3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The¬†creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying¬†down successive layers of material until the entire object is created.
It all starts with making a virtual design of the object you want to create. This virtual design is for instance a CAD¬†(Computer Aided Design) file. This CAD file is created using a 3D modeling application or with a 3D scanner (to copy an¬†existing object). A 3D scanner can make a 3D digital copy of an object.
The term 3D printing has its origin sense, 3D printing in reference to a process that deposits a binder material onto a¬†powder bed with inkjet printer heads layer by layer.