3D Printing Glossary
Author: Reem AL Jamel Category: Uncategorized

I started a new career path, and in my journey of becoming a Community Manager at Mixed Dimensions, I am learning as much as I can about 3D printing world. I am excited to start this new adventure and be part of a revolution that is changing the way we live. Being new to 3D printing, I thought it would be necessary if I created a list of 3D printing glossary terms. If I missed anything here, drop me a line…


3D Printer

3D Printer

3D Bioprinter

A 3D printer that uses bio-ink to produce living tissues.

3D Bioprinting

The process of generating living tissues using 3D printing technology.

3D Hobbyist

Individuals who are enthusiastic about 3D printing.

3D Model

A digital file of an object in three dimensions that is created using 3D CAD or through 3D scanning.

3D Printer

A machine used to create a 3D solid object from a 3D file.

3D Printing

A method of Additive Manufacturing that adds material to an object layer by layer to create the final product.

3D Printing Bureau

Print shops.

3D Scanner

A hardware device that scans a physical object and turns it into a digital file.



ABS Filament


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a type of plastic filament used as a 3D printer material for FDM printers.

Additive Manufacturing

The process of adding components in layers to create a three-dimensional solid object from a digital model.

Bounding Box

Bounding Box


Binder Jetting

An additive manufacturing process that prints detailed powder with full color.

Bounding Box

Printer bed size. Usually calculated in imperial or metric.




Computer-Aided Design/ Computer-Aided Manufacturing. The use of computer software to help in the creation, adjustment or optimization of a design.


Continuous Liquid Interface Production is a technology developed by Carbon3D that balances light and oxygen to reduce the layers. The best feature of the printer is that it is  much faster in speed comparing to the other printers.


Computer Numerical Control is Machines which allow tools to craft automatically.


The process of hardening the material for the model to create its final form.





Digital Light Processing is the process that uses UV light projector to cure resins into solid 3D objects.


Direct Metal Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing technique uses a laser to heat and fuse metal powder to create a 3D model from metal.




Escape Holes

Part of the Hollowing process. Escape holes are placed on 3D models to allow access material to escape. Leading to a lower printing price of the build.


The process of placing the build material on the build platform by heating thermoplastic to a liquid state and pushing it through a small nozzle.


A group of parts that handles the feeding and extruding of the build material. Consists of two assemblies: a cold end to pull and feed the thermoplastic from the spool, and a hot end the melts and extrudes the thermoplastic.

Flipped Faces

Flipped Faces


Fabrication Laboratory is an area offering digital fabrication. fab labs typically are equipped with a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology.


Fused Deposition Modeling. The process of building an object by heating and extruding thermoplastic filament.


The plastic material made from build materials. FDM/FFF printers use it as raw material and as extruded plastic.

Flipped Faces

Faces that are pointing in the wrong direction in a 3D model.

Key feature: MakePrintable automatically detects flipped faces and flips them.




A  programming language for the use of some 3D printers to communicate from computer to printer.





It’s the process of making a solid object hollow to reduce material usage.



Infill/ Filling

Refers to the structure that is printed inside an object. It is extruded in a designated percentage and pattern, which is set in the slicing software.

Kapton Tape

Kapton Tape

Kapton Tape

Polyimide Adhesive tape is heat-resistant. It’s placed on the surface of the print bed to prevent 3D printed model from warping.

Non Manifold


Non-manifold edges

It occurs when more than two surfaces share together an edge, which causes an issue in solidity.

Key feature: MakePrintable fixes non-manifold edges.


The part of the hot end that deposits the melted plastic material.




An individual who makes items using a 3D printer.


A collection of vertices, edges, and faces that make the shape of a 3D object.

Mesh Simplification

The technique of reducing the number of faces used in surface mesh while maintaining the overall shape.


An inkjet printing process that uses a UV light to jet layers of liquid photopolymer onto a build tray.




Object file is a common type of 3D file that many software programs use it as an exchange format.


Part of a 3D model that lacks support below it. If the angle of a 3D model is less than 45 degrees, it usually needs support.


It occurs when two or more objects intersect, the inside and outside of the models cannot be properly distinct.

Key feature: MakePrintable automatically meshes together intersecting objects into a single part.

Print Bed

Print Bed


The science of creating detailed measurements from photographs. 3D models can be produced from photogrammetry.

Print Bed

The flat surface of the 3D printer where the 3D model part forms.


A first or preliminary version of a an item or a device.




The process of printing a disposable base on the base surface, then building a 3D model on top. Provides stability and reduces warping.


A place where something is stored.


Replicating Rapid Prototyper is open source project created by Richard Rap. A 3D printer that is capable of 3D printing another 3D printer.


Liquid material, Digital Light Processing (DLP) commonly uses resin.


Rapid Prototyping is a process of creating a prototype of an object using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD).

Spool Filament



The outer surface of a 3D model.


A single layer of a 3D printed model.


A software that converts a 3D digital model into a machine readable code for the 3D printer. It slices the 3D model into multiple horizontal layers.


A mesh wrapper for multi-part designs to give you the ability to print them all at once reducing damages and losing small parts. Used for powder-based printing.


Stereolithographic is an additive manufacturing process using a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer “resin” and a UV laser to build parts, a layer at a time.


Selective Laser Sintering is an additive manufacturing (AM) technique that uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.


STereoLithography is a file format describes 3D objects without any color or texture.

Support Structure

The use of supports on a 3D model with steep overhangs.


Scalable Vector Graphics is a file format that DLP printers use.


Filament Wrap.




A tiny gap left between two parts to allow them to fit correctly.



A unit of graphic information that represent a point in three-dimensional space.



Wall Thickness

Wall Thickness

Wall Thickness

The thickness of  the 3D model walls. In order to print a 3D model, it requires a minimum wall thickness for every material.

Key feature: MakePrintable fixes wall thickness issues.

Water Tight Model

A solid 3D model that has no holes.

Key feature: MakePrintable ensures that 3D models are watertight and solid.


Previous Article
Next Article