The First Step is the preparation just before printing, when you design a 3D file of the object you want to print. This 3D file can be created using CAD software, with a 3D scanner or simply downloaded from an online marketplace. Once you have checked that your 3D file is ready to be printed, you can proceed to the second step.
The Second Step is the actual printing process. First, you need to choose which material will best achieve the specific properties required for your object. The variety of materials used in 3D printing is very broad. It includes plastics, ceramics, resins, metals, sand, textiles, biomaterials, glass, food and even lunar dust! Most of these materials also allow for plenty of finishing options that enable you to achieve the precise design result you had in mind, and some others, like glass for example, are still being developed as 3D printing material and are not easily accessible yet.
The Third Step is the finishing process. This step requires specific skills and materials. When the object is first printed, often it cannot be directly used or delivered until it has been sanded, lacquered or painted to complete it as intended.
The material chosen for the project will determine which printing methods are most suitable. Among these, the most commonly used techniques for each group of materials are described next.