Additive Manufacturing

Integrating Additive Manufacturing with Traditional Manufacturing 221

Integrating Additive Manufacturing with Traditional Manufacturing 221 discusses the factors manufacturers should consider when adding an additive manufacturing (AM) component to a traditional manufacturing operation. Integration of AM with traditional manufacturing can include considerations for cost, logistics, and best uses, among other concerns. Originally used for prototyping, AM has been used increasingly in more traditional manufacturing processes, such as creating tooling or end-use parts. However, because the procedures and tools are so different, combining the two kinds of manufacturing requires considerable adjustments.

Logistical concerns of integrating AM with traditional manufacturing include purchasing the correct machines and updating safety protocols. Design concerns involve upskilling engineers so that they can take full advantage of AM capabilities. After taking this course, users will understand how to take full advantage of AM integration processes.

  • Difficulty Intermediate

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 26

  • Language English


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Course Outline
  • Traditional Manufacturing Operations
  • Additive Manufacturing Operations
  • Additive Manufacturing Processes
  • AM Basics Review
  • Combining Traditional and Additive Manufacturing
  • Economics of AM: Production Costs
  • Economics of AM: Manufacturing System Costs
  • Product Development and Production
  • Economics of AM Review
  • AM Tools and Material
  • Upskilling Engineers and Operators
  • AM Production Considerations: Part Orientation and Support Structures
  • AM Production Considerations: Thermal Distortion
  • AM Production Considerations: Post-Processing
  • AM Safety
  • AM Production Considerations Review
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • AM as a Secondary Process
  • Creating Tools with AM
  • Supportive AM Review
  • End-Use AM
  • Mass Customization
  • Integrating Mass Customization
  • Part Integration
  • Hybrid Manufacturing
  • Final Review
  • Describe traditional manufacturing operations.
  • Describe additive manufacturing operations.
  • Describe the various additive manufacturing processes.
  • Describe some considerations for combining traditional and additive manufacturing.
  • Describe how AM affects product development and production.
  • Describe AM manufacturing system costs.
  • Describe how AM affects product development and production.
  • Describe important AM tools and AM materials.
  • Describe important considerations for upskilling engineers and operators for AM processes.
  • Describe AM production considerations related to part orientation and support structures.
  • Describe AM production considerations related to thermal distortion.
  • Describe AM production considerations related to post-processing.
  • Describe general AM safety considerations.
  • Describe rapid prototyping and how it can be used in traditional manufacturing operations.
  • Describe using AM as a secondary process.
  • Describe the use of AM in creating industrial tooling.
  • Describe end-use AM.
  • Describe AM mass customization.
  • Describe operations associated with integrating AM mass customization.
  • Describe AM part integration and how it relates to combining AM and traditional manufacturing.
  • Describe hybrid manufacturing processes.
Vocabulary Term

abrasive finishing

The use of an abrasive, such as sandpaper, to polish and smooth the surface of a part. Abrasive finishing is commonly used to improve the surface finish of an additive manufacturing part.

additive manufacturing

AM. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. Additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.


The accurate positioning of parts. Jigs help ensure the disparate components of an assembled part are held in proper alignment when joined together.


A material created by intentionally mixing two or more substances. Alloys have improved properties, such as increased strength and resistance to thermal distortion.


Additive manufacturing. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional computer model. AM allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.

antistatic mats

A mat made of a material that conducts electricity away from a person or object and into the ground. Antistatic mats can prevent static electricity discharge that could start a fire.


An adhesive material that holds together other materials. Binders fuse with powdered build materials to make a solid part in binder jetting.

binder jetting

An additive manufacturing process in which liquid binder is used to join powdered materials to create part. Binder jetting can create parts out of metal, plastic, or ceramic.


Having a fragile quality. Brittle materials can break easily when subjected to force or pressure.

build platform

The flat surface on which a part is additively manufactured. The build platform can either be a permanent surface from which parts are removed or a surface that can be removed from the machine once the build is complete.

build rates

The time it takes to build a part or the number of parts that can be made in a set period of time in additive manufacturing. Build rates, called production rates in traditional manufacturing, are considerably slower in additive manufacturing compared with traditional manufacturing.


Computer-aided design. Computer software used to create a 3D model of a part before it goes into prototyping or production. CAD models are converted to STL format for use by additive manufacturing machines.


A general category of metalworking processes that involves pouring a liquid material into a hollow mold and allowing the material to cool into a solid shape. Casting is a traditional manufacturing process and includes methods such as investment and sand casting.


A hollow area in a solid part or component. Cavities should never be fully enclosed when making parts with powder bed fusion methods as they would trap excess powder.


A hard, brittle material that can withstand high temperatures and resist corrosion. Ceramic parts can be created through additive manufacturing processes such as binder jetting and vat photopolymerization.

chemical bath

A specialized solution that an operator dips an additively manufacturing part into in order to remove support structures. A chemical bath contains hazardous substances and operators must wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, when working with them.


A protective layer added to a workpiece to improve corrosion resistance and other beneficial properties. Cladding can be added to traditionally manufactured parts using directed energy deposition (DED).


A material made by mixing together two or more groups such as metals, plastics, and ceramics. Composite materials are categorized by their matrix material.

computer-aided design

CAD. Computer software used to create a 3D model of a part before it goes into prototyping or production. Computer-aided design models are converted to an STL format for use by additive manufacturing machines.

conceptual models

A nonfunctional model used to physically demonstrate design ideas for a part. Conceptual models are often composed of plastic and made using additive manufacturing processes such as material extrusion or vat photopolymerization.


To cause a material to bond and solidify by permanently cross-linking its molecules through heat, time, or chemical means. Lasers are used to cure liquid photopolymers in vat polymerization.

cutting fluid

A liquid used during a cutting operation to reduce heat and friction between the cutting tool and workpiece. Cutting fluid lengthens tool service life, improves surface finish quality, and can speed up production operations.

cutting guides

A device that precisely controls the movement of a cutting tool, such as a drill. Cutting guides can be made with optimized functionality through additive manufacturing processes.


Small particles or pieces of material. Debris is produced by most manufacturing operations and can cause injury if the correct safety measures, such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), are not in use.


An imperfection in a part that prevents it from operating correctly. Defects sometimes appear in additively manufacturing parts when the layers do not adhere to each other correctly.


The process of a part bending out of the desired shape. Deformation can occur due to thermal distortion or improper part orientation and may affect part tolerance.


Shifting out of the desired shape. Deforming can occur in additively manufacturing parts if they are not oriented correctly to support their own weight.

dental braces

A device used to straighten teeth. Dental braces can be created through AM processes to customize them for individual patients.

deposition rate

The rate at which material is layered in an additive manufacturing process. Deposition rate helps determine the speed at which a part is built.


The process of creating the actual part specifications. Design involves creating the blueprints and prototypes for a part.

design for additive manufacturing

DFAM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating an additively manufactured part that functions optimally. Design for additive manufacturing allows engineers to mostly focus on part functionality.

direct metal laser sintering

DMLS. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that builds a part using a laser to heat and fuse together successive layers of powdered metal. Direct metal laser sintering can produce complex metal parts, though they often require extensive post-processing.

directed energy deposition

DED. An additive manufacturing process in which focused thermal energy is used to melt materials as they are deposited. Directed energy deposition is often used with powdered or wire metal.


The movement of parts from manufacturers at the point of production to end-use customers. Distribution expenses are considered part of manufacturing system costs.


Direct metal laser sintering. An additive manufacturing process that uses a laser to bond successive layers of material in a bed of powdered metal. DMLS can produce complex metal parts, though they often require extensive post-processing.


The use of a multi-point tool to machine a new round hole into the surface of a workpiece. Drilling is often performed on a drill press.


A multi-point cutting tool used to make round holes. Drills created with AM have specialized internal channels that improve cutting fluid flow and lengthen drill service life.

drive shafts

A long, cylindrical component that transfers power from a motor to other machine components. Drive shafts are used in a variety of applications, such as car engines and metal cutting machines.


The interconnected system of channels, tubes, and vents used to convey a material, such as cooled air. Ductwork is usually made by connecting a series of smaller tubes and plates, but additive manufacturing can create ductwork from large, unified components.


Designed to be used directly by a consumer or directly in another manufactured product. End-use products created by AM include medical implants, custom dental devices, and camera equipment.


A person who designs machines, parts, or other technically complex components or features. In manufacturing, engineers are responsible for designing a part, including creating the exact specifications for that part and deciding how best to build and finish the part.


A distinguishing characteristic that performs a function on a part. Features include grooves, shoulders, and hinges, among many others.


The rate at which the cutting tool and/or the workpiece moves in relation to one another in a traditional manufacturing operation. Feed is often measured in inches per minute (ipm) or millimeters per minute (mm/min).

feedstock roll

The cylindrical mechanism on a sheet lamination machine that holds and dispenses thin sheets of build material. Feedstock rolls often hold rolls of paper, polymer, or metal.


An extremely thin strand of material. Filaments of thermoplastic material are used by some material extrusion processes to build parts.

fire extinguishers

A portable device that uses a rapid spray of water, foam, or chemicals to put out a fire. Fire extinguishers are essential safety gear for any industrial operation.

fire hazards

A chemical, machine, or material that burns easily or can easily start a fire. Fire hazards of additive manufacturing include the lasers and powdered materials used in powder bed fusion (PBF) methods and the heated nozzle used in material extrusion.


A customized workholding device used to position and hold a workpiece during a manufacturing process. Fixtures can be created quickly and optimized through additive manufacturing processes.


The tooling used to position and hold a workpiece during a manufacturing process. Additive manufacturing fixturing is usually made by material extrusion processes.


A ring or collar surrounding a cylindrical component such as a shaft or toolholder. A flange is mounted to other components to provide support and rigidity.


An exceedingly thin sheet of metal. Foils are usually made with metals, such as aluminum, copper, or tin, that are easily stretched or drawn out.


A small vehicle with two prongs used in factory settings to lift and transport heavy loads. A forklift may be used to help an operator transport heavy additive manufacturing materials.


A general category of manufacturing processes that involve bending, separating, or shaping material using punches and dies. Forming is a traditional manufacturing process and includes methods such as rolling and extrusion.

fume extractors

A device that uses suction to remove hazardous gas and fumes from a work environment. Fume extractors are used with ventilation and respirators to keep additive manufacturing operators from breathing contaminated air.


Vapor that is hazardous to inhale. Additive manufacturing processes, such as material extrusion using plastic, can create fumes.

functional prototypes

A part model made to represent the composition and design of the proposed final part. Functional prototypes are used to test part functionality.


The ability of a part to optimally perform a set purpose. Functionality is a key design consideration, particularly for additively manufactured parts.


To blend with other materials to form a single object. Additive manufacturing processes such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and directed energy deposition (DED) use a laser or electron beam to fuse metal powder into a solid object.


A fluid phase of matter characterized by having high energy and the tendency to flow and expand indefinitely. Gas is used in some AM processes, such as the powder bed fusion (PBF) methods, to facilitate heat transfer from a laser.


A transparent material made from silica and other materials. Glass or glass-like parts can be created using an AM processes such as material jetting.


Protective hand covers that reduce the risk of injury and exposure to hazardous material. Gloves are used by additive manufacturing machine operators to limit exposure to build materials and high-temperature parts and components.


Containing a series of changes in material composition. Gradation allows a part to have different properties at different places in the part.


A subtractive manufacturing process used to improve surface finish and bring parts into close tolerance. Grinding is used as a post-processing procedure in additive manufacturing.

grinding wheel

An abrasive finishing tool made by bonding abrasive grains together to form them into a circular shape. A grinding wheel can be used during additive manufacturing post-processing to improve surface finish.


A mechanical device that uses rotary and linear actuators to mimic the motion of the human hand. Grippers have complex shapes that can be easily produced using additive manufacturing.


A source of danger or possible injury. Additive manufacturing hazards include heavy materials and equipment, potentially harmful materials and fumes, and fire.

hearing aid

An assistive device worn in or around the ear to amplify sound for the hearing impaired. Hearing aids can be customized using additive manufacturing processes.

heat treatment

Controlled heating and cooling processes used to change the structure of a material and alter its physical and mechanical properties. Heat treatment is often used to improve the hardness and durability of an additively manufactured part.

hole diameter

The size of a circular opening on a part. Hole diameter is limited to a certain minimum and maximum based on the AM process in use.

hybrid manufacturing

A manufacturing approach that produces parts by combining multiple manufacturing processes in a single digital workflow or on a single machine. Hybrid manufacturing may describe a variety of manufacturing process combinations but is most often associated with combining additive and subtractive processes.


A metal-forming process that uses highly pressurized fluid held in a bladder to shape metal around a mold. AM is used to quickly create complex molds for hydroforming processes.


A device installed on the surface or inside of a human body, usually through surgery. Implants perform essential functions, such as monitoring body functions and supporting nearby organs and bodily structures.

indirect rapid tooling

Using additive manufacturing processes to create patterns or molds for parts and tooling rather than final products. Indirect rapid tooling processes are often referred to as secondary processes.


The control panel and displays that the operator uses to interact with and control a machine. Each additive manufacturing machine has a unique interface that the operator must be trained to use.

internal channels

A pathway for air, coolants, or other substances to travel through the inside of a part. Internal channels are most easily created through additive manufacturing processes.


Manufactured products that are stored prior to being shipped to end-use customers. Inventory allows manufacturers to have parts available to sell, but inventory incurs additional storage costs.

investment casting

A casting process that creates intricate shapes using an expendable wax pattern and mold. Investment casting is also called precision casting and lost-wax casting.


A customized workholding device used to position and hold a workpiece while guiding the location and motion of a tool. Jigs are a type of fixturing that can be created using additive manufacturing.


A customized workholding device used to position and hold a workpiece while guiding the location and motion of a tool. Jigs are a type of workholding device that can be created using additive manufacturing.


A device that generates an intense beam of light that can be precisely aimed and controlled. Lasers are used to selectively solidify or combine materials in a number of additive manufacturing processes, including selective laser sintering (SLS), vat polymerization, and directed energy deposition (DED).

laser scanner

A device that uses a controlled beam of light to create a digital model of a 3D shape. A laser scanner is used to make models of patient or customer anatomy in order to customize an implant or other device using an additive manufacturing process.

lattice structures

A repeating, symmetrical pattern of crossing strips of material that leave diamond- or square-shaped gaps between them. Lattice structures provide excellent strength to a part.

layer thickness

The amount of material applied to or solidified in a layer vertically in one pass of an additive manufacturing process. Layer thickness helps determine build rates with large layer thicknesses generating fast build rates but less accurate parts.

layer width

The amount of material applied to or solidified in a layer horizontally in one pass of an additive manufacturing process. Layer width helps determine build rate, though too high a layer width can lead to thermal distortion.

lifting equipment

A device that helps an operator move an object from one location to another. Common lifting equipment includes forklifts and cranes.

lights-out manufacturing

Facilities that are fully automated and can operate without any employees on-site. Lights-out manufacturing allows for processes to operate overnight and during the weekend.

liquid photopolymer

A type of fluid plastic that cures and hardens when exposed to light. Liquid photopolymers are used in material jetting and vat polymerization.

manufacturing system costs

Any expenditure related to the general cost of running an industrial production operation. Manufacturing system costs include practical considerations, such as overhead and distribution costs, as well as discretionary considerations, such as new product development.

mass customization

The ability to quickly create a large number of uniquely designed variations on a part. Mass customization is one of the key advantages of additive manufacturing technology.

mass production

The time- and cost-saving process of rapidly producing a large volume of parts. Mass production is made possible through traditional manufacturing operations.

master patterns

A replica of a part or casting that is used to create a negative impression in a mold. Master patterns for silicone molding are traditionally made of plastic, wood, or metal.

material extrusion

An additive manufacturing process that uses a nozzle to dispense material, usually a thermoplastic filament, onto a support. One example of material extrusion is the fused deposition modeling (FDM) process.

material handling

The process of loading, unloading, placing, or manipulating material. Material handling can refer to moving large volumes of material, such as barrels, or manipulating a small amount of a material, such as loading metal powder in an additive manufacturing machine.

material jetting

An additive manufacturing process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited onto a build platform. Material jetting systems use a photopolymer that is cured by ultraviolet light.

mechanical fasteners

A device that holds two or more objects together. Mechanical fasteners include screws, bolts, and buttons.

mechanical properties

The collection of properties that describe a material's ability to compress, stretch, bend, scratch, dent, or break. Mechanical properties include hardness, ductility, and tensile strength.


A hard, strong material that conducts electricity and heat. Metal and metal powders are used in AM to create solid, finished metal additive parts.

metal cutting

A subtractive manufacturing process that uses a tool to remove metal from a workpiece. Metal cutting methods include turning, milling, and drilling.


A traditional machining operation that uses a multi-point horizontal or vertical cutter to remove metal from the surface of a workpiece. Milling is one of the most common metal cutting operations, along with turning and drilling.


A hollow cavity that holds heated liquid material and imparts its shape on the material as it cools. Molds with exceptional accuracy can be created using an additively manufactured prototype as the basis for the model.


Manufacturing processes that involve pouring heated liquid material into a reusable cavity that shapes the material as it solidifies. Molding is a traditional manufacturing process and includes methods such as injection and transfer molding.


A part that meets consumer or manufacturer specifications, including tolerance and surface finish, directly after it is manufactured. Net-shape parts do not need any post-processing after they are created.


A substance or object that does not easily start or support fire. Nonflammable clothing is often required personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with additive manufacturing operations.


A spout at the end of piping or tubing through which substances are funneled. A nozzle is used to distribute build material in a material extrusion additive manufacturing process.

operational costs

Any expenditure related to running a machine in a manufacturing process. Operational costs include labor and power expenditures.


A person trained to run a specific machine. Operators are responsible for ensuring that a machining process runs properly, efficiently, and safely.


Any expenditure related to general building or equipment costs, including rent, insurance, and repairs. Overhead is considered a manufacturing system cost.

part complexity

The degree of intricacy in the design of a part. Part complexity can be increased through the use of additive manufacturing processes.

part integration

Combining discrete pieces of a part into a design that can be manufactured as one complete part. Part integration can lead to optimized part design and reduced production time.

part orientation

The position a part will be manufactured in during an additive manufacturing process. Part orientation involves balancing part quality and build times.


The curving up of the sides of a plastic part as a result of thermal distortion. Peeling can be reduced by building parts through stacking shorter layers.


A very small, round ball of material. Pellets of thermoplastic material are used by some material extrusion processes to build parts.

personal protective equipment

PPE. Any clothing or device worn to minimize exposure to hazards or prevent injury. Common personal protective equipment for additive manufacturing includes gloves, safety goggles, and nonflammable clothing.

physical properties

A set of characteristics that describe how a material responds to environmental, thermal, electrical, and magnetic forces. Physical properties describe how a material reacts to forces other than mechanical forces.


A manufacturing material consisting of large molecules, characterized by being light weight, corrosion resistant, and having a low melting point. Plastic is usually easy to shape and form.


A finishing process used to clean, grind, or otherwise prepare a manufactured additive manufacturing part for shipping to a manufacturer or other consumer. Common additive manufacturing post-processing steps include removing support structures, improving surface finish, and bringing the part into tolerance.

powder bed fusion

An additive manufacturing process that uses adhesives, heat, or light to bond areas in a container of powdered plastic, metal, ceramic, or other material. Powder bed fusion processes include binder jetting, selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).


A collection of small, uniform, and separate particles of a solid material. Powdered materials are fused together into a solid part in the various powder bed fusion AM processes.

printer head

The moving component on a printer that holds and distributes the part build material. Additive manufacturing machines such as material jetting have printer heads.

product development

The process of creating a new, salable part. Product development requires an investment in design, testing, and the creation of new prototypes.

production considerations

Any of the various choices an engineer or operator needs to make during the actual manufacturing of a part. Additive manufacturing production considerations include part orientation and layer thickness.

production costs

Any expenditure directly related to starting or running an additive manufacturing operation. Production costs include the machine and material purchase expenses.

production rates

The time it takes to build a part or the number of parts that can be made in a set period of time in traditional manufacturing. Production rates, called build rates in additive manufacturing, are generally higher in traditional manufacturing.


Ignites easily. Pyrophoric materials, such as powdered metal or plastic, catch fire easily and must be used with proper safety precautions.

quality assurance

The overall effort by a manufacturer to ensure all parts and products meet consumer or regulatory standards. Quality assurance is a challenge for AM operations because the layering process can be highly variable.

rapid prototyping

A product development technique where additive manufacturing processes are used to create prototypes for a traditional manufacturing operation. Rapid prototyping allows engineers to quickly create a number of prototypes in a short time period, reducing lead time.


The ability of a manufacturing process to produce consistent and uniform results. Repeatability is greater for traditional manufacturing than for additive manufacturing.


A raw polymer, usually in the form of liquid, beads, or pellets, that is not yet molded into its final shape. Resin is melted to form plastic parts.


A breathing device worn to prevent the inhalation of hazardous gases or fumes. Respirators are worn by additive manufacturing machine operators to reduce exposure to powdered material in the air and fumes produced by the additive manufacturing process.


Concerning the organs involved in breathing air. Respiratory organs include the nose, esophagus, and lungs.

robotic arms

A programmable or remote-controlled mechanical device that simulates the movement of a human arm. Robotic arms are used in a variety of assembly and manufacturing applications.

sacrificial pattern

A disposable replica of the part or casting that is used to create a negative impression in a mold. A sacrificial pattern is used in investment casting.

safety glasses

Protective eyewear with metal or plastic frames and impact-resistant lenses. Safety glasses can have protective side shields but do not provide total protection for the areas around the eyes.

safety goggles

Tight-fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes and the area surrounding the eyes. Safety goggles protect against flying debris.

sand casting

The process of making a part by pouring molten metal in a sand mold. Sand casting can produce parts with excellent complexity and functionality when the molds are made using AM processes.


Unusable material removed from a workpiece to create a finished part. Scrap is a waste product of manufacturing that is significantly reduced through using AM processes.

secondary process

Using additive manufacturing processes to create patterns or molds for parts and tooling rather than final products. Secondary processes are sometimes referred to as indirect rapid tooling.

service bureau

A company that provides a specific service. AM service bureaus can assist manufacturers with a number of steps in the manufacturing process, including rapid prototyping and post-processing.

sheet lamination

An additive manufacturing process that forms an object by bonding sheets of material together using an adhesive, heat, or pressure. Sheet lamination processes melt thin sheets of material together, bonding them layer by layer, to form a single three-dimensional object.

silicon molding

A manufacturing process in which a liquid polymer is poured into a heat-resistant, flexible silicone mold to create plastic parts. Silicone molding is often performed using a mold created with additive manufacturing.

small-batch runs

The production of a small number of parts, usually under 500. A small-batch run can be cost-effective using additive manufacturing technology.


The rate at which the surface of the workpiece rotates past the cutting edge of a tool at the point of contact in a traditional manufacturing operation. Speed is often measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).

spinal inserts

A medical implant that is inserted in the backbone to help reconstruct a damaged or deteriorating spinal column. Spinal inserts can be customized for a specific patient through additive manufacturing processes.


A metalworking process that involves forming or separating sheet metal into parts with the use of dies and punches. AM processes can be used to quickly create optimized dies and punches for a stamping operation.

static electricity

An electrical charge caused by the buildup of friction in a person or object. Static electricity can be controlled through the use of machine grounding or using safety accessories, such as antistatic mats.

steel-toe boots

Heavy-duty footwear with a metal plate in the cap. Steel-toe boots protect an operator's foot from falling objects or sharp tools.

STL file

Computer files that represent 3D models as a series of interconnected triangles. STL files are used by additive manufacturing machines.


A material's ability to resist forces that attempt to break or deform it. Strength in an additively manufactured part is determined by its design, build material, and AM method.

subtractive manufacturing

Any manufacturing process in which a piece of raw material is machined into a desired final shape through a controlled material removal process. Subtractive manufacturing methods are fast but create a large amount of waste.

support structures

A reinforcing component used to hold the weight of an additively manufactured part as it is being constructed. Support structures are removed from the part once the build is complete.

thermal distortion

Deformation caused by exposure to excessive heat. Thermal distortion of parts is a concern for all additive manufacturing processes that use heat, such as material extrusion or powder bed fusion (PBF).


3D. Having height, width, and depth. Three-dimensional parts are created during additive manufacturing processes.


An unwanted but acceptable deviation from a given part dimension. Tolerance is, in part, determined by the resolution of the three-dimensional part model processed by the additive manufacturing machine.


Assorted tools used in various manufacturing processes. Tooling that can be created by additive manufacturing processes includes molds, assembly fixtures, and medical guides.


The arrangement of geometric or material components in a part. The topology of additively manufactured parts can be particularly complex because AM is capable of creating intricate shapes.

traditional manufacturing

A manufacturing process that involves creating a part by shaping or removing material from a workpiece. Traditional manufacturing operations include metal cutting and forming.

turbine blades

A flat component attached to the rotary axis of a turbine to direct air, steam, or gas flow. Turbine blades can be made using an additive manufacturing process such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).

turbine disk

The circular object, capable of rotating around an axis, that holds the turbine blades. A turbine disk has a relatively simple shape that is best created using traditional manufacturing techniques.


UV. A potentially harmful wavelength of light that is below, or shorter, than violet on the light spectrum. Ultraviolet light is used to selectively solidify liquid photopolymer in vat polymerization processes.


Training that expands the skill set of the trainee. Upskilling is used to expand the knowledge of engineers and operators, which in turn expands the possibilities for a manufacturing operation, such as adding additive manufacturing.


A suction tool used to collect loose dust, dirt, and debris. Vacuums are used to remove the excess powder left around a part created through powder bed fusion methods.

vat photopolymerization

An additive manufacturing process in which a part is built by curing layers of a photo-reactive resin with an ultraviolet (UV) laser. Vat photopolymerization is often used for making softer parts that require a high degree of customization, such as dental aligners or hearing aids.


A means of providing fresh air. Ventilation, including open windows and fan systems, prevents the buildup of hazardous fumes and gases.

visual aids

An object used to illustrate and supplement verbal or written information. Visual aids created using additive manufacturing include conceptual, construction, and surgical models.


An empty space between the layers or particles of a part. Voids occur when the layers or particles in an AM process do not fuse correctly and lower the properties of the part, such as strength and hardness.

wall thickness

The amount of material in a barrier or fortification in a part. Wall thickness must fall within certain parameters for different additive manufacturing processes.


A part that is subjected to one or more manufacturing procedures such as metal cutting, casting, or extrusion. Workpieces are only used in traditional manufacturing procedures, unless an additively manufactured feature is being added to a traditionally machined workpiece.

X axis

The linear axis representing the side-to-side movement of an AM layering device, relative to the origin. The X axis, along with the Y axis, is one of two horizontal axes in AM part production.

Y axis

The linear axis representing back-and-forth movement of an AM layering device, relative to the origin. The Y axis, along with the Y axis, is one of two horizontal axes in AM part production.

Z axis

The linear axis that represents up-and-down motion of an AM layering device, relative to the origin. The Z axis is the only vertical axis in AM part production and, because the layers are placed along the Z axis, the vertical surfaces of an additively manufactured part will have reduced strength and surface finish.