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Commonly Used Terms

This list contains a number of terms that are common in 3D printing and are terminology that would be used by our 3D Printer Tech Support Team. This is not to be considered a definitive list of terms, just what is actively used by our team;

  • Build Plate - The flat surface your object is printed onto. This is typically covered by a black matte sticker that can be replaced if damaged. Some users like to use glass sheets in lieu of this sticker.
  • Brim - A single flat layer printed around the base of a model to prevent warping. The width of the brim can typically be altered in a slicer program. The most common usage of a brim is to help with build plate adherence.
  • Extruder - This typically refers to the motor assembly that physically grabs and pushes the filament through the heat block.
  • Filament - A roll of plastic material that looks similar to a wire that is heated and fed through the nozzle to create your object. It comes in PLA, PLA Plus, ABS and many more types of plastics and is usually comes coiled on a spool.
  • FDM Printing - Fused Deposition Modeling is a type of 3D printing, commonly referring to printers that use Spooled and then heated filament to lay layers to create your object.
  • G-Code - The file format that is most commonly used with most 3D Printers after it has been sliced. A G-code file is the essentially the movement coordinates your printer is able to understand to create your object.
  • Heat Block or Block - The Heat block is a square or rectangular block found on the Extruder of the printer that typically houses the heating cylinder and thermistor. It acts a heat dispersal for the filament that is passing through it.
  • Heat Creep - Heat creep is the process of heat spreading irregularly throughout your hot end, disrupting the way filament must melt to extrude. This will often cause clogs, especially inside your thermal barrier tube.
  • Hot End - The part of your printer that heats filament. This can also be referred to as an extruder. This is usually the Block and/or Nozzle the filament comes out of.
  • Infill - A value usually represented in percentage that shows how much a solid model should be filled in with material when printed. 100% infill means the part is completely solid. Infill is used to make 3D printing cheaper and faster.
  • Layer Height - Sometimes called print resolution this is the height of each layer of a 3D print typically measured in microns. Layer height can be adjusted in your slicing software.
  • Micron - measurement of distance regularly used to describe 3D printing layer height. 1000th of a millimeter. A human hair is approximately 17 microns thick.
  • Nozzle - The part of the 3D printer that is typically attached to a heat block that heated plastic filament is extruded from. Usually removable and replaceable if necessary.
  • Nozzle Diameter - The width of the nozzle opening that filament is extruded from. The standard nozzle diameter for Monoprice is .4mm wide.
  • .OBJ File - Short for Object File. An OBJ file is a standard 3D image format that can be exported into your slicing software and turned into a G-Code file.
  • Overhang - A part of your object that typically extends horizontally from the vertical part of your object. Such as the horizontal topper of an upright capital T. This would typically require supports.
  • Raft - A grid of filament usually 4 to 5 layers thick added to the base of the part to limit the likelihood of warping occurring and to help with adherence. Different to a skirt or brim in that your object prints on top of the finished raft.
  • Shell - In FDM printing the shell refers to the walls of the print that are exposed to the outside of the model. FDM will print shells at the perimeter of the model and then fill the model with infill.
  • Skirt - A line that is initially printed around the print (but not connected to the print) to clean the nozzle head.
  • SLA Printing - Stereolithography creates 3D prints out of a liquid (photopolymer) resin, solidifying the material layer by layer using a laser.
  • Slice - A single layer of gcode command generated from an .OBJ or .STL file in a slicing software.
  • Slicing - The process changing .OBJ and .STL files into G-Code files. This is done is a slicing software such as Ultimaker Cura.
  • STL File - Most commonly referred to as a Stereolithography File, however there are several variations on the meaning. A .STL file is raw data format that stores only the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object without any representation of color, texture or other common model attributes. This file can be exported into your slicing software and turned into a G-Code file.
  • Supports - A support is extra material build up around your print to hold up overhangs on objects with more complex geometry.
  • X-Axis - The side to Side or left and right direction relative to the center of the build surface.
  • Y-Axis - The back and forth direction relative to center of the build surface.
  • Z-Axis - The up and down direction relative to the center of the build surface.

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