Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is a concept whereby different processes are used to physically replicate 3D objects created by computer-aided design (CAD). Additive Manufacturing can be done with many materials and does not require tools or a block of raw material? It can be done much more quickly than by using conventional manufacturing techniques.

Additive manufacturing as opposed to subtractive processes

The idea of additive manufacturing describes a new way to produce objects by adding material, unlike traditional subtractive processes such as machining, drilling, or different cutting processes. These older, more conventional techniques entail removing material from an initial volume in order to obtain the desired shape.Additive manufacturing processes eliminate much of the traditional manufacturing set-up requirements: they do not require any tooling design (mold or dies, plastic injection or forging tools) or defining or organizing different manufacturing steps (like machining or milling). They enable you to go almost instantly from the 3D design file to the physical object itself, which represents increased accessibility and a significant time savings in the product development cycle.

The primary additive manufacturing processes

All additive manufacturing processes work by slicing an object into fine horizontal layers. Successive layers are then added to create the object.

The history of additive manufacturing

In 1984 Charles Hull created stereolithography. In 1988 he marketed the SLA-2502, the first mass-produced machine. Other technologies began to emerge at that time: in the same year, the FDM process was developed. Then MIT invented the multicolor binder jet process.

In the 1990s, powder-sintering methods emerged, and the first major creations fueled a growing interest in additive manufacturing. The first prosthesis was implanted into a human in 1999.

The 2000s are synonymous with expansion and strongly growing accessibility to individuals.


Reserved only for prototype fabrication in the beginning, additive manufacturing (originally called "rapid prototyping") is now used to manufacture operable parts in many areas:

  • Medical field: Many prosthetics and orthotics are constructed of resin, plastic, or metal through additive manufacturing.
  • Aeronautics: The design freedom provided by additive manufacturing processes enables parts with complex geometry to be created, while providing an unequaled weight/mechanical properties ratio.