Additive manufacturing (sometimes referred to as rapid prototyping or 3D printing) is a method of manufacture where layers of a material are built up to create a solid object.Whether the final piece is a quick prototype or a final feature, the general process doesn't change.
Producing a digital model is the first step in the additive manufacturing process. The most common method for producing a digital model is computer-aided design (CAD).
2. STL conversion and file manipulation
A critical stage in the additive manufacturing process that varies from traditional manufacturing methodology is the requirement to convert a CAD model into an STL (stereolithography) file.
3D printing machines often comprise of many small and intricate parts so correct maintenance and calibration is critical to producing accurate prints.
4. Removal of prints
For some additive manufacturing techniques, removing the printout is as simple as separating the printout from the build platform.
5. Post processing
Post processing procedures again vary by printer technology. SLA requires a component to cure under UV before handling, metal parts often need to be stress relieved in an oven while FDM parts can be handled right away.
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