Printing is a process for reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest examples include Cylinder seals and other objects such as the Cyrus cylinder & Cylinders of Nabonidus. The earliest known form of woodblock printing came from China dating to before 220 A.D.. Later developments in printing include the movable type, first developed by Bi Sheng in China, and the printing press, a more efficient printing process for western languages with their more limited alphabets, developed by Johannes Gutenberg in the fifteenth century.
Hoe’s six-cylinder press, 1864
Modern printing is done typically with ink on paper using a printing press. Its also frequently done on metals, plastics, cloth and composite materials. On paper it is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing.
Modern Digital Printing Press
By 2005, Digital printing accounts for approximately 9% of the 45 trillion pages printed annually around the world.
Printing at home, an office, or an engineering environment is subdivided into:
– small format (up to ledger size paper sheets), as used in business offices and libraries – wide format (up to 3′ or 914mm wide rolls of paper), as used in drafting and design establishments.
An ORDbot Quantum 3D printer.
3D printing is a form of manufacturing technology where objects are created using three-dimensional files and 3D printers. Objects are created by laying down or building up layers of material. As of 2012, some companies such as Sculpteo or Shapeways are proposing online solutions for 3D printing.
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