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3D printing has seemingly jumped from science fiction into reality. With a little design knowledge or access to a CAD designer, anyone can now print their ideas and designs in multiple materials! Shapeways, a 3D printing marketplace, has assembled a 2D explainer of 3D printing to demystify the process and hopefully get more people interested in the additive manufacturing process.

Designers can now upload 3D designs to the Shapeways marketplace to have their designs printed and shipped anywhere in the world. You don’t even need any experience with 3D design software. They offer multiple simplified tools that anyone can use to bring your ideas to life. If you have a more complicated design, you can jump on their forum to meet a designer who would be able to model your idea for you!

Take a look at the infographic below to learn about some of the most common 3D printing techniques. These techniques are used by many different types of printers, from the humble home 3D printer to the industrial printers that are used for rapid prototyping of large scale products, including rocket engines, food, and even organs!

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