Creating a three dimensional item can be done in so many different ways. Nowadays there are a plethora of technologies a 3D printing service can offer. CNC machining can for example be the method that works the best in your situation, but obviously you could also decide to use 3D printing. Additive manufacturing, as it is known as well, is extremely popular at the moment. This is not strange at all, since 3D printing has a lot of different advantages. Below you can find three of the most important ones.
In the past you had to do a lot by yourself if you wanted to 3D print. For example, you would have to create the design yourself. Obviously you can still do this now, but you could also use a design created by someone else. This is possible due to the 3D printing community. The producers follow open source principles for both software and hardware, but also do this for their designs. Open source is a term borrowed from software development models. It means that the code is open. This way everyone can see, use, and enhance it. Due to this users all over the world can cooperate.
Another advantage of 3D printing is that the parts are built by adding material layer-by-layer. Due to this, there will not be a lot of wasted material. Usually the losses associated with 3D printing are related to support structures, so there will be minimal waste. If you decide to use a different method, the chance is quite high that you will end up wasting much more material. Airbus has for example managed to develop an optimized cabin partition for the A320 aircrafts by using metal 3D printing processes. This cabin partition weighed almost half of the original one and used less material.
People often say that 3D printing is only as useful as the materials it can process. This is essentially correct, although technological developments in 3D printing mix well with material development. For example, it is now quite common to use metal 3D printing. A few years ago, this was barely possible. This process is nowadays even used for aerospace applications, for example. As a home user, you can also use many different types of materials in combination with a 3D printer. This makes it even more attractive.