What is Additive Manufacturing?
Commonly interchanged with the term 3D printing, additive manufacturing is “the process of creating an object by building it one layer at a time.”1
Historically, standard manufacturing has been a subtractive process in which an object is created by cutting away at a volume of material.
How Has Additive Manufacturing Changed Industry?
Additive manufacturing is a great supplement to traditional manufacturing. I spoke with Joseph Kastner, CAD and Industrial Engineer at Pacmin Studios, who shared insights on the possibilities available with additive manufacturing.
Kastner gave a demonstration of a Venus Box. Remarkably, the structure is functional as soon as the printer is finished; no additional assembly is required.
The expertise of additive manufacturing lies in the engineering of CAD (computer-aided design) models. Engineers conceptualize and iterate CAD models using computer software.
Additive manufacturing has wholly revolutionized the manufacturing process. With traditional methods, parts with internal components, cavities, and wiring/tubing networks are hard and expensive to create, says Kastner.
Integrating an app called eDrawings allows Kastner to construct interactive assembly instructions for 3d-printed parts.
Users can preview the assembly of parts in forwards and reverse. This saves time by simplifying the delivery and increasing the clarity of instructions.
Kastner compares the subtractive sculpting process of Michelangelo to modern additive manufacturing to provide an analogy for waste reduction. Most of the material used when chiseling sculptures is unused and discarded. With additive manufacturing, there is virtually no material waste.
In addition to printing model parts, Pacmin Studios uses 3D-printing technology to create custom tools for use across departments. Tools such as jigs, molds, fasteners, and desk organizers, help streamline the production process.
Types of 3D-Printing
There are two main types of 3D printing: 1) fused deposition modeling (FDM), which uses filament, and 2) Stereolithography/digital light processing (SLA/DLP), which uses UV-cured resin.2 Each printing method has pros and cons.
FDM filament printers are typically larger than SLA/DLP printers, which allows them to print larger structures. A downside of FDM printers is that they often require more post-processing work to perfect.
SLA/DLP resin printers are capable of creating highly detailed structures. Usually, these structures require less post-processing than those printed with FDM.
Kastner printed this model of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral to test the ability of one of Pacmin Studios resin printers.
Pacmin Studios thanks Joseph Kastner for his insights on additive manufacturing.
By Joshua Knopf
Joshua Knopf is a Production Expeditor at Pacmin Studios. In addition to mixing and matching colors for silkscreen printed decals, Josh writes creative content for our newsletters.
- Additive manufacturing, explained. https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/additive-manufacturing-explained
- Resin or filament 3D printing: Which is best for you? https://www.windowscentral.com/resin-or-filament-3d-printing-which-best-you