What Do You Need for 3D Printing?

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Updated February 1, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may wonder what you need for 3D printing. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, but you often require additional materials and components to truly engage in a 3D printing project. So how do the best 3D printers work, and what do you need to make some decent prints? Keep reading to find out.


  • 3D printers do require some materials in order to successfully create 3D models and physical objects of all kinds.
  • To start with, you need design documents, slicer software, and 3D printing materials like a spool of filament or a tank of liquid resin before you begin rapid prototyping or otherwise engaging in the 3D printing process.
  • You also need certain add-ons to finish some 3D prints, like paint or tools to make manual adjustments after printing layer by layer.

What Do You Need to Start 3D Printing?

Beyond the printer itself, there are a few things you need to get going here.

But before diving into what you can make with a 3D printer and what you need to get there, it is helpful to understand how these machines work. It all starts with building materials like resin or filament if you are learning how to use resin with a 3D printer. These materials are made using a wide range of sub-materials to allow you to make more objects if you are wondering what 3D printer resin is made of. You also need a design blueprint, so learn what file types 3D printers use.

Insider Tip

Some users invest in a dedicated printer enclosure to protect the printing area as the machine works.

The resin or filament is heated at the print nozzle and extruded via that same nozzle if you are wondering what an extruder does in a 3D printer. The 3D model is built via these extrusion nozzles, slowly, layer by layer. Some objects take many hours to complete, so learn how to ventilate a 3D printer.

Resin or Filament

Modern printers use spools or tanks of resin and filament to create 3D models and 3D objects. When shopping, make sure your preferred material integrates with your printer and that the material is a good fit for the objects you want to create. These materials ship in all different colors and gradient designs.

Design Blueprints

You also need design schematics to feed to a printer to give it directions. For beginners, there are many sites out there that aggregate these documents for eager users. Make sure the schematic integrates with your actual printer, as printer sizes and model dimensions vary greatly. You may also need slicer software and architectural software if you want to make the blueprints yourself.

STAT: 3D printing is the process of creating a three-dimensional object, usually done by systematically layering material on top of itself. The printer reads a digital file from the computer, which dictates how to layer the material to build the object.(source)


Objects are not always finished when exiting the printer. They require glue to attach portions, paint for color, and so much more.

3D Printing Requirements FAQs

What is 3D printing used for?

This type of printing finds a lot of uses, from rapid prototyping to making home goods and toys. There is a reason these printers have become so popular in recent years.

Is 3D printing even printing?

3D printing is actually additive manufacturing, though printing makes for a catchier name. 3D printing technologies and components like the print bed allow makers to create larger models than ever before via CAD software and resin printers.

Who invented 3D printing?

Charles W. Hull is credited as an inventor of 3D printing technologies in the 1980s. He also made the first 3D prints and invented the type of print bed used for making these objects.
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