Frequently Used TermsFrequently_Used_Terms|

Terms We Use Often On Our Website

And What They Mean

Terms/Definitions Listed In Alphabetical Order

Words That Are Underlined And Bolded Also Have Their Definitions On This Page
  • 2-DIMENSIONAL (2D): An object that is essentially flat. You normally are only able to see and interact with one side of a 2D object at a time; an example would be a sheet of paper of a desk. The object represents itself on the X and Y Cartesian Coordinates. A 2D object will have 2 of the 3 Cartesian Coordinates, never all 3.
  • 3-DIMENSIONAL (3D): An object with multiple sides that you can see and interact with at once; an example would be a ball. The object represents itself on the X, Y, and Z Cartesian coördinates.
  • 3D MODEL: A 3D Model is the representation of your object within a Design File. You use CAD/CAM software to design/model your 3D Object.


  • ACRYLIC: A See-through/transparent Plastic often used for the Frame of 3D Printers.
  • ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING: This method of manufacturing is quickly becoming synonymous with 3D Printing. Additive Manufacturing starts off with the smallest amount/unit of the manufacturing material and continues to add that material in layers until the object is created; think about pouring the layers to bake a cake, it is also known as Controlled Material Addition. A 3D Printer uses a model/design file to create a 3D object. It can be likened to an architect (the Design File) providing the blueprint for the structure to the builder (the 3D Printer). Another primary manufacturing method is the Subtractive Manufacturing process primarily used by CNC machines.
  • AUTOMATIC CALIBRATION: For a 3D Printer, Automatic Calibration is simply the Printer saving you the manual process of centering the Print Head, and any other adjustment, over the Print Bed before each 3D Printing project. 3D Printers normally accomplish this using sensors that tell the Printer where
    The Robox Mini-Factory

    the Print Head is along the Axes of the Printer. This is a highly desired feature, especially one we highly recommend to those who are new to 3D Printing. Some 3D Printers include a feature known as Automatic Material Recognition but simply include it as a feature of Automatic Calibration. Automatic Material Recognition (AMR), is the ability of a 3D Printer to sense the type of Filament that has been loaded and set the Print Temperature of the Extruder accordingly. An example of a 3D Printer that uses AMR is the Robox.


  • BLUE PAINTERS TAPE: A type of Masking Tape, also known as Sticky Tape, that is one of the preferred
    Blue Painters Tape

    materials for covering your Print Bed when using certain Filaments. One example of a Filament that recommends the use of Blue Painters Tape in order for your project to stick to your Print Bed is the Taulman/Nylon 618 Filament. The tape is inexpensive and can normally be found at your local hardware store.

    Buy Blue Painters Tape On Amazon
    Buy Blue Painters Tape On Amazon
  • BUBBLING: A term we use to mean that visible bubbles show up in your Printed object due to a contaminated or improper use of a Filament. This mostly happens due to your Filament getting wet (if it easily soaks in moisture; example Taulman/Nylon 618 Filament), Printing at the wrong recommended temperature setting for your Filament (recommended temperature range/setting for each filament provided in the 3D Printing Filaments section), or buying/making a poor quality Filament.
  • BUILD VOLUME: Measured in length, width and height; this is the maximum size of an object that your 3D Printer can Print. To calculate your total Print value you simply multiply the maximum length, width and height values which are usually measured in inches. For example, a build volume of 16″ by 16″ by 9″ is 2.304in³. If your Printers Build Volume information is listed in centimeters or other unit of measurement you can use a free online tool like this one to convert if necessary.


  • AXES/CARTESIAN COORDINATES: Also known as the Cartesian Coordinate System; the dimensions/sides of an object can be represented in terms of X, Y, and Z. X represents the left-to-right (width) of the object. The Y represents the front-to-back (length) of an object. The Z represents the top-to-bottom (height) of an object. These coördinates represent the AXES OF A 3D Printer.

  • CAD/CAM SOFTWARE: CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) is an element that falls under CAD (Computer Aided Design). CAM is simply the use of computer software to operate your manufacturing equipment and assist you in the manufacturing process.CAD software is used to design/create the template for what you want to manufacture. CAD software also incorporates CAE (Computer Aided Engineering); CAE is what checks to make sure what your design is structurally sound/will perform what it is designed to do. Most CAD softwares incorporate CAE and CAM so when dealing with the design of an object and 3D Printers you will almost always see it referred to only as CAD; although, the software that comes with most 3D Printers is only CAM or CAM/CAE software. These softwares would allow you to 3D Print from an already created CAD File or leaving you to use another software in order to design your object first. The Files that CAD software creates is often referred to as a Design File.
  • CARBON FIBER: Carbon Fiber is an incredibly strong and light weight Polymer. Carbon Fiber can be recycled and reused. It is a Composite; meaning, it is composed of multiple materials; Carbon Fiber is commonly a combination of carious types of metals, glass, and Resins. Some 3D Printers, such as the Mark One, can 3D Print with Carbon Fiber and other Composites.
  • CHEMICAL ETCHING: Chemical Etching is the use of both Electroless Plating and Electroplating in the construction of a PCB. Electroless Plating uses chemicals to treat the board while Electroplating binds/adds the Conductive material (the metal which is usually Copper) by adding an electric current.
  • what_is_a_circuit|
    A simple electric circuit made up of a voltage source and a resistor. Here, V=iR, according to Ohm’s Law
    Source | Wikipedia

    CIRCUIT/ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT/ELECTRICAL NETWORK: A Circuit is the interconnection of electrical components in order to accomplish Conductivity, usually so that an electrical device (even something as simple as a light bulb) can be powered.

  • CLAY: Clay is primarily a combination of earth (dirt), minerals (including trace amounts of various metals), and water. Some 3D Printers use Clay as Filament to create Clay objects. Some Printers, such as the Mini Metal Maker, even “treat” the Clay to transform the it into a metal object!
Digital SLR Cameras Also Use CMOS Sensors

CMOS SENSOR: A CMOS (Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) Sensor is a type of sensor that is used by most 3D Scanners in order to sense light and capture the image of an object. A CMOS Sensor is sometimes referred to as an Active-Pixel Sensor. You have the Sensor/Pixel Sensor itself, which detects light, and the circuitry/computer components (made with the CMOS process) which actively interpret the information allowing devices (such as 3D Scanners and Digital Cameras) to convert that information into an image. The information gathered is represented in Pixels.

CFF (COMPOSITE FILAMENT FABRICATION): Similar to FDM, this seems to be a term coined by the Makers of the Mark One 3D Printer to describe a 3D Printer that can use Composites (such as Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass) to make 3D objects.

Cartesian Coordinate System
  • COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN (CAD): is the use of computer systems to help in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. See CAD/CAM Software definition for more information.
  • COMPUTER NUMERICALLY CONTROLLED (CNC): The automation of machine tools using a computer program. CNC machines use Subtractive Manufacturing rather than the technique of Additive Manufacturing that 3D Printers use. One similarity between 3D Printers and CNC machines is that they both usually uses CAD software as the program to tell the machine what to manufacture and how to manufacture it. A great example of a CNC machine is the HandiBot.
  • CONDUCTIVE: A material that readily permits the flow of an electrical current (conducts electricity) is said to be Conductive. Conductive materials are critical to some 3D Printing processes and all electronics, the primary being PCB creation. Pure metals, such as Copper and Silver, are the Conductive materials used most often in PCB creation.
  • CONTOUR CRAFTING: The 3D Printing of entire full-sized living structures/homes in under a day, pioneered by Doctor Behrokh Khoshnevis.
  • CONTROLLER: See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • CURING: Curing is the process of causing a chemical reaction in a Resin by applying heat. The degree to and where the heat is applied causes the Resin to harden in specific way. Stereolithographic/Photo-Activated 3D Printers use the Curing of Resins to build 3D objects. They use a process known as Light or Photo-Curing : the process includes the use of photo-sensitive Resins , called Photopolymers, that can be considered to be the 3D Printer Filaments for Stereolithographic/Photo-Activated Printers. These Resins react to the intensity and other properties of light.
  • CROWD FUNDING: Crowd-Funding is a very effective strategy that is used in many aspects of business and technology. It allows a person or business to present their idea to the public and they are able to receive funding by offering perks and incentives to those that help them in funding the project. Good examples would be Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.


  • DC MOTOR: A DC (Direct Current) Motor is used in place of a Stepper Motor in some 3D Printers as DC Motors offer more accuracy and power capability as the power is regulated by how much voltage is provided to the motor. An example of a 3D Printer using DC Motors is the RAPPY 3D Printer.
  • DELTA DESIGN/3D Printer: Delta 3D Printers are Printers that normally use 3 Stepper Motors rather than 2 to move the Print head/Extruder along the Axes (see cartesian coördinates definition) of the 3D Printer; the third Stepper Motor normally allows a smoother and faster operation, particularly when the Printer is being heavily used. Though all 3D Printers move left-to-right, back-to-front, and top-to-bottom, Delta Printers do not dedicate a Stepper Motor to a specific axis allowing them to run more smoothly. Also, because Delta Printers move the Extruder in a circular manner rather than straight lines you save the time taken by traditional 3D Printers to move the Extruder off of your object and then back on at a different point in order to complete a Layer or start a new one. You can easily recognize a Delta Printer due to it having 3 Effector/Control arms that move the Extruder. You can find Delta Printers here.
  • DO IT YOURSELF (DIY): 3D Printers that come as an un-assembled or partly assembled kit with either some or most of the assembly labor complete, leaving the rest of the assembly to make the Printer operational left to you. If offered, this will be the option for obtaining your 3D Printer with the least cost to you. Though this option can be intimidating to beginners, Makers tend to offer tutorials and support and there is usually already a decently sized community behind any 3D Printer, especially Open Source ones, that you can turn to for help.
  • DYE: Is a substance, usually derived from plants, that has the ability to bond with objects, such as Printer Filaments, and stain/color them. An example of a Filament that works well with Dying is the Taulman 645 Filament.


  • ELECTROLESS PLATING: Is the plating of metals without the use of an external electric charge, but rather a purely chemical reaction generates the negative charge needed for binding. This plating method is most commonly seen in PCB construction.
  • ELECTROPLATING: Is the process of binding/adding a metal to a surface through the use of chemicals and an external electric current. Electroplating is commonly used in PCB construction.

TechGenie PC Optimizer Pro at just $39.99TechGenie Absolute Security at just $79.99TechGenie Total Security at just $49.99

  • EFFECTOR: See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • EMG/ELECTROMYOGRAPHY: “is a technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles”. prosthetics, such as the Dextrus 3D Printed Robotic Hand, use this technique to provide a functional replacement for a lost limb/appendage.
  • END STOP:See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • ENGRAVING: The action of drawing/imprinting a design/pattern into a hard material/surface. Engraving is commonly performed on metals, especially jewelry. Engraving unto wood is usually referred to as carving. Engraving is seen as a Subtractive Process as it cuts away or burns off some material in order to make the design/pattern. Some 3D Printer Makers refer to Engraving as Stylus Cutting.
  • ETHERNET: This is a wired connection to the internet for your 3D Printer. You can connect 3D Printers that have Ethernet to your personal or business network so that multiple people can use it rather than just yourself when attaching via USB. See an example of an Ethernet port in the image below.
    Ethernet Port


  • FABLAB: Short for Fabrication Laboratory; Fablabs are normally small-scale workshops for learning and performing digital Fabrication (using CAD software). You should be able to find Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing at any Fablab.
  • FABRICATOR: 3D Printers are sometimes called personal Fabricators. In the personal 3D Printing world Fabricators are also often machines that can do more than just one type of Fabrication, such as the Fabtotum, which can 3D Print, 3D Scan, and CNC milling as well. Fabrication is simply another term for manufacturing though this term is most often used when manufacturing is performed with the use of a machine/robot.
  • FIBERGLASS: Fiberglass is a Plastic Composite of a Polymer reinforced with Strands of glass. Fiberglass is known for its cost effectiveness and light weight. Some 3D Printers, such as the Mark One, can 3D Print with Fiberglass and other Composites.
  • FINISHING: Also knows as Surface Finishing; In relation to 3D Printers, Finishing is generally the smoothing/Buffing of the surfaces of your 3D Printed object. You can think of it as just “smoothing the rough edges”. The lower the Layer height (usually represented in Microns), the lower the need for Finishing. Some 3D Printer Makers boast no need for Finishing because their Printers have such a high Resolution (can achieve a very low Layer height) achievable by their Printers). The Most common forms of Finishing used on 3D Printed objects are Polishing/Buffing (Generally Used by FDM Printers) and Planarization (Chemical-mechanical Planarization is generally used by Stereolithographic Printers). Stereolithographic/Photolithographic Printers use a Planarization process called Shallow Trench Isolation (STI).
  • FDM/FUSED DEPOSITION MODELING (also known as FFF/FUSED FILAMENT FABRICATION): FDM/FFF is the process that most consumer affordable 3D Printers use. FDM is a trademarked term owned by the Stratsys Corporation while the FFF term is applied to most 3D printers as it is an “Open/Open Source“-based term and 3D Printer Makers not associated with Stratasys should use this term when presenting their FDM-based 3D Printer to avoid any potential future legal quagmires.This process includes the design and creation of an object using CAD/CAM Software by producing an CAD/STL Design File which is then provided to your 3D Printer. A Filament, usually a Thermoplastic (Plastic) is heated/melted and then placed down in Layers until the object is built. You can discover more on how a 3D Printer uses these files to create 3D objects here.
  • FOOTPRINT: On All About 3D Printing, a 3D Printers Footprint consists of, how much electricity it takes to run, how much physical space it uses (example; space on your desk), the materials it is made from (recyclable, toxic/non-toxic materials, ease to repair or replace parts).
  • FRAME: See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
The FabTotum Fabricator
  • FULL-FEATURED: We consider 3D Printers that also have a heated Print Bed full featured since those Printers will work well with both of the most common 3D Printer Filaments, ABS and PLA.

  • FUMES: Noxious smells creating by airborne particles when 3D Printing with some Filaments. For more, please see our article, “The Dangers Of 3D Printing: Part II.”
  • GUIDEWAY/GUIDE RODSSee “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page



  • G-CODE (GCODE): G-code is a programming language used to instruct an automated machine, such as a 3D Printer, on how to do something. It is one of the most popular programming languages used by 3D Printing software.


  • HIGH DEFINITION: Usually refers to the quality of a display, such as on a computer or television screen. High Definition is a display quality of 1280 Pixels by 720 Pixels. See definition for “Resolution” for more details.




  • KINEMATIC COUPLING: Used by 3D Printers, such as the Mark One, Kinematic Coupling provides a high degree of accuracy when the 3D Printer calibrates parts such as the Print Bed or Extruder. Kinematics helps plot trajectories of something in motion with accuracy. Kinematically Coupled parts tend to have multiple contact areas so that the device can better sense where each part is in relation to another.
  • L

  • LCD (LIQUID-CRYSTAL DISPLAY): A screen that provides you instant information that is an option, or may come standard, with some 3D Printers.
  • LASER: A Laser is a device that emits light, usually accomplished by focusing the light through a special lens. Think of focusing sunlight through a magnifying glass. Lasers have many uses in the 3D Printing world. Common uses are 3D Printers using lasers to help with Print accuracy and 3D Scanners also improving their accuracy by using lasers to determine the exact dimensions of an object. Most 3D Printers and 3D Scanners use red Lasers as red lasers are the least expensive to make or purchase. Some Makers use green lasers in their devices as green Lasers are higher quality. We believe the Makers of the Robocular 3D Scanner explained why green Lasers are better at achieving higher quality very well: “CMOS color webcams have twice as many green pixel receptors as red, allowing us to capture a much higher number of clear points”.  Some 3D Printers that can accomplish both Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing techniques by using lasers of higher intensity to actually cut physical objects the same way a blade/saw does in a CNC (see Computer Numerically Controlled) machine but with greater accuracy.
  • LAYER(S): Generically a layer is “a thickness of some material laid on or spread over a surface”. 3D Printers put down Filament in Layers, one on top of another, in order to Print your object. Thinner Layers mean higher Resolution, your object will have finer detail/higher quality appearance. Thinner Layers usually also mean more Layers, which increase the strength/durability of your Printed object.


  • MAKER(S): We refer to individuals/business entity’s that build their own 3D Printers, whether it be from an open or proprietary design, as Makers. Makers are often referred to as DIY (Do It Yourself) people as Makers are often individuals or small groups of entrepreneurs developing ever improving 3D Printers and other technology.
  • MAKERSPACE (HACKLAB, HACKERSPACE, HACKSPACE): Makerspaces are community-driven workshops allowing those with common intersts (usually technology related) to collaborate.
  • MICRON: A Micron is a unit of measurement usually used by Makers to represent the Print Resolution their 3D Printer can achieve. Micron is short for Micrometer/Micrometre and is 0.001 millimeters (mm)/0.000039 of an inch (in). Learn more about a Micron here.
  • MODEL: See article: What is a Design File?
  • MODULAR: Some 3D Printers are partially or completely modular; this means that the parts can be easily swapped out/upgraded to improve speed, Build Volume, and other capabilities. Most 3D Printers that are at least partially modular, allowing you to change the Extruder Head to one that can operate at higher temperatures or sometimes even add extra Heads for faster or multicolor Printing. Fully modular 3D Printers allow you to change all working components and sometimes even the Frame to accomodate a larger Print Bed/increased Build Volume.


  • NYLON: Is a Thermoplastic that is similar to silk in look and feel. It is great for decorative 3D Prints. A good example of a Nylon-based material used with 3D Printers is the Taulman/Nylon 618 Printer Filament. FREE SHIPPING


  • OPEN SOURCE: Meaning, free access to a product’s design/blueprint, for you to change or reproduce for your own purposes. The philosophy of the communal sharing and improvement of an idea, object, and so on. Information is shared freely and patents are not involved. Usually anyone can improve upon an open source project. The RepRap project is recognized as the originator of Open Source 3D Printers.
  • OUT-OF-THE-BOX/OUT-THE-BOX: 3D Printers and other devices that come to you fully assembled and ready to use right away.


  • PCB BOARD/PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD: PCB is short for Printed Circuit Board; even though it is likely a poor use of English to say PCB Board since you are effectively saying, “Printed Circuit Board Board”, you will generally see it written this way as there are many aspects of PCB’s and their manufacture and that term tends to be easily specified. A Circuit Board is simply a board/flat surface with pathways “drawn” into it with a Conductive material, usually Copper; Circuit Boards allows an electronic device to communicate with its various components as well as with other electronics. A general comparison is how streets are laid out in a city connecting various neighborhoods; the streets would be the Conductive material, the way they are laid out the
    PCB Board

    pattern, and the neighborhoods the various components. Circuit Boards are almost always referred to as Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) due to the process by which they are made. A Printed Circuit Board involves the Surface (usually a flat material), the Conductive material (usually a pure metal such as Silver or Copper), and a Soldering machine (in our case a 3D Printer) or other device that is used to etch the pathways/required pattern on to the Surface. While PCB construction in general most often uses a Semi-additive method most personally-affordable 3D Printers use either a purely Subtractive or Additive method. Some 3D Printers, such as the Fabtotum, make PCB’s using a Subtractive Manufacturing process; the most common being PCB Milling. Some others, such as the EX, use an Additive Manufacturing Process. One popular Additive PCB process is Chemical Etching.

  • PCB MILLING: The Subtractive Process of removing areas of Conductive material (usually Copper or Silver) from a PCB to create the desired circuit patterns.
  • PIXEL: A Pixel is simply the smallest unit of an image that a device can interpret/understand. For example, a 1080p Television screen can interpret 1920 Pixels vertically and 1080 Pixels horizontally across the screen. The greater amount of Pixels that devices such as Televisions, Photo and Video Cameras, and other devices that display and/or capture images can understand will result in a higher Resolution image. Higher Resolution images will look sharper/clearer. You can especially see the difference when you have two images that have a considerably different number of Pixels within displayed on a large screen or when observed up close.
  • PHOTOPOLYMER: Is a Polymer that changes when exposed to light. Stereolithographic/Photo-Activated 3D printers use Resins that are Photopolymers; beams of light cause the Resin to harden in certain areas allowing those Printers to build a 3D object.
    Objects Printed Using Taulman 618
  • PLA-ONLY Printer: Is a 3D Printer that does not come with a heated Print Bed which is very important for Printing with ABS Filament. These 3D Printers will only work well using lower heat Filaments such as PLA. The recommended operating temperature range of PLA Filament is 180 to 220 degrees Celsius/356 to 428 degrees Fahrenheit. PLA-Only Printers will have a similar operating temperature range. Note that the operating temperature for 3D Printers refers to the temperature of the Print Nozzle/Extruder and not the temperature at which that Filament melts in general.
  • PLASTIC: Plastic is a material normally created by combining natural and synthetic substances into Polymers. Plastics are moldable (generally easy to shape into an object you wish).
  • PLOTTING (PLOTTER): Plotting is the use of a Plotter, a Printer integrated with a computer. A Plotter excels at producing large, High Resolution drawings quickly. At one time Plotters were used extensively in the creation of hard copy’s of CAD designs (blueprints).
  • PLUG-AND-PLAY: When referring to 3D Printers, Plug-and-play simply means that upon connecting your 3D Printer to your computer (Usually via USB), it will automatically install/enable all necessary software so you can Print right away; no fumbling with drivers or searching the internet for extra software just to get your Printer to work. We highly recommend such Printers for those purchasing their first 3D Printer or those who will be using one for the first time.
  • POINT-AND-SHOOT: Similar to digital cameras, a Point-and-Shoot 3D Scanner allows you to take images of your object simply by pointing the Scanner at the object and normally capturing an image/scanning the object through the push of one or a few buttons. Point-and-Shoot also implies that the 3D Scanner automatically chooses the best settings for you automatically while you are capturing your object making these Scanners excellent for beginners. A good example of a Point-and-Shoot Scanner is the Fuel 3D Scanner.
  • POLAR COORDINATES/POLAR COORDINATE SYSTEMThe Polar Coordinate System is used by Delta Printers as opposed to the Cartesian Coordinate System used by traditional 3D Printers. Rather than being restricted to straight lines of motion the Polar System allows for motion in-between straight line angles. This allows Delta Printers to move more smoothly than traditional 3D Printers which results in faster Printing as well as Printing that may even be more accurate since there are no abrupt stops during Printing which may cause unwanted vibration in the Frame of the Printer. The constant jerk exhibited by some traditional 3D Printers can even warp Frames over time that aren’t very rigid; depending on how warped your Frame becomes it will negatively affect your Print accuracy by or small amount or even drastically.
  • POLYMER: Polymer is a word meaning “many parts”. Polymers are a combination of two or more materials/substances. Good examples of polymers are Plastics. Plastics are a mixture of natural and synthetic materials/substances.
  • POPLAR WOOD: Poplar Wood comes from a hardwood tree that is native to Eastern North America. It is one of the preferred materials to be used on your Print Bed when Printing with Filaments such as Taulman/Nylon 618. This wood is normally inexpensive and can usually be found at your local hardware store.
  • POWER SUPPLY: See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • PRINT/BUILD VOLUME: In relation to 3D Printers the maximum Print Volume is the largest size/dimensions of an object, the length, width, and height, it can Print.
  • PRINT BED/Printer BED:See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • PRE-ORDER: This is usually the default order stage for 3D Printers and other devices on Crowdfunding pages such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Though the drawback of Pre-Ordering an item is paying a portion or all of the cost of the device and having to usually wait an extended amount of time to actually receive the item, Pre-Orders are usually a good deal less expensive than waiting for the device to be ready for general/public sale.
  • PROTOTYPE: A Prototype is an early sample, model or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.



  • RAPID PROTOTYPING: Rapid Prototyping is a group of techniques to quickly fabricate/build a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional Computer Aided Design (CAD) data.
  • RESIN: Resin is a natural material that comes from plants and trees that is normally similar to maple/pancake syrup in consistency. An example of a Printer
    Peachy, The first $100 3D Printer

    that uses Resin for Prints is the Peachy 3D Printer.

  • RESOLUTION: The smallest unit of measurement for Resolution is called a Pixel. The term “Resolution” is sometimes interchanged with the term “Definition”; for example, a television that has the high display Resolution of 1280 Pixels by 720 Pixels would be callled a High Definition television. The term Resolution is usually used when referring to capturing an image or Model, such as with a 3D Scanner. Definition usually refers to the quality of a display, such as the screen of your computer or television. In reference to 3D Printers the Resolution is usually discussed pertaining to the size/diameter of the Print nozzle/Extruder tip and the positional accuracy (how many and how close together the steps of movement are) of the motors (commonly Stepper Motors) that move the Print nozzle/Extruder along its Axes (see Cartesian Coordinates above). As a rule-of-thumb, the smaller the diameter of the Extruder tip and the greater the accuracy of the motors the finer the resolution your object can be Printed in resulting in a higher quality Prints. Think of comparing the same movie watched in High Definition (720p) and Full High Definition (1080p/Blu-ray quality). For 3D Scanners the Resolution is determined by the overall quality of the imaging equipment. Most 3D Scanners use one or more high quality cameras to take images. Some Scanners also incorporate lasers, such as the MatterForm 3D Scanner. Generally, the higher the number of Pixels a scanner can process/handle will mean higher Resolution and in turn a higher quality model to work with or copy of your object.


  • SECURE DIGITAL/SD CARD: An SD card is simply a data storage device, similar to a USB flash drive, that you can use to store design files on. A SD Card Reader allows your computer or 3D Printer to read the data on the card.
  • SEMI-ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESS: A method of manufacturing that combines elements from both Additive and Subtractive manufacturing. Semi-additive Manufacturing is often used in the construction of PCB‘s. Under this process a PCB comes with a Layer of Conductive material (usually Copper) already on it. The areas of the Conductive material that WILL NOT form pathways are removed. The desired pathways left over are touched over with additional Conductive material to ensure uniformity/a working path and to adjust the Layer height of the pathways if desired.
  • SERVO/SERVO-MOTOR: Is a type of motor normally used in robotics that operates by feedback; instead of sticking to defined parameters like a Stepper Motor does, a Servo Motor uses sensors to determine its position for the job it has to do.
  • SMART/SMART 3D Printer: The A3DP website refers to Smart 3D Printers as Printers that are mostly plug-and-play (simple setup requiring at most the installation of one piece of software on your computer), have WiFi or other means of internet connection built-in, able to remote control your Printer, applications such as controlling your 3D Printer with your Smartphone/Tablet; the Printer must come with at least these features standard.
  • SOLDERING: Soldering is the use of Solder (a metal alloy that is heated and used to join other pieces of metal; used often in the construction of electronics/PCB’s) to join multiple pieces of metal together. Soldering is commonly used in the construction of Circuit Boards (also known as Printed Circuit Boards)
3D Printed Robotic Arm That Uses Servo-Motors
  • START-UP: A Start-Up is a business that is in its infancy stages. It can be a physical product, software, or even just an idea in the making. A Start-Up is also usually in search of funding to launch the business/product.
  • STEP: In relation to a 3D Printer, a Step is the smallest distance a motor (Stepper Motor) can move the Print Nozzle/Extruder Head along the Axes of the Printer. The greater the number of Steps a 3D Printer can accomplish is the more accurate your Prints will be, resulting in higher quality, more detailed objects. For 3D Scanners (turn-table 3D Scanners), the Scanner normally takes one image/picture for every Step. Similar to 3D Printers, the more Steps a 3D Scanner can accomplish will be the higher the Resolution of the scanned object.
  • STEPPER/STEP MOTOR: See “The Parts Of A 3D Printer” Page
  • STEREOLITHOGRAPHIC/PHOTO-ACTIVATED 3D Printer: 3D Printers in this category use light intensity with special Curable (See Curing) Photopolymer Resins. The Resins harden in the area hit with a beam of light allowing the Printer to build your object. These Resins are considered the Filament for these Printers. Although, in most cases, both Photo-Activated and FDM Printers heat their Filament first, Photo-Activated Printers don’t force the heated Filament through an Extruder/Print Nozzle. These 3D Printers pour/add Resin to a container and light is beamed at alternating intensity to build your object within the container. When your object is complete you simply remove the finished product from the container. Think of an ice tray as the container, the water as the Resin, and the coldness of your freezer that hardens the water in the cubes of the ice tray as the intensity that hardens your Resin. Examples of Printers that use this method are the Lumifold and Peachy 3D Printer. You may also see this method of 3D Printing referred to as Photolithographic, Photo-Initiated, and other similar terms.
  • STYLUS CUTTING: Stylus Cutting is simply the term some 3D Printer Makers use when stating that their device has the ability to Engrave objects.
  • SUBTRACTIVE MANUFACTURING: A method of manufacturing primarily used by cutting machines such as CNC machines. This method/process of manufacturing is often simply called machining and is a type of Controlled Material Removal; starting with an object(s) larger than your desired end product and cutting away the unnecessary parts until you get your final object. Subtractive Manufacturing is the exact opposite of Additive Manufacturing which starts with the smallest size of the material and builds upon it. A person using the Subtractive Process is often called a Machinist, even though there are many other methods of manufacturing that fall under that term as well.


  • TEXTURE/TEXTURE MAPPING: Texture is the detail added to a 3D Object using CAD/CAM software. These details include color, lighting, depth, and other aspects of the object. Adding Texture to your 3D object is called Texture Mapping. View the “What Is A 3D Printer Design File?“, article for information on how various CAD/CAD programs use Texture.
  • THERMOPLASTIC: Is a Polymer that becomes moldable once it is heated above a specific temperature. The 3D Printer Filaments on this website are examples of Thermoplastics.


CNC Machining With Handibot|
CNC Machining With HandiBot
  • ULTRA-FINE PARTICLES (UFP): As pertaining to 3D Printing, UFP’s are very small particles of Printer Filament that stay in the air during and after an object has been 3D Printed. UFP’s are commonly known as Fumes. Excessive exposure, such as Printing in an unventilated area, can cause respiratory/breathing issues. We always recommend Printing in a well ventilated environment such as opening a window and we encourage the use of a window fan.
  • USB: Almost all 3D Printers offer a physical connection to your computer, this is usually accomplished through a USB connection, this is the same connection that you are most likely already familiar with as it is used by many standard (print on paper) home printers as well as keyboards, flash drives, ETC.


  • VOLUME: Refers to the capacity of a 3D Printer, 3D Scanner, or other device. For example; the maximum height of the range of vertical motion for the Extruder Head combined with the maximum dimensions of the Print Bed dictate the maximum size of an object it can Print. For a 3D Scanner, the Scan Volume is simply the maximum dimensions of an object it can Scan, this is usually dictated by the dimensions of the Bed/turn-table and the range of motion of the camera(s) and Laser(s), if equipped. Some devices do not have a set maximum Volume. Point-and-Shoot 3D Scanners are only limited by how much its software can accammodate as they are basically digital cameras that are optimized to recreate the object 3-Dimensionally for manipulation and/or 3D Printing. An example of a Point-and-Shoot 3D Scanner is the Fuel 3D Scanner. Some 3D Printers, such as Stereolithographic 3D Printers, are only limited by the amount of Filament you have as well as the size of the container you available to Print the object in. An example of a 3D Printer with this capability is the Peachy.


  • WIFI: WiFi is the short name for the term “Wireless Fidelity”. WiFi uses radio waves to broadcast a network, such as the Internet, wirelessly between devices such as computers.
  • WIKIPEDIA: A free to use online encyclopedia where information is uploaded, edited, and verified by thousands of users from around the world.




If there is a Frequently Used Term, or even a term used once, on our site that you do not understand and is not listed here or you need an additional explanation of a term that is here please let us know!

You will also find our FAQ Page useful!

Frequently Used Terms On

Happy Printing!

4 All Memory - 100% Compatible

What Is A 3D Printer?

What Is A 3D Printer?

A 3D Printer is best thought of in relation to your regular home Printer; your ink Printer at home uses ink to print text and images on paper, a 3D Printer works by using materials such as plastic and metal … Read More

Why Is 3D Printing Important?

Why Is 3D Printing Important?

Why Is 3D Printing Important? What Is It and Why All The “Fuss”? The main goal of our website is tell about you the advantages of 3D printing and why it is important to join in on the 3D printing … Read More

Amazons 3D Printing Store

Amazons 3D Printing Store Conveniently Providing Everything You Need The 3D printing store at is fully operational. If you are unfamiliar with it is an online retailing giant. At the 3D printing section on their website you can not only compare … Read More

What Is 3D Printing?

What Is 3D Printing?

Think of your Printer at home. Most of us use our home printers to print documents. You open your text editing program such as Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer to view your document and then you choose the option … Read More