Beginner’s Guide to Additive Printing

If you’re looking for innovative technologies that deliver accurate prototypes and end-use parts fast, you’re likely to find solutions like additive printing. You’ll find that it’s also called by other names, such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Regardless of the name, it represents the future of manufacturing as it effectively provides prospects for low-volume rapid manufacturing and prototyping possibilities.

Knowing about 3D printing is a good start to understanding what it’s about and whether it’s an ideal manufacturing solution for you. Here’s a guide to help you learn the basics.

What’s it about ?

Additive manufacturing makes physical objects out of a three-dimensional digital model. It lays down many thin layers of material one at a time. The process typically starts with a 3D digital model or CAD.

It’s a broad range of processes and technologies.

Additive printing encompasses a set of technologies and processes that deliver a full spectrum of capabilities to create parts out of different materials. That said, all 3D printing technologies have one thing in common with the production of parts, and that’s by adding one layer at a time in an additive process. This way, the manufacturing method is different from traditional subtractive methods and casting or molding processes.


Plastics such as ABS, PC, and nylon are the most common material used in 3D printing. However, other additive manufacturing technologies can build parts out of other materials, such as copper, titanium, and stainless steel.

Technologies available today

Many additive printing technologies are available today. Reputable service providers may specialize in a few processes, such as the following:

  • Stereolithography (SLA) – A 3D printing method that can build accurate aesthetic models and rapid prototypes
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) – A technology that can create low-volume end-use parts and functional prototypes out of nylon.
  • Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) – A versatile 3D printing technology that can realize complex geometries and is used for low-volume production and quick prototypes.
  • Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) – Similar to SLS but uses metal powders.
  • ProJet MJP 3D printing – Additive printing that produces accurate-to-CAD prototypes and precision parts with fine details and a higher resolution.

Be sure to connect with a reputable 3D printing service for more information. The service provider can also review your project to recommend the correct  additive manufacturing for it.


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