3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, includes any of various processes of making a three-dimensional object from a 3D model or other electronic data source primarily through additive processes.
In these processes, successive layers of material (liquid, powder, paper, or sheet material) are laid down under computer control. It requires use of a 3D printer, which is a type of industrial robot. 3D printable models can be created with a computer aided design package or via a 3D scanner.
Industrial applications for 3D printers include rapid prototyping, rapid manufacturing, mass customization, mass production, and rocket engine combustion chambers. 3D printing has also been used in the fashion industry for clothing and eyewear and in the medical industry for implant and medical devices.
The cost of 3D printers has decreased from $20,000 in 2010 to less than $1,000 in 2013. As the cost of 3D printers has fallen, printers have become more appealing financially to use for self-manufacturing of personal products.