Additive Manufacturing, AM, professional 3D printing, additive layer manufacturing, freeform fabrication
Professional 3D printing or additive manufacturing refers to several technologies that produce parts in an additive way. The table above provides an overview over the technologies by the type of material they work with (vertical axis) and how the parts are built out of this material (horizontal axis). Read more
Additive manufacturing, or professional 3D printing, refers to several technologies that produce parts in an additive way. Starting point is a digital 3D model of a part, which is then “sliced” in thin layers by a specific computer software. An additive manufacturing machine is building these layer on top of another and thus is creating the physical part.
In order to understand the potential of additive manufacturing, it is crucial to understand the technologies behind it. The table above provides an overview by the type of material the technologies work with (vertical axis) and how the parts are built out of this material (horizontal axis).
- Polymerization means that parts are built through a UV-light activated polymerization of a chemically reactive liquid material.
- Bonding agent means that powder material is glued together through a liquid bonding agent.
- Melting means that material is melted together.
How the parts are built in general has an impact on the characteristics and the application area. We give a rough indication on durability, surface finish, details and application.
Depending on the part characteristics required, additive manufacturing technologies are either used to directly produce the parts or in indirect processes in combination with traditional manufacturing techniques. Read more
The table above gives an indication on characteristics and properties of parts built in the different technologies. Depending on the requirements, these technologies are either used alone or can be combined with other manufacturing techniques:
- Direct processes
One stage process: The part is directly produced with the additive manufacturing machine. There are post-processes applied in order to improve tolerances or surface finish.
Multi-stage process: A “green” part is produced with the additive manufacturing technology which is then going into further processes. For instance, binder jetting is used to produce green metal parts (where metal powder is glued together) which are then going into a sinter process and are infiltrated afterwards.
- Indirect processes
Additive manufacturing can be combined with traditional manufacturing. For instance, master patterns are made with 3D printing technologies which are then used for investment casting of final parts. Learn more about indirect processes.
Compare 3d printing technologies
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