3D and Additive Manufacturing – What is the Difference?

While additive manufacturing and 3D printing are often used interchangeably, they have distinct differences that are important to understand when selecting the best approach for your project. Both methods create three-dimensional parts and prototypes, but they can employ different processes to achieve this.

Understanding 3D printing

In 3D printing, material layers are added to a build chamber based on instructions from CAD software. While the process traditionally uses polymers and plastics, advancements in technology now allow for the use of metals through methods like direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) .

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing because the process adds material to build a part one layer at a time. However, it is more versatile than other additive manufacturing methods like direct energy deposition and sheet lamination, especially in building parts with complex shapes or geometries. Additionally, additive manufacturing with 3D printing delivers high-quality and precise parts fast and cost-effectively.

Why use additive manufacturing?

3D printing and other additive manufacturing methods make it easier to evaluate the prototype’s precision, dimension, ergonomics, and features. As such, these are valuable to industries that value the relationship between timing and quality during production. Additionally, additive manufacturing ensures the highest level of reliability and precision without compromising on flexibility. That means modifications are possible at any stage of the product development process.

Understanding the difference

The main difference between additive manufacturing and 3D printing is the broadness of their technologies. The former is a broader concept that includes more processes, including 3D printing. Moreover, it’s worth knowing that additive manufacturing is often associated with commercial and industrial uses, while 3D printing is often used in recreational and consumer applications.

We have all the best additive manufacturing technologies.

No matter the application, we have all the best  additive manufacturing  and  3D printing  technologies here at HLH Proto. Connect with us now for a free project review, and we’ll help you decide which process is right for you.


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