3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing – What You Need To Know

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing – What You Need To Know

What is 3D printing?

3D printing is a procedure of building an object with one thin layer at a time. It is fundamentally additive and not subtractive in nature. It refers to an additive process of manufacturing that is based on the simple idea of converting the digital model into a solid one in three different dimensions. There are 3D orienting technologies that have developed in the industry over the years have a common point of creating a physical model one layer after the other. Hire services from the best 3D printing companies in China.

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a procedure of creating three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The 3D printed object’s creation is achieved with the help of additive processes. An object is created by the process of laying down the successive materials one after the other until and unless the object is created. Each of the layers can be seen as a horizontal cross-section of the eventual object.

It is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing where a piece of metal and plastic is cut using a milling machine. The printing makes it easy to make complex shapes with the help of less material as compared to traditional methods of manufacturing.

How does 3D printing process work?

It starts with creating a 3D model on the computer. The design made digitally, for example, is a CAD file. A 3D model is created from the ground up using 3D modelling software or with the help of data generated using a 3D scanner. A 3D scanner will help in creating an object’s digital copy.

What is additive manufacturing?

The mainstream media often use these terms interchangeably; however additive manufacturing is the more all-inclusive term. It is usually associated with the industrial applications including fabrication of functional prototypes. AM involves end-use-application including the components’ mass production. The term ‘direct manufacturing’ is used to highlight the tool-free processes of AM as objects are printed directly from the CAD data. The machine tools of CNC revolutionized diverse manufacturing processes with the help of digitization. Additive manufacturing also promises to do the same.

What are the key differences?

One of the critical differences is consumer focus vs industrial. The consumers typically lay its emphasis on singular vs 3D-printed objects mass production. Businesses make use of additive manufacturing for large-scale production of the end-use objects.

It is appropriate to consider ornate vs functional nature of printed object while referring to 3D printing when compared to additive manufacturing. Manufacturers typically make use of AM for producing functional prototypes, mold inserts, end-use products, and molds. The main intention of 3D printing is often used to print ornate objects like lampshades and intricate vases.

The more sophisticated the processes of AM become, the more vital it is to distinguish them from consumer oriented production. The laser sintering machines create functional prototypes and components from both metal superalloys and thermoplastics.


Thus 3D printing and additive manufacturing are similar; however, are distinct from one another. These things are important to know so as to understand the two dimensions of printing. Make the most of reliable 3D printing companies in China.

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