At the very basic level, traditional manufacturing you start with a block of material and then proceed to cut, drill, sand, ect. the material away until you have the final product. Where, in additive manufacturing, you start with nothing and add material piece by piece until you have the final product.
The two most common types are:
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Other types are:
Digital Light Processing (DLP)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM)
Digital Beam Melting (EBM)
The material used in fused deposition modeling is called filament. Filament is on a spool, much like ones wire is found on. Then this filament is feed through an extruder, where it is melted and deposited on a plate, called a bed, layer by layer of a model until you have the final product.
The process of FDM, creates the opportunity to have many different types of materials and colors, for different prints or within each print.
This is the process that LimmyJimmy Creations uses to create it's prints.
The material used in stereoilthography is called resin. Resin is a liquid held in a tank. With stereolithography there is a laser that hardens the resin layer by layer, while the model is being pulled out of the tank.
While, type of 3D printing tends to be faster and allows for finer detail, there is a limited amount of materials, as compared to other processes, and the entire model has to be made of one type of material.
This is the most common type of filament. It is a biodegradable thermoplastic that is made from corn. PLA is also the easiest filament to work with, making it a common option to combine with to make the more exotic filaments.
ABS is the material that LEGO's and bicycle helmets are made out of. This filament actually has better material properties than PLA, but is much harder to work with. ABS is also a very common filament to be combined with for the exotic filaments.
The raw PET, without being glycol modified, is the most commonly used plastic in the world. It is seen in water bottles, food containers, and clothing fibers. The glycol being added to the material for printing makes it cleaner, not a brittle, and easier to print with. PETG is held as a middle ground between PLA and ABS, as it is more flexible and durable than PLA, but easier to work with than ABS.
TPU is essentially a plastic with rubber like qualities, making them extremely flexible and durable. TPU is commonly found in automotive parts, household appliances, and medical supplies.
HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene)
PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)
ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate)
PMMA (Polymethyl Methacrylate)
FPE (Flexible Polyester)
Not actual wood, but looks and feels like wood, can even be sanded and stained. The wood types that are available are the following: Pine, Birch, Cedar, Ebony, and Willow, Bamboo, cherry, Coconut, Cork, and Olive.
Metal filaments used in FDM are not all metal, but have metal powder mixed in. You can get the metal filaments in bronze, brass, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel.
Yes, there is a filament that can conduct electricity. It has conductive carbon particulates mixed in to the filament.
Glow in the dark filament has phosphorescent material in it and comes in colors like: blue, red, pink, yellow, or orange.
The magnetic filament is mixed with powder iron. This filament does not create its own magnetic fields, but it does stick to magnets.
This filament changes colors depending on it's temperature. This temperature is around body temp. so holding or wearing (like mood rings) the prints will cause it to change. Some of the colors that is comes in are purple to pink, blue to green, or yellow to green.
Filament information found at all3dp.com, The Ultimate Filament Guide, by Sean Rohringer