Worldwide Sites

You have been detected as being from . Where applicable, you can see country-specific product information, offers, and pricing.

Change country/language X

  • United States

    We have redirected you to an equivalent page on your local site where you can see local pricing and promotions and purchase online.

    Stay on our U.S. site

Keyboard ALT + g to toggle grid overlay

THE FUTURE OF MAKING THINGS | 3D PRINTING

ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

Additive manufacturing is one of the prominent technologies shaping of The Future of Making Things.

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, adds parts to form its final product Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, adds parts to form its final product

What is additive manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a process used to create a physical (or 3D) object by layering materials one by one based on a digital model. Unlike subtractive manufacturing that creates its final product by cutting away from a block of material, additive manufacture adds parts to form its final product.

Types of additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing can encompass multiple processes, depending on the hardware, material requirements, and product application.

  • VAT photopolymerization, also known as stereolithography

    VAT PHOTOPOLYMERIZATION

    A vat of photopolymer liquid is cured by focused UV light that builds parts layer by layer for a high-detail surface finish.

  • Binder jetting includes full-color prototype fabrication

    BINDER JETTING

    A power substrate is hardened when the printing head deposits a drop of binding fluid in a layering process. Includes full-color prototype fabrication.

  • Material jetting for a smooth surface finish and high detail

    MATERIAL JETTING

    Primarily used where surface finished and form testing are needed; a printhead lays down successively solidifying layers of UV curable material to form prototyped designs.

  • MATERIAL EXTRUSION

    Fused deposition modeling is a common 3D printing process in which a heated nozzle extrudes a plasticized material to form products from a sliced CAD model.

  • Powder bed fusion is used for circuits, structures, and parts

    POWDER BED FUSION

    Laser or electron beams rapidly fuse layered powder material, such as various metals, together. Used for circuits, structures, and parts.

  • Sheet lamination: laminated object manufacturing

    SHEET LAMINATION

    Ribbons of metal or paper are bonded through ultrasonic welding or adhesive, respectively; the finished shaping is completed through further material removal processes.

  • Directed energy deposition: metal welding

    DIRECTED ENERGY DEPOSITION

    Repairs or adds to existing components by using a multi-axis nozzle to extrude laser-melted material, commonly metal powders, onto the printing surface.

  • Metal casting is used to produce complex metal parts

    METAL CASTING

    Using generative design and simulation software to produce complex metal parts helps manufacturers get more value from proven metal casting processes.

How is additive manufacturing used today?

Lightweight components are a result of additive engineering

LIGHTWEIGHT COMPONENTS

One of the earliest ways to use additive manufacturing for industrial purposes, this practice is now becoming an industry standard. CAD-to-additive simulation technology is improving exponentially.

Additive manufacturing enables custom tailored products

CUSTOM TAILORED COMPONENTS

Additive engineering provides the flexibility that manufacturers need to deliver custom solutions to clients quickly.

On-demand production for additive manufacturing

ON-DEMAND PRODUCTION

Prototyping is the original use of additive manufacturing. Though it is still widely used for that purpose, many companies succeed in delivering reliable 3D-printed finished goods.

The additive manufacturing ecosystem

  • Software for additive manufacturing and engineering

    SOFTWARE

    Additive fabrication would not be possible without the high-caliber software required to prepare CAD geometry for printing.

  • Hardware for additive manufacturing and engineering

    HARDWARE

    Autodesk has partnerships and integrations with dozens of leading hardware manufactures.

  • MATERIALS

    Materials science is at the forefront of the industry, providing novel ways to work with everything from existing plastics to futuristic alloys.

Video: Under Armour 3D prints its first high-performance sneaker

UNDER ARMOUR LAUNCHES 3D-PRINTED HIGH-PERFORMANCE TRAINING SHOE

Video: Livrea uses additive fabrication to build boats

LIVREA REVISITS TRADITIONAL BOATBUILDING WITH 3D PRINTING

Video: RamLab uses additive engineering for maritime parts

RAMLAB USES ADDITIVE FABRICATION FOR CERTIFIED SPARE PARTS

Design with additive manufacturing

How to design for additive manufacturing

Additive engineering is evolving at a fast pace. 3D printing now involves metal laser sintering, powder bed fusion, and even hybrid techniques involving casting and robotics.

Additive manufacturing trends
Image with kind permission of FIT AG

Trends in additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing has evolved rapidly in recent years. It has been embraced by major industrial companies looking for ways to improve their products. The ability to deliver near-instant parts production and fully custom designs that cannot be replicated with other manufacturing techniques has accelerated investment and research in additive engineering.

Examples of additive fabrication trends

  • Examples of additive manufacturing trends: simulation for additive

    SIMULATION

    With metal additive manufacturing, materials are expensive and lead times are compressed. Consultants, innovation labs, and researchers are turning to process simulation to minimize 3D printing failures.

  • Robotics trends in additive manufacturing

    ROBOTICS

    Robots are capable of incredible manufacturing feats, and their use in various fields is advancing rapidly—such as programmable multi-axis capabilities combined with computer vision research to build bridges.

  • Generative design trends in additive manufacturing

    GENERATIVE DESIGN

    Quickly generate multiple high-performing, CAD-ready designs from a single idea. Get thousands of solutions from one idea, and choose the one that suits your needs.

  • Video: Hybrid manufacturing trends in additive manufacturing

    HYBRID MANUFACTURING

    Metal additive fabrication often requires subtractive CNC finishing. Success with hybrid processes requires planning during the design phase and accommodations in the additive manufacturing phase.

Featured software for additive manufacturing

Free additive manufacturing software and guide

FREE SOFTWARE FOR STUDENTS AND EDUCATORS

Fusion 360 free 3D CAD/CAM design software for students, educators, and academic institutions.

THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO DESIGNING FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

Get the engineer’s guide to understanding and implementing additive manufacturing in the production process.

Additive fabrication is the future of manufacturing

Research and development

From 3D printed houses to additive technology that works in space, additive is the future of manufacturing.

Additional resources for additive manufacturing

Read about additive manufacturing trends and future materials.