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 by using additive processes. In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the entire object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-srction of the eventual object.
Not all 3D printers use the same technology. There are several ways to print and all those available ones are additive, differing mainly in the way layers are build to create the final object.
Some methods use melting or softening material to produce the layers. Selective laser sintering (SLS) and fused deposition modeling (FDM) are the most common technologies that use this way of printing. Another method of printing is when we talk about curing a photo-reactive resin with a UV laser or another similar power source one layer at a time. The most common technology using this method is called stereolithography (SLA).