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Metal Additive Manufacturing

A Quick Look at Additive Manufacturing

What Is MAM?

Metal additive manufacturing is a process that uses metal powders to create strong, complex components for a variety of industries.

It's the process of making a three-dimensional, solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model.

How Does 3D Metal Printing Work?

The metal additive manufacturing process is a type of 3D printing that uses metal powders to create strong, complex components that are used in a variety of industries - from aerospace and automotive, to medical and defense and more.

Using additive manufacturing, a part of almost any geometry, complexity or shape can be printed from a digital 3-dimensional model.

3D printed metal gear parts-1

What is Metal Additive Manufacturing?

Metal additive manufacturing is the process in which metal powders are layered together to create strong and complex-shaped components.

Metal additive manufacturing is also known as metal 3D printing.

How Does Metal Additive Manufacturing Work?

For Binder Jet 3D printing, we can break the technique down into five simple steps:

Step 1: Metal powder is deposited along the printing platform.

Step 2: An inkjet goes over the platform, applying a liquid binder to select parts of the powder.

Step 3: Another layer of powder is placed across the binder.

Step 4: The inkjet goes over the platform once again, adding binder to the same areas.

Step 5: The process repeats itself until the component is complete. 

Other technologies have different ways of creating the component, but binder jet technology is the ideal option for high-volume orders.

What Are the Advantages of Metal Additive Manufacturing?

There are several reasons why you should use metal additive manufacturing, including its ability to handle mass production, rare shape-making capabilities, and lower price point compared to other metal manufacturing technologies.

Metal additive manufacturing has several other advantages over other metal 3D printing technologies as well, such as:

  • The ability to produce complex components
  • The ability to produce durable and lightweight components
  • Increased efficiency
Are There Different Metal Additive Manufacturing Technologies?

Yes, there are several different metal additive manufacturing technologies in use today. Some of the most popular include:

  • Binder jetting
  • Electron beam melting (EBM)
  • Selective laser melting (SLM)
  • Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS)
Is Metal Additive Manufacturing Expense?

Although the initial investments in machinery and software can be expensive, the actual metal additive manufacturing process is not. In fact, most projects will cost less with metal AM compared to other manufacturing processes due to the reduced amount of scrap waste produced.

This, combined with fast turnaround time and intricate quality, makes metal additive manufacturing one of the most cost-effective and successful production methods.

Is Injection Molding the Same As Additive Manufacturing?

No, injection molding manufacturing (MIM) isn’t the same as metal additive manufacturing. However, they both have their own advantages when it comes to certain phases of prototype production.

Injection molding melts a molten material and injects it using a cavity inside of a steel tool. Alternatively, metal additive manufacturing binds together layers of metal powder until it achieves a finished product. This makes it preferred for rapid prototyping.

What Is Subtractive Manufacturing?

Subtractive manufacturing is the direct opposite of additive manufacturing. Machining is a classic example.

During the subtractive manufacturing process, parts of a block of material are removed, using computer numerical control (CNC) technology, to achieve a finished component.

Think MAM May Work for Your Application?

Let's find out together. Reach out to us today and get in touch with one of our dedicated representatives and discover if metal 3D printing is the solution that you're looking for. No obligation required.