There are many different types of 3D printers and 3D printing processes. The most common type of 3D printers currently available to consumers use a method called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). FDM is a process where the printer heats and extrudes a thermoplastic material called filament to construct an object by building it up layer-by-layer.
This video describes how FDM 3D Printing works and the main parts of these types of printers:
3D Printers in Action
It all starts with the filament. The filament is the raw plastic (usually on some type of spool) that is pulled into the printer to be heated up and then converted into the model.
The filament is pulled into the machine by the extruder. This is a small wheel with teeth on it that grips into the filament and pulls it. There are a few different styles of extruders, but most involve some sort of motor and gear and a toothed wheel (sometimes called a hobbed bolt).
The extruder then pushes the filament into the hot end of the printer. This is the part that actually heats up and melts the filament. The hot end moves around the printer and places the filament where it’s needed according to your design.
Other Types of 3D Printing
There are a few other types of 3D printing process that are becoming more and more familiar and available on a consumer level. CLidk through each of the links to