There are a variety of processes, equipments, and materials used in the synthesis of a three-dimensional object. 3D printing is also known as additive manufacturing, therefore the numerous available 3D printing processes tend to be additive in nature with a few key differences in the technologies and the materials used in this process.

Some of the different types of processes include extrusion, light polymerization, continuous liquid interface production and powder bed. Each process and piece of equipment has pros and cons associated with it. These usually involve aspects such as speed, costs, as well as a mechanical and appearance properties of the material like strength, texture and color.

The variety of processes and equipment allows for numerous uses by amateurs and professionals alike. Some lend themselves better toward industry use whilst others make 3D printing accessible to the average consumer. Some printers are large enough to fabricate buildings whilst others tend to micro and nanoscale sized objects and in general many different technologies can be exploited to physically produce the designed objects.