Three Dimensional Printing (3DP) uses an inkjet head and a water fusible material similar to “Plaster of Paris”. The machine lays down a thin layer of plaster powder; the inkjet head passes over and sprays tiny drops of water wherever solidification is desired. While the parts are weak and rough, it is easy to incorporate colors into the finished object. This method is not recommended for functional testing because of the inherent weakness.
Pros: 3DP offers the fastest build time of any additive process, and is also among the least expensive options for prototype quantities. Colored models can communicate more information and have aesthetic appeal. This plaster material is non-toxic, inexpensive and readily available. The process can make parts with complex geometries.
Cons: Parts are rough and weak, and there are very few material options. While 3DP can make parts with complex geometries, it gives no insight into the eventual manufacturability of the design.