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What is Additive Manufacturing?

alan avak30 Posted Bartmond deleted comment

What is Additive Manufacturing?

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One of the biggest advantages of additive manufacturing is the ability to create complex shapes that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to make using traditional methods.


Additive manufacturing (AM) or additive layer manufacturing (ALM) is the industrial production name for 3D printing, a computer-controlled process that creates three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually in layers.

Although the concept had been around since the 1940s, Hideo Kodama of the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute developed the earliest 3D printing manufacturing equipment in 1980, when he invented two additive methods for fabricating 3D models.

The concept of additive manufacturing dates back to 1945 and the publication of Murray Leinster’s short story, ‘Things Pass By.’ However, this early idea was not really developed until 1971 when Johannes F Gottwald patented the Liquid Metal Recorder, a continuous inkjet metal material device that could form a removable metal fabrication on a reusable surface.

This was developed further with Hideo Kodama’s invention of 3D printing equipment in 1980, although even then the funding and interest for the technology were limited. Further patents quickly followed, including for the stereolithography process and Bill Masters’ Computer Automated Manufacturing Process and System in 1984.

There are a variety of materials used for AM, these include biochemicals, ceramics, metals, and thermoplastics.
1. Biochemicals
Biochemicals used in AM include siliconcalcium phosphate, and zinc while bio-inks fabricated from stem cells are also being explored. These materials are generally used for healthcare applications.
2. Ceramics
A range of ceramics is used in AM, including aluminatricalcium phosphate, and zirconia as well as powdered glass which can be baked together with adhesives to create new types of glass products.
3. Metals
A wide variety of metals and metal alloys are used for additive manufacturing, including gold and silverstainless steel, and titanium amongst others. These can be made to create a variety of different metal parts, ranging from jewelry to aerospace components.
4. Thermoplastics
Thermoplastic polymers are the most commonly used of AM materials and include a variety of types with their own advantages and applications. These include acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)polylactic acid (PLA), and polycarbonate (PC) as well as water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) which can provide temporary support before being dissolved.

AM is used to create a wide range of products across a growing number of industries, including:
1. Aerospace
AM is particularly suited to aerospace applications due to its weight-saving capability and ability to produce complex geometric parts such as something known as blisks.
2. Automotive
A variety of materials are widely additively manufactured for the automotive industry as they can be rapidly prototyped while offering weight and cost reductions.
3. Medical
The medical sector is finding an increasing number of applications for additively manufactured parts, especially for bespoke custom-fitted implants and devices.

3D printing is a synonym for additive manufacturing, they are two terms for the same process which both mean the same thing. However, ‘additive manufacturing’ is generally the term used by industry.

Lots of different companies across a range of industries use additive manufacturing, including the medical industry, aerospace, and more. Additive manufacturing is particularly useful for making complex or bespoke parts – whether for a new application or to replace an old part that may no longer be available.

Additive manufacturing is different from traditional manufacturing as it allows a part to be built layer-by-layer, whereas traditional manufacturing often requires a part to be made by joining separate components or by machining away unwanted material to produce the part.

AM is important for the creation of lighter, complex designs that may be too difficult or expensive to produce using traditional manufacturing techniques. Removing the need for moulds, milling, or machining, AM offers a range of advantages for both prototyping and production.

It may be something of a stretch to say that AM will “change the world”, but it is already having a positive impact. It allows for the creation of complex designs with less material wastage when compared to parts that require machining, as well as allowing for the creation of lighter structures. When these lighter structures are applied to aerospace or automotive applications, for example, they lead to fuel savings and related environmental (and financial) benefits. AM also allows for the replacement of parts that may otherwise be impossible to replace, meaning that machines can be repaired rather than scrapped. In addition to these benefits, AM has also seen a level of democratization in manufacturing, as more people set up domestic 3D printing stations to produce their own bespoke items.

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This technique creates parts layer by layer by depositing material according to digitized 3D design data. This technique creates parts layer by layer by depositing material according to digitized 3D design data. If you need a machine that would do this, you should check up on There you can check the actual prices of any industrial machinery and equipment.


Additive Manufacturing = 3D printing! Simple!


Additive manufacturing (AM) or additive layer manufacturing (ALM) is the industrial production name for 3D printing, a computer controlled process that creates three dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually in layers.

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