3-D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology where a three dimensional object is created by successive layers of material. 3-D printers offer product developers the ability to print parts and assemblies made of several materials with different mechanical and physical properties in a single build process. Advanced 3-D printing technologies yield models that closely emulate the look, feel and functionality of product prototypes.
In recent years 3-D printers have become financially accessible to small- and medium-sized business, thereby taking prototyping out of the heavy industry and into the office environment. 3-D printers are generally faster, more affordable and easier to use than other additive manufacturing technologies.
3-D printers offer tremendous potential for production applications as well. The technology finds use in the jewelery, footwear, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries.
Read the Los Angeles Times article below "These Printers Make 3-D Stuff" -- it includes images of Jay Leno holding prototypes of a hard-to-find car parts designed and printed in plastic using his 3-D printer. Be sure to also read the bio-ink definition below!