Additive manufacturing process steps

How does Additive Manufacturing work?

Additive manufacturing process steps
Additive manufacturing process steps

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.

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