Technology

Three main types of additive manufacturing

You may already know subtractive manufacturing. During this process, material will be removed from the stock. Subtractive manufacturing is also known as CNC services. Something that is essentially the opposite of this method is called additive manufacturing, which can be done with the help of 3D printing services. Additive manufacturing is when a part is created by successively adding material layer by layer. This is obviously completely different from subtractive manufacturing, because here material is removed instead of added. Additive manufacturing consists of multiple types, below you can find three of the main methods. 

Powder bed fusion

Powder bed fusion consists of many different processes, including selective laser sintering for example. However, all techniques occur in a near-vacuum chamber with an inert gas. This chamber is preheated and the process will start by spreading a thin layer of powder material onto the build platform. Afterwards a thermal energy source will selectively scan parts of the bed in order to bond the powder together. This way a thin layer of combined material will be created. After one layer, the build platform will move down and this process starts again. Usually a laser is used as the thermal energy source. 

Binder jetting

Binder jetting is a process that uses two types of materials. One is a powder-based one for its build material, while the other is a liquid binder agent. It is actually somewhat similar to powder bed fusion when looking at the start of the manufacturing. A leveling roller will spread a thin layer of the powder material over the build platform. A print head will move horizontally and spray the binder agent material on specific parts of the powder material. This creates a chemical reaction which leads to the bonding of the powder material. This way it forms a layer.

Material extrusion

Material extrusion consists of a plethora of processes in which material is dispensed through a nozzle to form shapes. The build material used for material extrusion is always a composite that is capable of being pushed through a nozzle while it has to be able to retain its shape too. In this way, a print head can move around while depositing the build material. Hereby it draws a 2D layer. Once the material is deposited, it will harden by either drying it or cooling it down. Material extrusion is most known for fused deposition modeling. 

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