3D printing

variants: or less commonly 3-D printing

Definition of 3D printing

: the manufacturing of solid objects by the deposition of layers of material (such as plastic) in accordance with specifications that are stored and displayed in electronic form as a digital model Whereas traditional manufacturing techniques start with a solid block and cut unwanted material away from it, 3D printing … builds up material in layers, producing precisely the object desired with almost no waste.— Mark Betancourt Imagine dreaming up a toy for your kids, sketching it out on your computer, and minutes later—voilà!—you're holding the real thing in your hand. Such is the promise of 3-D printing, a niche but growing technology that Bre Pettis and his Brooklyn-based start-up, MakerBot, believe will become as common in homes as the printers that crank out our photos and household documents.— Andréa Ford et al.

called also additive manufacturing

First Known Use of 3D printing

1992, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about 3D printing

Time Traveler for 3D printing

Time Traveler

The first known use of 3D printing was in 1992

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries near 3D printing



3D printer

3D printing




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for 3D printing

Cite this Entry

“3D printing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/3D%20printing. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Comments on 3D printing

What made you want to look up 3D printing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!