Some say yes and we say no! Additive Manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing are overlapping terms but not synonyms. 3D printing is the operation at the heart of additive manufacturing, just as “turning” or “molding” might be the operation at the heart of a conventional manufacturing process.

Additive Manufacturing

In a nutshell, 3D printing is one step in an overall additive manufacturing workflow that also includes design, build preparation, postprocessing, business considerations, and more.

Importantly, “3D printing” does not describe just one type of technology. Per ISO/ASTM, there are seven different “families” of 3D printing processes and a growing number of material and machine options.

Why Use Additive Manufacturing?

Some associate AM with prototyping, but this is outdated. 3D printing has become well-established as a means of creating tooling for a range of conventional processes. And, manufacturers are increasingly adopting AM for production, including full-scale production.

More on the uses and benefits of additive manufacturing in the video below.

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