What is Additive Manufacturing – Processes

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Additive Manufacturing has been around for at least three decades (early 80’s). 3d Printing, Rapid Prototyping and Direct Digital Manufacturing are some of different subtypes of AM. First applications in AM were focused on prototyping and as a way to visualize models in preproduction. Since then, it has evolved and is being used to create end-use products across almost all industries.

The basics in Additive Manufacturing is rather than taking material away, it adds to it instead. AM traditional technologies includes a material being carved or shaped into the desired product by parts of it being removed in a variety of ways. In Additive Manufacturing’s general process structures are made by the addition of thousands of minuscule layers which combine to create the product. To do it, you need a computer with a CAD software (which is used as a blueprint to create products) and additive 3d printer machine  A file is produced when the machine reads the data from the file and lays down successive layers of material to create a 3D object.

Watch this video for better understanding:

Products created using additive manufacturing techniques can be made in a variety of materials  (plastics to metals to ceramic). The technology is fluid and still evolving, and new materials are introduced at a more rapid pace than ever before.


  1. Stereolithography:

    1- Process which employs liquid ultraviolet curable photopolymer “resin” and an ultraviolet laser to build parts one layer at a time.

    2- The laser beam traces a cross-section of the pattern on the surface of the liquid resin, for each layer.

    3- Exposure to the UV laser light cures and solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and fuses it to the layer below.

    4- After the pattern has been traced, the platform drops slightly (the distance is generally equal to the thickness of a single layer) and a resin-filled blade sweeps across the cross section of the part, re-coating it with fresh material.

    5- On this new liquid surface, the subsequent layer pattern is traced, again fusing it to the previous layer.

  2. Selective Laser Sintering:

    1- Uses a laser sinter powdered material, aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.

    2-  Using a high power laser to selectively fuse thin layers of powdered materials, the laser scans cross-sections generated from the file on the surface of a powder bed.

    3- After each section is scanned, the bed is lowered and a new layer of material is applied. The process repeats until the object is completed.

    4- SLS is a great use for rapid prototyping and for low-volume production of component parts.

  3. Direct Metal Laser Sintering:

    1- The process is similar to SLS, 3D objects created through DMLS are in metal.

    2- Using the same laser sintering technology, metal powders are fused together to build objects.

    3- The files are “sliced” into layers and downloaded into the machine to begin building.

    4- This process is great for detailed, geometric designs that would otherwise be very difficult to do with metals.

  4. Fused Deposition Modeling:

    1- FDM is a process is made by extruding small strings of melted material which harden immediately, to form layers.

    2- The machines have a plastic filament or metal wire that is unwound from a coil to supply material to the extrusion nozzle, and can turn the flow of material on and off.

    3- The nozzle is heated in order to melt the material, and can move in both horizontal and vertical directions to build from the bottom up.


  5. PolyJet:

    1- A process that spray photopolymer materials onto a tray in very thin layers until the 3D object is built. Each layer is cured with a UV light after being extruded allowing models to be handled and used immediately.

    2- A support material that is built to support complicated designs can be removed by hand and water jetting after the object is complete.

  6. Binder Jetting:

    1- Process in which layers of material are bonded by selectively depositing a liquid binding agent to join powdered material.

    2-While other additive techniques use a heat source to bind materials together, Binder Jetting does not employ any heat during the build process.

    3- This process of additive manufacturing is capable of printing a variety of materials, such as metals, sands and ceramics.

    4- This process provides the ability to print large parts and can be more cost effective than other methods.


    Sources & More information
    Related article categories:

    Article & videos:

    Shapeways https://www.shapeways.com/additive-manufacturing?utm_campaign=search_3d_printing_manufacturing&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=254642793554&utm_term=additive%20manufacturing&adgroupid=55355973289&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8MvWBRC8ARIsAOFSVBWwNSKRdNzvngF5QFVoQzmHd5IR6aHiJNlxzluzedbD_wdQ2BfFqAYaAkg-EALw_wcB , visited on 04/20/2018;

    SPI Lasers http://www.spilasers.com/application-additive-manufacturing/additive-manufacturing-a-definition/, visited on 04/20/2018;

    Stratasys Direct Manufacturing (Fused Deposition Modeling video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_kbMUzMKk0 , visited on 04/20/2018.

    Mashable, What is 3d Printing and how it works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx0Z6LplaMU , visited on 04/20/2018.

    Featured Image & Photo article:

    Stratasys Direct Manufacturing, Fused Deposit Modeling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_kbMUzMKk0 , visited on 04/20/2018.


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