3D Printers: CNC Machines by Any Definition

Motion control is at the heart of any computer numerical control (CNC) machine. Precise motion could be required for directing a cutting tool to shear material from a metal workpiece, for guiding a laser to pierce sheet metal, for driving an electrified wire to vaporize hardened steel or for countless other applications that require articulated motion. Precise motion control is also at the heart of 3D printing.

3D printers have been around for a long time. With that said, I am surprised by how many people know just a little about them. Frankly speaking, I counted myself in this category until recently, when I purchased one of the many kitted hobby-grade fused filament fabrication (FFF) machines. It has a 0.4-mm nozzle and prints using 1.75-mm plastic filament. It is chirping away next to my desk as I write.

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