3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of creating a three-dimensional solid object from a digital file.
This method creates complex structures and components by laying down successive layers of material which are gradually built up into the desired shape. Unlike traditional subtractive processes such as machining, drilling or other cutting processes that create a work piece by removing materials from an initial volume, additive manufacturing produces objects by adding material in order to obtain the desired shape.
3D printing can eliminate the traditional manufacturing set-up requirements such as fixtures and cutting tools. This opens up new possibilities as complex geometric forms can now be produced quicker and cheaper, even in small quantities.