3D printing. What is it?
3D printing, additive manufacturing, is a process of creating three-dimensional object from digital file by adding thin layers of molten plastic one on of top the other until the object is made. It’s a process opposite to commonly known subtractive manufacturing which involves milling or drilling machines.
It has got long history, back to 1984 when the first 3D printer was invented by Chuck Hull, American engineer. Stereolithography, the technology used by that printer, was patented in 1986. Since then technology made big step forward allowing us to have access to different types of printing technologies.
3D printing has mainly been used for prototyping by giving cost-saving opportunities for big companies or individuals with great ideas. However, with time the idea of 3D printing also reached households. Many people start using printers to make “everyday use” things, board games elements, figures/sculptures, lithophanes and cosplays.
Nature of 3d modeling is to develop three-dimensional digital creation representing (mathematically) real/unreal surface or object via modeling software.
Final product is called a 3d model.
Isn't it simple?
This is only single example of what could be created. There're many applications where 3d modeling is a must and a good thing is, that it's still developing.