Making Metal Parts: Not for Dummies

Let’s pretend you know nothing about additive manufacturing (AM), more commonly referred to as 3D printing. Given that this industry-changing technology has been with us for more than three decades, that assumption is highly unlikely but is nonetheless the premise behind this “dummies” style article. If you’re already an expert on the topic, feel free to go do something more interesting, like 3D printing some cool parts or binge-watching the latest Netflix series. For everyone else, let’s start with a very simplistic overview of additive manufacturing. Each of the seven AM technologies recognized by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) begins with a 3D CAD model of the desired workpiece. This file is digitally rendered like a loaf of bread into thousands or perhaps hundreds of thousands of paper-thin slices before being fed to the 3D printer. 

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