3D Printing Terms Glossary: 3D Printing Terms in 2024



3D Printer

A 3D Printer is a machine that utilizes 3D Printing technology to create physical objects from digital models.

3D Printing

3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional objects by adding material layer by layer.



Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is a common thermoplastic used in 3D printing known for its strength and impact resistance.

Adaptive Layer Height

Adaptive layer height is a feature in some slicing software that adjusts the layer height based on the geometry of the object to improve print quality.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is a broader term that encompasses all processes, including 3D Printing, that build objects layer by layer using various materials and technologies.

Auto Bed Leveling

Auto Bed Leveling is a feature in certain 3D Printers that uses sensors or probes to automatically measure and compensate for any unevenness or tilt in the build plate.


Bed Adhesion

Bed Adhesion refers to the ability of the printed object to stick to the build plate during the 3D Printing process.

Bed Flattening

Bed flattening is the process of ensuring that the build plate is level and free of any warping or unevenness.

Bed Leveling

Bed Leveling is a process of adjusting the build plate to ensure that it is parallel to the nozzle and at the correct height for proper printing.

Bed Levelling

Bed levelling is the process of ensuring that the build plate is parallel to the printhead, enabling uniform printing across the entire plate.

Bed Levelling Probe

A Bed Levelling Probe is a sensor or mechanism used to automatically measure and adjust the build plate's height and levelness for precise printing.

Bed Skirt

A bed skirt is a feature in some slicing software that prints a thin layer around the edges of the build plate before printing the actual object.

Bed Surface

The Bed Surface refers to the material or coating applied to the build plate to improve adhesion and promote successful object removal after printing.

Bed Temperature

Bed temperature refers to the temperature of the build plate during the printing process, especially important for certain materials.

Binder Jetting

Binder Jetting is a 3D Printing technology that uses a liquid binder to selectively bond powder particles together to create an object.


Bioprinting is a 3D Printing process that uses living cells or bioinks to create biological structures, such as tissues or organs.


Bracing refers to adding additional support structures or structures to reinforce a 3D printed object and improve its stability.


Bridging is the process of creating an unsupported span between two points in a 3D print, requiring careful calibration and technique.


A Brim is a single layer of material printed around the base of an object to increase its surface area and improve bed adhesion.

Build Plate

The Build Plate is the surface on which the object is printed during the 3D Printing process. It provides a stable base for the printed layers.

Build Plate Adhesion

Build plate adhesion is the ability of a printed object to adhere to the build plate during the printing process.

Build Plate Coating

Build Plate Coating is a material or substance applied to the build plate's surface to enhance bed adhesion and improve object release after printing.

Build Plate Heater

A Build Plate Heater is a component in certain 3D Printers that heats up the build plate to a desired temperature to improve bed adhesion and prevent warping.

Build Platform

The build platform is the surface on which a 3D printed object is created and is typically moved in the XY plane during the printing process.

Build Time

The build time is the total amount of time it takes to complete the 3D printing process for a given object or part.

Build Volume

Build Volume refers to the maximum size of an object that a 3D Printer can print in all dimensions (length, width, and height).



Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is the use of software to create detailed 2D or 3D models for manufacturing or design purposes.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is a strong and lightweight material often used in 3D printing to reinforce or add strength to printed parts.

Closed-Loop Control

Closed-Loop Control is a feature in advanced 3D Printers that uses sensors and feedback mechanisms to continuously monitor and adjust printing parameters during the process.

Continuous Carbon Fiber

Continuous Carbon Fiber is a composite material used in advanced 3D Printing that combines thermoplastics with continuous carbon fibers to create strong and lightweight parts.

Cooling Fan

A Cooling Fan is a component of a 3D Printer that helps cool down the printed layers quickly to prevent warping or deformation.


Curing is the process of hardening a liquid resin, typically used in SLA or DLP 3D printing, using a light source like UV or laser.


Digital Design

Digital Design refers to creating and manipulating 2D or 3D models using software tools, such as CAD, for use in manufacturing or visualization.

Digital Light Processing (Dlp)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a 3D Printing technology that uses a digital light projector to selectively cure a liquid resin layer by layer.

Digital Twin

A Digital Twin is a virtual replica or simulation of a physical 3D object or system, including its geometry, properties, and behavior, created and used for analysis or optimization purposes.


Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a 3D printing technology that uses a digital light projector to cure a liquid photopolymer resin layer by layer.

Dual Extrusion

Dual Extrusion is a feature in some 3D Printers that allows for using two different filaments or colors simultaneously to create more complex objects.



An Enclosure is a cover or housing that surrounds the 3D Printer, providing a controlled environment with regulated temperature and humidity for improved print quality.


The extruder is a component of a 3D printer that pushes material, such as filament, into the hot end to be melted and deposited.


Extrusion is the process of melting the filament and pushing it through the nozzle to create a thin, continuous strand of material.

Extrusion Multiplier

Extrusion multiplier is a setting in 3D printing that adjusts the flowrate of the filament to compensate for variations in extrusion.



Failure is a term used to describe when a 3D print does not turn out as expected, often due to issues like warping, adhesion, or print errors.


Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a popular type of 3D printing technology that builds objects by extruding molten plastic layer by layer.


Filament is a thermoplastic material in the form of a long string that is melted and extruded by a 3D Printer to build the object layer by layer.


Firmware is the software program embedded in the 3D Printer's hardware that controls its functions, movements, and communication with other devices.

Fused Deposition Modeling (Fdm)

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is one of the most common 3D Printing technologies that uses a thermoplastic filament as the printing material.



G-Code is a programming language used in 3D Printing to control the 3D Printer's movements and extrusion process.


A Gantry is the framework or support structure on a 3D Printer that holds and moves the extruder and build plate in a predetermined manner.


Heated Bed

A Heated Bed is a feature in some 3D Printers that helps improve bed adhesion by keeping the temperature of the build plate elevated.

Hot End

The hot end is the part of the extruder that melts the filament, allowing it to be extruded through the nozzle.



Infill is the pattern or structure that is printed inside a 3D object to provide structural support and reduce material usage.

Infill Density

Infill density refers to the amount of infill material used inside a 3D printed object, expressed as a percentage of the total volume.


Layer Adhesion

Layer Adhesion is the strength of the bond between the successive layers in a 3D printed object, affecting its overall structural integrity.

Layer Fan

A Layer Fan, or part cooling fan, is a fan located near the nozzle that blows cool air onto the printed layers to solidify the material quickly.

Layer Height

Layer Height is the thickness of each individual layer that is printed by a 3D Printer. It determines the level of detail and smoothness of the printed object.

Lcd Screen

An LCD screen is a display panel used on some 3D printers to show information, settings, and progress during the printing process.


Mass Customization

Mass Customization is the use of 3D Printing technology to produce personalized or customized products on a large scale.

Material Properties

Material Properties refer to the characteristics and behaviors of the materials used in 3D Printing, such as strength, flexibility, or heat resistance.

Multi-Material Printing

Multi-Material Printing is the capability of a 3D Printer to print objects using multiple materials, either simultaneously or switching between them during the printing process.



A Nozzle is the part of a 3D Printer's extruder that heats and deposits the molten filament onto the build plate.

Nozzle Diameter

Nozzle diameter is the width of the opening of the nozzle, and it affects the layer thickness and printing speed.


Nylon is a durable and flexible filament material commonly used in 3D printing for producing functional and mechanical parts.


Over Extrusion

Over extrusion occurs when the 3D printer pushes out too much filament, resulting in excess material and a poor print quality.


An overhang is a portion of a 3D printed object that extends beyond the previous layer without any support structure.


In 3D Printing, Overhangs refer to areas or features of an object that extend horizontally or at an angle without any support underneath.

Oversized Printing

Oversized printing refers to 3D printing objects that are larger than the build volume of the printer, requiring assembly or print splitting.



Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) is a popular filament material used in 3D printing known for its strength and flexibility.


Photopolymer is a type of resin used in certain 3D Printers that solidifies and hardens when exposed to specific wavelengths of light, such as UV light.


Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable thermoplastic used in 3D printing known for its ease of use and wide availability.


Post-Curing is a process performed on certain 3D printed objects, particularly those made from resin, to further solidify or strengthen them using UV light or heat.


Post-Processing in 3D Printing includes any additional steps or treatments done to the printed object to improve its appearance or functionality.

Powder Bed Fusion

Powder Bed Fusion is a group of 3D Printing technologies that use a powder as the base material and selectively fuse it together using heat or a binding agent.


Preprocessing in 3D Printing involves adjusting and optimizing the digital model or file before the actual printing process, including tasks like repairing or slicing.

Print Bed Adhesive

Print Bed Adhesive is a substance applied to the build plate to enhance bed adhesion and prevent the printed object from detaching during the printing process.

Print Speed

Print Speed refers to the speed at which the 3D Printer moves and deposits material while printing an object.

Printing Time

Printing Time is the duration required to complete the 3D Printing process for a specific object, influenced by factors like size, complexity, and print settings.


Quality Control

Quality Control in 3D Printing involves various measures and processes to ensure that the printed objects meet the desired specifications and standards.



A Raft is a printed base layer that is added beneath the object being printed to improve bed adhesion and prevent warping.

Raftless Printing

Raftless printing is a technique in 3D printing where a raft or base layer is not used, reducing print time but requiring good bed adhesion.

Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping is the process of quickly creating physical prototypes of a product or part to test and validate its design before mass production.


Recycling refers to the process of reclaiming and reusing waste or unused materials from failed or discarded 3D prints for future printing purposes.


Resin is a liquid material used in certain types of 3D Printers that solidifies when exposed to light or heat.


Resolution in 3D Printing refers to the level of detail and accuracy at which a 3D Printer can produce an object. It is typically measured in microns.


Retraction is a feature in 3D Printing that pulls back the filament slightly to prevent oozing or stringing of material during non-printing moves.


Scan To Cad

Scan to CAD is the process of creating a digital 3D model from a physical object by scanning it using 3D scanning technology and converting the data into a CAD file.

Selective Laser Sintering (Sls)

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is a 3D Printing technology that uses a laser to selectively fuse powdered material, typically plastic or metal.

Shell Thickness

Shell thickness refers to the thickness of the outer walls of a 3D printed object, affecting its strength and durability.


Sintering is a process in which powdered material is heated to a temperature just below its melting point, causing it to bond together.


Stereolithography (SLA) is an additive manufacturing process that uses a liquid resin that is cured by a light source to create 3D objects.


A Slicer is software that converts a 3D model into a series of thin layers and generates the toolpath information to be used by the 3D Printer.


Slicing is the process of dividing a 3D object into multiple layers and generating the corresponding toolpaths for 3D printing.


Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing process that uses a laser to fuse powdered material together to create 3D objects.

Spool Holder

A spool holder is a device or attachment on a 3D printer that holds the filament spool securely and feeds it into the extruder smoothly.

Stepper Motor

A Stepper Motor is a type of motor commonly used in 3D Printers to control and precisely move the extruder nozzle or other mechanical components.

Stereolithography (Sla)

Stereolithography (SLA) is a 3D Printing technology that uses a photosensitive resin that hardens when exposed to a specific wavelength of light.


STL (Standard Tessellation Language) is a file format commonly used in 3D Printing that represents the surface geometry of a 3D object.

Support Structure

A support structure is a temporary structure created in 3D printing to provide stability and prevent collapsing during the printing process.

Support Structures

Support Structures are additional structures created during the 3D Printing process to provide stability and prevent the collapse of overhanging or complex features.


Supports are structures added to a 3D print to provide support for overhanging or intricate features that may otherwise droop or collapse.



In 3D Printing, Tolerance refers to the allowable variation in dimensions or measurements of a printed object from its intended design.


Toolpath refers to the specific path or pattern followed by the 3D Printer's extruder nozzle as it moves and deposits material to create a printed object.


Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) is a flexible and elastic filament material used in 3D printing for creating flexible parts or prototypes.


Under Extrusion

Under extrusion occurs when the 3D printer does not push out enough filament, leading to gaps or weak sections in the printed object.



Warpage refers to the distortion or curling of a 3D printed object due to uneven cooling or shrinkage of the material.


Warping is the deformation or curling of a printed object's corners or edges due to uneven cooling or shrinkage of the material.



Z-hop, also known as Z-lift, is the process of raising the printer's nozzle slightly during non-printing moves to avoid collisions with the printed object.