view script]



Below are the full length videos featured in the above montages along with presenter notes.

You can access an outline for presentations at


The ABC's of XYZ's

3D Printing Basics

Consider these facts as you watch the two videos:

  • These are the common consumer-grade printers that most people have heard something about
  • Notice how the X, Y and Z printing axes control the shape of the object
  • A solid cord of plastic feedstock is fed into the printer
  • The plastic is sprayed in layers as tiny particles (3D dots) each ~ 50 - 100 µm (510 to 250 DPI) in diameter
  • These are time lapse videos! Real-time print jobs can take from a couple hours to days
  • Hollow core supportive structures are used rather than using a solid core in order to save material costs
  • These types of printers can’t print stalactites without some sort of supportive structure
  • Primary purchasing considerations include build space, build resolution, supported materials, speed, maintenance and reliability.
snowflake template image news

Cube from 3D Systems

A consumer targeted printer sold for $1299 at walmart and elsewhere.

snowflake template image news

Rep Rap Hobbiest Printer

A do-it-yourself kit that sells for $800 online and in hobby stores.






Stereo Lithography (STL) Files

Acquiring Objects to Print

Consider this, as you watch these videos...

STL is the file format for objects to be printed. This section lists the most common ways to acquire STL files containing objects to be printed.

Although the learning curve can be steep, 3D modeling software allows 3D printer users to develop their own original designs, which is much more creative and interesting than simply printing items from a catalog.

snowflake template image news

Plastic Doodads

Consumer printers typically include a catalogue of doodads on DVD or Web that can be downloaded and printed.


snowflake template image news

Handheld Scanners

Ideal for mobile scanning and scanning large objects.

snowflake template image news

Fixed Scanners

Ideal for small to medium-sized objects.

snowflake template image news

3D Modeling and CAD Software

Software such as Blender, Sketchup, Rhino, Maya and AutoCAD allow you to create and edit 3D designs.


3D Printer Feedstock


  • PLA (PolyLactic Acid): bio-plastic, biodegradable, no smell, rigid, more sturdy - good for flat objects)
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): thermoplastic, softer more flexible - good for support structures)

  • Rubber
  • Clay
  • Ceramic Powder
  • Concrete
  • Metal Alloys
  • Titanium Alloys
  • Metal Powders


  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Food Ingredients
  • Stem Cells

Any material (powder, liquid, solid) that can be processed into a shaped solid.


3D Printing Processes

A Variety of Processes for Additive Manufacturing

Extrusion Deposition

Fused deposition modeling (FDM)

Model is produced by extruding small beads of material which harden quickly to form layers.

The method used by most consumer-grade printers and some industrial printers as well.

snowflake template image news

Makerbot Replicator2

Some prosumer models can support multiple feedstock to provide multi-color and/or multi-material objects

snowflake template image news


Industrial printers like this Polyjet ($250,000) create multi-color, hi-def models with moving parts.

The printing material is cured with UV light, the platform lowers 1/1000th of an inch, it utilizes two materials: a build agent and a support agent, multiple materials can be fused together, and moving parts made possible through the use of the support agent.


Granular Materials Binding

Model is produced through selective fusing of materials in a granular bed.



Model is produced by bonding layers of a material - typically paper.



Stereolithography (SLA)

Produces a solid part from a liquid polymer using UV light

snowflake template image news

Peachy Printer

The First $100 3D Printer & Scanner on Kickstarter!


3D Printing Services

Because industrial printers are so expensive, businesses like Shapeways have emerged to offer 3D printing services to individuals and organizations that need hi-resolution models printed, but can't justify a big investment in a 3D printer.












3D Printing @ FSU

Blazing a Path for 3D Printing Applications in Higher Education

Academic units across FSU campus are embracing 3D printing as a resource for higher education.

  • FSU's Innovation Hub has over two dowzen 3D printers available for students to use along with other Fablab technologies and workshops to trai students on the equipment.
  • The Department of Art utilizes 3D printers as tools for sculpture, ceramics, and other forms of artistic fabrication.
  • The Facility for Arts Research (FAR) is expanding the boundaries of 3D printing applications in the arts.
  • The Department of Interior Design utilizes 3D printing to print scaled-down models of original student designs.
  • The College of Business is exploring the impact of 3D printing on manufacturing, production, and supply chain management
  • The High-Performance Materials Institute (HPMI) in the College of Engineering, is conducting research on a wide variety of new materials for 3D printing.
  • The College of Medicine and Department of Biology are exploring bio-printing - 3D printing with cells.
  • Several science departments are considering the use of 3D printers to supply and replace lab equipment and parts.
  • The Learning Systems Institute is developing curricula for 3D printing that maps to learning objectives for Florida's K-12 schools.
  • Florida's iSchool is exploring the use of 3D printers in Libraries and Museums.


Copyright © 2014 FSU Innovation Hub / All rights reserved.