3D printing and additive manufacturing: one and the same? The experts say no. Though these two terms are often used synonymously, there are key differences between the two. While 3D printing is the motor behind additive manufacturing, additive manufacturing in and of itself is much more than just 3D printing. Companies that work within the niche of additive manufacturing, such as Tangible Solutions, find their identity lies beyond just the printing of three-dimensional products. Additive manufacturing often involves product design, development of innovative technologies to create even greater manufacturing efficiency, enforcing quality assurance measures, and more!
The August 2017 issue of Additive Manufacturing magazine confronts a basic but important question: Is additive manufacturing the same as 3D printing? As Editor-in-Chief Peter Zelinski writes in this month’s commentary, the answer is no. Though often used as synonyms, the terms signify two different things. 3D printing is the operation that drives additive manufacturing, but additive manufacturing is much more than this. Tangible Solutions, the subject of this issue’s cover story, illustrates this concept. The company defines itself as an additive manufacturer of medical implants. Realizing this identity involves far more than 3D printing the implants in metal, however. It also entails steps such as designing support structures for the parts, figuring out how to remove them from the build plate, postprocessing them, and ensuring quality through appropriate inspection methods. All of this is part of the additive manufacturing process. Read More