At Laser Imaging, we're dedicated to providing our customers with high-quality services they can count on. One of the questions we get asked regularly is what, exactly, is additive manufacturing? We're breaking it down in today's post, so keep reading to learn more, then contact us today with any questions you may have.
What Does Additive Manufacturing Mean?
Additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, is a term used to describe any technology that creates a solid object by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastic resin. It's based on the concept of building parts in an assembly line fashion. One of our most popular additive manufacturing services is our 3D laser scanning, which gives us the ability to provide accurate digital files that can be used with additive manufacturing machines and we're rather obsessed with it.
How Is It Different From Traditional Forms of Manufacturing?
Typically, when you think of making something, your process will involve some tooling and machining involved in order to get the final product. You might start out with raw materials and turn it into the finished product with tools like your hands, a lathe, or even a mill. Additive manufacturing works by starting out with nothing but raw materials and building the final product by adding material layer-by-layer until you have something tangible at the end. Because of this concept, manufacturing time is cut drastically as there are fewer steps involved in getting to the finished product.
What Kind of Products Are Made This Way?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to what can be manufactured using additive manufacturing machines because almost anything can be modeled on a computer first. Here are just a handful of items that have been printed:
- Drilling tools for emergency repair drones
- Medical devices
- High heels
- Prosthetic limbs
- And more!
What Are the Benefits?
Cost-effectiveness is one of the biggest factors that makes additive manufacturing so appealing. Since there are fewer steps involved, production time is significantly reduced compared to traditional methods. And on top of that, additive manufacturing enables products to be customized for individual use at a low cost without requiring special parts or tools since it's all handled with computer software and machines. It also reduces waste because you don't have to work with large amounts of materials or deal with leftovers like you would in subtractive machining; instead, only the exact amount needed is used resulting in less unnecessary waste overall.