3D Printing
3D Printing


PLA / Polylactic acid is a biodegradable thermoplastic most commonly used in most FDM 3d printers.

  • Easy to Print
  • Durable and Relatively Strong
  • Non-Toxic

3d printed parts from PLA are the most common and widely used in prototyping and product development or proof of concept parts. Parts printed from PLA are used in product models and presentation in:

  • architecture
  • cosplay
  • education
  • movie props.

Nozzle temperature 190°C- 220°C

Recommended print surface BuildTak, Blue Painters Tape

Heat Bed Temperature 40°C – 60°C

Part Fan on

Printing speed 50mm/s – 85mm/s

Raft Distance 0.1mm – 0.2mm

Retraction Distance 1mm – 3mm

Retraction Speed 20mm/s – 40mm/s

Threshold Overhang Angle 45°)


ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is one of the most common industrial thermoplastics. It has great mechanical properties and good heat resistance up to 90°C but may be more difficult to print due to 1st layer adhesion and warping. ABS must be printed with a heated bed and enclosure. Air circulation or filter is recommended.


PETG or Polyethylene Terephthalate glycol-modified is a widely used industrial thermoplastic. PETG is known for its strong and durable properties along with good heat resistance similar to ABS but easier to print. 3d printed PETG parts are good for functional parts that require strength.

3D Printing Dictionary

3D scanner – A device used to analyze physical objects to create a solid model from the cloud of points.

3D Printing – The additive manufacturing process of creating a physical object layer by layer. Also known as Additive Manufacturing.

3d Printer – A machine that creates a physical object one layer at a time (the additive fabrication method). Used mostly for rapid prototyping, and molds, and benchies.

3D Modeling

3D Systems – a global manufacturer of production 3D printers, additive manufacturing equipment, and other additive services and products.

Absolute Accuracy – Defined as the difference between an intended final dimension and the actual dimension as determined by physical measurement of the part. In addition to those for linear dimensions, there are accuracy specifications for such features as hole sizes and flatness.

ABS plastic Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) – a common thermoplastic. ABS is commonly used in rapid prototyping extrusion-based 3D printers. This is the same material as LEGO bricks are made of.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) Additive Manufacturing – the process of manufacturing objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing methodologies. The most common additive manufacturing methods utilize this layered approach, but other geometries are also possible. This term is also used generically as a synonym for rapid prototyping.

Artifacts-print quality problems resulting in artifacts in 3d printed parts.

Axis: A spatial direction along with a path of motion. There are three primary axes, X, Y, and Z. Each primary axis has a relative axis along that axis; A, B, and C.

Bed leveling is necessary in order to print large objects. Mesh bed leveling creates a virtual grid of the print bed. As the layers are printed the motors will lower and raise the nozzle while printing to compensate for the uneven locations on the build plate.

Boolean– a 3d modeling function used to modify or create a solid body by combining, subtracting, or intersecting more than one body.

Borosilicate Glass – Borosilicate glass is commonly used as a 3d print surface for 3d printers as it can be rapidly heated and cooled and is resistant to thermal shock or thermal expansion. 

Boundary: a geometric parameter of constraint used to confine or exclude a toolpath.

Boundary Representation ( B-rep): a method used in solid modeling to define geometry that’s represented by edges, faces, and vertices. 

CAD: Computer-Aided Design; The use of computers to assist in the design process.

CAD/CAM: Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

CAM: Computer-Aided Manufacturing; The use of computers to assist in manufacturing.

Cartesian Coordinates: A three-dimensional system used to represent a position, location, or direction of motion in space.

Closed Profile– a chain of geometry that connects together without any gaps.

Contour Crafting – a form of 3D printing that uses robotic arms and nozzles to squeeze out layers of concrete or other materials, moving back and forth over a set path to fabricate a large component.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) – the automation of machine tools that are operated by abstractly programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, as opposed to controlled manually via handwheels or levers, or mechanically automated via cams alone. In modern CNC systems, end-to-end component design is highly automated using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) programs.

Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) – is the broad usage of computer software to aid in engineering tasks. This is also sometimes called computer-aided drafting.

Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) – a computer program that generates tool paths or other manufacturing data to fabricate tooling, usually by subtractive means. CAM programs may use a geometry definition from a CAD program as a starting point.

Constraints:  Spatial parameters or boundaries that are used to define relationships within geometry. Constraints may be used to associate parametric or variationally geometry within a CAD system.

DIY 3D printer – a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of 3D printers without the aid of experts or professionals.

Desktop Manufacturing (DTM) – an early synonym for rapid prototyping, but no longer in current usage. DTM Corp., now incorporated into 3D Systems, was named after this terminology. The use of DTM as a company name became more common usage than the prior technical definition itself.

Digital Light Processing (DLP) is a very fast 3d printing method that uses liquid resin material hardened by a light source or arc lamp.

Dual Extrusion: Some 3D printers carry two extruders/hot ends, allowing them to incorporate multiple colors or materials into the same print job. While the obvious appeal comes from the possibility for decorative two-tone prints, the real benefit of dual extrusion systems is combining different materials, such as dissolvable support material to enable the printing of otherwise impossible geometries.

Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

Extruder: The mechanism that filament to the print head or hotend, the extruder uses a stepper motor and two gears that grip the filament and pushes through the hotend. How the extruder is arranged can affect the printer and its capabilities. There are two common arrangements: Bowden, and direct drive.

Filament: Filament is the material that’s used to 3D print objects via FDM. The filament is typically a thermoplastic that is fed to a print head as a solid, where it is heated to its melting point for extrusion through a small nozzle. The filament is commonly available in spools of either 1.75 mm, 2.85 mm, or 3 mm diameter widths – dimensions that dictate the printers that can use them.

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) – FDM is a trademarked term, which caused the RepRap community to use an alternative name “fused filament fabrication” (FFF).

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – Fused deposition modeling is a 3D printing process that extrudes melted thermoplastic to create an object layer by layer. FDM is actually a trademarked term, which led to the RepRap open-source movement to coin the alternative term “fused filament fabrication” (FFF), but the two are interchangeable.


HIPS – High Impact Polystyrene is a dissolvable filament that is used for support material on dual extruder 3d printers that can easily be removed with chemicals such as Limonene solution. HIPS supports can easily be removed from the surface of 3d printed objects without sanding, scraping, cutting, or any other removal method that may damage the 3d printed part.

Hybrid 3D Printing – Modern Manufacturing Techniques merge with additive processes.

Layer Adhesion is a critical component of 3d printing as the extruded layers bond and fuse together with heat. Proper adhesion decreases the warping of the part.

Layer delamination occurs when the layers separate or don’t properly bond together. To avoid layer separation, increase your printer’s hotend temperature.

Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)

Magnetic Build Plate- magnetic beds made from mic6 cast aluminum that feature a pattern of magnets for magnetic print surfaces.

Mesh Bed Leveling – measures and compensates for an imperfect bed by probing the bed and collecting height points along a grid pattern to measure the flatness of the print bed. The data is then stored within the firmware and used to generate a heightmap. When printing, the motor movement is calculated and compensated between heights to correct the movement in Z-axis.

Misaligned Layers: Outer wall layers that are slightly uneven or have irregularities across the print surface.

Nylon Nylon filament is a common material used for 3d printed parts as it is known for its strong, durable properties.Nylon filament is very sensitive to moisture, so drying storage or the use of desiccant is recommended.

Open Source: The term given to a work, typically software, but also applicable to hardware, that is freely open for others to modify and redistribute according to their needs. In 3D printing, this is more likely that individuals are free to modify, improve, and share changes for others to reciprocate. Open source licenses govern the fair and correct usage of open source works, giving terms and conditions that ensure the freedom of access to the work and any derivatives.

PLA – Poly(lactic acid) or polylactide – A thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable sources, such as corn starch, tapioca products, or sugarcanes. PLA is commonly used in rapid prototyping extrusion-based 3D printers.

PEI Sheet – PEI (Polyetherimide) A PEI print surface is commonly used for a print surface on 3d printers. 3d printed parts stick or adhere extremely well compared to previously used methods such as kapton tape, blue tape, hairspray, or even glue. 

Pellet Extrusion: a pellet extruder allows 3d printers to print with plastic pellets, increasing the range of materials that can be 3d printed. A pellet extruder can also mix different types of materials such as soft rubber plastics with strong, high-temperature plastics to meet the part application.

PETG or Polyethylene Terephthalate glycol-modified is a widely used industrial thermoplastic known for its strong and durable properties along with good heat resistance. 3d printed PETG parts are good for functional parts that require strength.

Recycled Deposition Modeling (RDM) – an additive manufacturing process using a temperature-controlled head that extrudes recycled materials.

RepRapThe RepRap Project is an open-source 3d printer initiative with the designs published by the project or RepRap community published to the Creative Commons under a free software license, the GNU General Public License. Reprap is short for “replicating rapid prototype,” as the reprap 3d printers are meant to be able to self-replicate the printer parts in order to build another 3d printer.

Resin – Resin is a photosensitive liquid material commonly used on SLA, DLP, and MSLA 3d printers. It consists of a blend of chemicals that include polymerized synthetics or chemically modified natural resins that solidify by ultraviolet light or a UV-laser beam.

Revolve Tool: Revolves a selected profile around a selected axis.

Slicer: Slicer is the software used to generate print machine instructions in order to 3d print a part. A G-code file is generated that controls the path, speed, and temperature of the printer.

STL File – STL is a file format that originates out of the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems. STL files describe only the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without any representation of color, texture, or other common CAD model attributes. STL is the most popular file format for 3D printing. Developed by 3D Systems in the ’80s, the STL file type only contains the surface geometry of a 3D object. Despite industry efforts to move onto more efficient and data-rich formats such as 3mf, STL endures as the most commonly found 3D model file type on popular 3D model file repositories.

Stereolithography (SLA) – an additive technology in which photopolymerization is used to produce a solid part from a liquid is SLA. This technology employs a vat of liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer resin and an ultraviolet laser to build the object’s layers one at a time. For each layer, the laser beam traces a cross-section of the part pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the ultraviolet laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and joins it to the layer below. After the pattern has been traced, the SLA’s elevator platform descends by a distance equal to the thickness of a single layer, typically 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm (0.002″ to 0.006″). Then, a resin-filled blade sweeps across the cross-section of the part, re-coating it with fresh material. On this new liquid surface, the subsequent layer pattern is traced, joining the previous layer. The complete three-dimensional object is formed by this project. Stereolithography requires the use of supporting structures that serve to attach the part to the elevator platform. This technique was invented in 1986 by Charles Hull, who also at the time founded the company, 3D Systems.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – the additive process that uses a high-power laser to fuse small particles of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass powders into a mass that has the desired three-dimensional shape. The laser selectively fuses the powdered material by scanning the cross-sections (or layers) generated by the 3D modeling program on the surface of a powder bed. After each cross-section is scanned, the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness. Then a new layer of material is applied on top and the process is repeated until the object is completed. All untouched powder remains as it is and becomes a support structure for the object. Therefore there is no need for any support structure which is an advantage over SLS and SLA. All unused powder can be used for the next printing. SLS was developed and patented by Dr. Carl Deckard at the University of Texas in the mid-1980s, under the sponsorship of DARPA.

SLA: Stereolithography is a 3D printing technology that works via a process called vat photopolymerization. The term is often used to describe all methods of vat polymerization, but can also commonly refer to technology that uses a directed laser beam to trace layers into a vat of liquid photopolymer resin.

Shapeways – A 3D printing service / online platform where users upload design files to be 3d printed. Users can have objects printed from a variety of materials, including food-safe ceramics. Shapeways enables users to create and modify their designs, or import them from popular 3D modeling software.

SLM – Selective Laser Melting is an additive manufacturing process for 3d printing metal alloys by fusing metal powder particles together in a full melting process to produce functional parts.

Thingiverse is a website created by Makerbot to share user-created digital design files. Providing primarily open-source hardware designs.

Toolpath: the path that a tool moves in order to cut or rapid into position to cut.

Translate: To move or shift an element or solid over.

Warping occurs when proper surface adhesion decreases causing the printed part to break away from the print bed. Warping that can decrease the print quality.

Z-wobble is a common issue that many z-axes lead screw-driven 3d printers experience. The z-wobble issue occurs from either bent lead screws, misalignment, rotational run-out, or other factors on the drive mechanism such as components being over-constrained.

All Metal Part Store

Hello world! We’ve finally finished repairing the shop from the last years storm damage. The new shipping department is setup and a better system has been implemented. Just about everything is back online and we’ll be adding products to the store over the next few days. If you have any questions email us at 3ddistributed@gmail.com…

SolidCore CoreXY 3D Printer

Modular Scalable Linear Rails Balanced Carriage Pull Enclosure BOM utilizes most available parts All Metal Parts or 3D Printed Z-Axis: Independent Driven or Shared Belt Routing

How to Choose Wire Gauge and Length for Your 3d Printer

How can you calculate the wire gauge and length for 3d printer wiring? Most 3D printers use either 12V or 24V. The hotend of a 3D printer may draw up to 4A, while a heated bed draws nearly 12A. If the wire is not large enough or longer than needed, it will have more resistance…

Stepper Motor Wire Color And Coil Pairs

Stepper Motor Color Coding of Wires For any stepper motor to be wired up properly, we’ll need to determine which wires are “pairs” or connected to the ends of each coil. These are usually referred to as coil “A” and coil “B”. The exact order of the pairs Black/Green or Green/Black of pins does not…

Triple Z Bed Leveling Setup

The CoreXY motion system is a good solution if you’re looking to print faster. The 3d printer kinematics has become more popular in the last couple of years as users and DIY builders agree on an increase in print quality. The motion system is more lightweight compared to other 3d printer kinematics such as cartesian…

Triple Independent Motors Z Axis

The latest design update uses three Z-axis stepper motors. In this arrangement the belt routing to the stepper motor drive the lead screw. Each lead screw will be constrained by an MGN12 linear rail. This should also minimize vibrations that might be transferred from the motors to the z-axis. The belt to pulley ratio gives…

Kinematic Bed Mounting

SolidCore CoreXY Z-Axis Bed Leveling We recently started working on the SolidCore 3d printer’s bed leveling and mounting system. The z-axis uses a 3-point kinematic bed mounting with magnetic pivot spheres on each mount This properly constrains the bed at 3 points of contact. The original SolidCore Z-axis design was somewhat primitive because we only…