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3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is becoming ever more popular as a way of seeing a product before committing to tooling being made.
The process uses computer aided design (CAD) to create a three dimensional object through a layering method. A wide variety of materials can be used such as plastics, composites and even metals. 3D printers can be seen building such a broad range of products these days, from small items such car parts or PPE, to large items like houses.
A 3D printer works in a very similar method to traditional inkjet printers, albeit in 3D. The process turns a whole object into hundreds or even thousands of tiny slices which stick together to create a solid object.