The terms 3D printing and additive manufacturing are often used synonymously, especially in colloquial language. However, they are not exactly the same. Additive manufacturingrefers to all additive manufacturing techniques used for the purpose of producing new complex and durable components, while 3D printing, as the heir to rapid prototyping, refers to the manufacture of final models or parts in a rapid but limited way and is usually limited to a specific type of additive technology.
If you want to know what’s additive manufacturing.
3D printing: “home-made” additive manufacturing
3D printing has become popular in recent years because 3D printers are easy to use and are generally less expensive than other additive manufacturing technologies.
3D printing is one of the most basic and simple additive technologies, but also one of the most limited. This has led to remarkable popularity among individuals, start-ups, small designers or developers
and it has caused 3D printing to be used as a synonym for additive manufacturing in colloquial language.
What do we usually manufacture using 3D printing?
What is commonly referred to as 3D Printing usually refers to techniques used for the manufacture of plastic components with limited size and resolution.
The manufacture of the part can be carried out either by depositing drops of material on a base for solidification by the action of UV light or by deposition of a molten filament. As already mentioned, it concerns the manufacture of plastic or wax parts of limited performance, such as decorative figures, toys, architectural models or telephone casings, keyboards, remote controls, etc.
Additive manufacturing: the “industrial” concept
The concept of additive manufacturing is often used in industrial, professional or specialised environments. Generally speaking, additive manufacturing is the broad term for the manufacturing method of adding layers of material until the desired shape is achieved.
So, from a technical point of view, talking about additive manufacturing does not imply going into the technology we use. Depending on each project, we can use Material Jetting or any of the other technologies (Powder Bed Fusion or Fused Deposition Modelling), which are generally more advanced than 3D printing.
Unlike traditional 3D printing, with these technologies we can manufacture in metal, which allows us to tackle more complex projects.
Additive manufacturing applications
At Mizar we often talk about additive manufacturing because most of our work focuses on making complex, customized components for the aerospace, medical and general industries. Our projects are divided into areas such as:
- The medical sector, for which we produce implants, surgical instruments, orthopaedic elements, anatomical models…
- The aerospace industry. In this field we create functional, useful prototypes or final parts; for example, to improve the aerodynamics of aircraft.
- The industrial field, for which we manufacture work tools, customised moulds, tooling, etc.
Ultimately, additive manufacturing specialists prefer to avoid the term 3D printing because it can be misleading or refer to components of limited use or performance. That’s why the companies we serve typically receive specialized consultancy from design through to manufacture and final quality validation.