Creatz3D Fun Fact Series #10 – 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing?

Welcome to another Creatz3D Fun Fact Series!

For today’s Fun Fact, we will be taking a look at the two terms – 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, and what do they actually mean. Depending on who you ask or where your source of information is, you are likely to get different answers. If you want to recap on our earlier fun facts, you can click here.

The two terms ‘3D Printing‘ and ‘Additive Manufacturing‘ (AM) are in a way used interchangeably across the mainstream media and actual users of the various technologies.

Put it simply, the two terms are synonyms for the same process which is by building parts together layer by layer via a CAD file. This is as opposed to subtractive manufacturing such as CNC machining, milling, grinding, etc, where a part is built by subtracting material from a block of material.


Figure: Additive Manufacturing vs Subtractive Manufacturing (MANUFACTR3D)

There is no right or wrong when it comes to using the two terms but rather we have to consider the situation/context that it is being used in.

AM is typically used by people who work in an industrial/manufacturing setting or academic circles because it sounds more formal/professional, and can encompass more than just 3D Printing itself. Simply put, AM can be regarded as a process that is using additive technology to produce parts on an industrial scale.

As a term, 3D Printing is considered as an additive technology and is used more by the mainstream media, beginners, enthusiasts, hobbyists, etc and is thus more known across the world than AM.

So, in a nutshell, 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing while not all Additive Manufacturing is necessarily 3D printing. Drop us an email if you need some insights on what 3D printing technologies suit your requirements.

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