How does Additive Manufacturing work?
Additive manufacturing (AM), sometimes referred to as rapid prototyping or 3D printing are technologies that use successive layers of material to create 3D objects directly from a computer generated model.
Although Additive manufacturing process flow vary between the 7 different additive manufacturing technologies it uses to create the 3D parts, each broadly follows these common steps in the process to create the final part.
Step 1 – 3D model creation
First a 3D model of the object is created using CAD software or a 3D object scanner
Step 2 – STL file creation
CAD model is converted to a STL file to tessellate the 3D shape and slice it into digital layers
Step 3 – STL file transfer
STL file is then transferred to the printer using custom machine software
Step 4 – Machine set up
Consumables are then loaded and the printer is set-up with printing parameters
Step 5 – Build
Printer builds the model by depositing material layer by layer
Step 6 – Part Removal
Part is then removed from the build platform and its support structure
Step 7 – Post processing
Finally, post processing, such as cleaning, polishing, and painting might be required
Read “How additive manufacturing technology works in 7 steps” for a more detailed version of how additive manufacturing technology works.