In the field of 3d printing often see a word called “additive manufacturing.” Additive manufacturing means creating a new product from scratch. But in social media, many messages are vague, and 3D printing and additive manufacturing are often confused. Many people think 3D printing = additive manufacturing unless you are a professional. But in fact, there is a strong connection between them, but they cannot be confused. This article will walk you through the relationship and difference between additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

What is Additive Manufacturing?

Additive Manufacturing (“AM” for short) is defined as the process of manufacturing parts or objects using material accumulation based on 3D model data. Additive manufacturing technology refers to a scientific and technological system that directly manufactures parts based on the principle of discrete accumulation and is driven by three-dimensional data of parts.

For example, the industrialized LSF-V large-scale laser three-dimensional forming equipment The so-called digital additive manufacturing technology is a new technology for rapid and free forming of three-dimensional entities, which integrates computer graphics processing, digital information and control, laser technology, electromechanical technology, and materials. Scholars have described many high-tech advantages such as technology in various ways.

Here’s a brief analysis, ‘additive’ is relative to ‘subtraction.’ Traditional industrial turning, milling, grinding, etc., belong to Subtractive Manufacturing, such as traditional CNC machines, and additive manufacturing is essentially an idea of stacking materials layer by layer.

additive manufacturing products

What is 3D printing technology?

3D printing is defined as the use of print heads, nozzles, or other printing technologies to create parts or physical objects through the accumulation of materials.

If you look carefully, you will find that 3D printing technology is very similar to the definition of additive. 3D printing is equivalent to additive manufacturing, which means that when we talk about additive, we are talking about 3D printing technology.

The relationship between additive manufacturing and 3D printing

In the past two decades, AM technology has achieved rapid development. Different names such as “Rapid Prototyping,” “3D Printing,” and “Solid Free-form Fabrication” express the characteristics of this technology from different aspects.

In fact, in theory, all technical means that use the additive idea that is contrary to the traditional subtractive production process can be called “additive manufacturing.” At present, the market using this idea is 3D printing technology. Therefore, additive manufacturing includes 3D printing but is not limited to 3D printing; because the current embodiment is only 3D printing technology, it is equivalent to 3D printing.

What is the difference between additive manufacturing and 3D printing?

What does additive have to do with 3D printing? Expressed in an equation: additive manufacturing technology = (or ≈) 3d printing technology! In a narrow sense, we can think of them as one (or ‘synonym’); but in a broad sense, there are subtle differences between the two:

(1) In China, whether it is the popularity of Baidu or Google or the number of times people talk about it, 3D printing is higher than additive manufacturing; in terms of awareness, 3D printing > additive;

(2) In Europe, America or other countries (metal and engineering plastics manufacturers represented by Germany), people think that additively manufactured products are higher-end than 3D printing; that is, high-precision 3D printing products, called ‘AM’ (that is, additive manufacturing); Some low-end products are called ‘3d printing’ (3d printing);

(3) In theory, additive manufacturing includes 3d printing technology; but in fact, additive manufacturing in our minds = 3d printing;

(4) Additive manufacturing is also called “rapid prototyping,” “three-dimensional printing,” “solid free manufacturing,” etc.; and 3d printing is 3d printing.

3D printing products

What are the types of 3D printing?

As the highlight of AM, the currently popular 3D printing technologies in 3D printing technology mainly include SLS 3d printing technology, FDM fusion lamination technology, 3DP technology, SLS selective laser sintering, etc.

Take SLS 3D printing as an example: SLS Selective Laser Sintering Technology – The full name of SLS is Selective Laser Sintering. Similar to SLA, SLS uses a laser. Unlike SLA, SLS does not use liquid photosensitive resin but powder. The energy of the laser heats the powder and sinters adjacent powders together. SLS technology has the characteristics of high forming efficiency, good printing accuracy, and excellent performance of parts.

At present, SLS technology has mature applications in various industries such as automobiles, aerospace, consumer electronics, medical care, education, cultural and creative industries, and prototypes. It can be widely used in product design and development, including dimensional testing, appearance testing, assembly testing, and functional testing, and can also be used to manufacture final products in small and medium batches.

Taking the automobile industry as an example, the steering wheel, instrument panel, air conditioning system, etc. can be printed for assembly testing, R&D verification, and customized bumpers, side mirrors, and other components can also be printed for direct loading and use, which can shorten the research and development test cycle of new cars. , reduce the cost of CNC or mold opening.

Now you know the difference between 3D printing and additive manufacturing?

Do you know the difference between 3D printing and additive manufacturing through this article? They are actually more like a book, additive manufacturing is the book’s name, and 3D printing is the chapter in the book, except that there are many pages in the book describing 3D printing. 

Now that 3D printing technology is very mature, the price of 3D printing is also more reasonable, not as expensive as before. And many companies offer 3D printing services, so you don’t need to buy a 3D printer yourself to get your masterpiece done.

If you are looking for a reliable 3D printing service, I recommend JTR to you. They are a professional 3D printing service provider. Of course, their business is not just 3D printing. CNC machining service is our sought-after product by customers.