Design for Additive Manufacturing 201

“Design for Additive Manufacturing” (DFAM) discusses how to conceptualize and create a part design for an additive manufacturing (AM) process. DFAM provides engineers with an incredible degree of freedom. AM processes are capable of creating prototypes or parts with increased complexity, functionality, and integration. AM also allows for other unique manufacturing opportunities, such as mass customization.

Though there are some design limitations with DFAM, such as part size and material choice, the process is mainly characterized by the opportunities it provides engineers. After taking this course, users will understand key DFAM concepts, such as functional complexity and hierarchical complexity, the basics of AM production processes, and how DFAM concepts related to basic AM production.

CLASS DETAILS

Class Name:
Design for Additive Manufacturing 201
Description:
“Design for Additive Manufacturing” (DFAM) discusses how to conceptualize and create a part design for an additive manufacturing (AM) process. DFAM provides engineers with an incredible degree of freedom. AM processes are capable of creating prototypes or parts with increased complexity, functionality, and integration. AM also allows for other unique manufacturing opportunities, such as mass customization.

Though there are some design limitations with DFAM, such as part size and material choice, the process is mainly characterized by the opportunities it provides engineers. After taking this course, users will understand key DFAM concepts, such as functional complexity and hierarchical complexity, the basics of AM production processes, and how DFAM concepts related to basic AM production.
Version:
2.0
Difficulty:
Beginner
Number of Lessons:
27

Class Outline

  • Introduction to Design for Additive Manufacturing
  • Advantages of AM
  • Disadvantages of AM
  • AM Processes
  • Manufacturing Design
  • Designing for Traditional Manufacturing
  • Designing for Additive Manufacturing
  • AM Basics Review
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Role of AM in End-Use Manufacturing
  • Other Applications of AM
  • AM Application Review
  • Part Complexity
  • Functional Complexity
  • Part Integration
  • Mass Customization
  • Design Consideration Review
  • Selecting an AM Process
  • Machine Setup
  • CAD Modeling
  • Design Tools
  • Reverse Engineering
  • STL File
  • Support Structures
  • Part Orientation
  • Post-Processing
  • Final Review

Objectives

  • Describe additive manufacturing and basic design considerations for additive manufacturing.
  • Describe advantages of AM.
  • Describe disadvantages of AM.
  • Describe the various AM processes.
  • Describe the process of designing a part for manufacturing.
  • Describe considerations for designing a part using traditional manufacturing.
  • Describe important considerations for designing for additive manufacturing.
  • Describe rapid prototyping.
  • Describe the use of AM in end-use manufacturing.
  • Describe other applications of AM processes.
  • Describe part complexity as it relates to AM.
  • Describe functional complexity as it relates to AM.
  • Describe part integration as it relates to AM.
  • Describe mass customization as it relates to AM.
  • Describe important considerations in selecting an AM process.
  • Describe how to set up a machine for an AM operation.
  • Describe CAD modeling for AM.
  • Describe the design tools used in AM processes.
  • Describe how to reverse engineer a part for an AM process.
  • Describe the STL file used in AM.
  • Describe support structures and their role in AM processes.
  • Describe part orientation.
  • Describe post-processing as it relates to AM processes.

Job Roles

Certifications

Glossary

Vocabulary Term Definition
3D printing The process of producing a 3D object using a specialized tool that creates successive layers of material. 3D printing technically must involve the use of a print head or nozzle but the term is often used interchangeably with additive manufacturing.
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.
AM AM. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a 3D computer model. AM allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.
automated Run by a preprogrammed mechanical system with little to no human intervention. Automated machines operate more efficiently and precisely than those directly controlled by an operator.
BAAM Big area additive manufacturing. Additive manufacturing on a scale that exceeds the typical cubic yard size limitations of most additive manufacturing machines. BAAM machines are capable of creating objects the size of cars or larger.
bar stock Raw material in the form of long bars or cylinders. Bar stock is commonly used in metal manufacturing processes.
battery A device that converts chemical energy to electrical energy. A battery can be used to power hand-held tools, such as a hand drill.
belt drive A mechanism that transmits power by moving a thin strip of flexible material around rotating components. A belt drive is a type of gear train.
big area additive manufacturing BAAM. Additive manufacturing on a scale that exceeds the typical cubic yard size limitations of most additive manufacturing machines. Big area additive manufacturing machines are capable of creating objects the size of cars or larger.
binder A material that holds together two or more other materials . A binder is used to hold together powdered metal and make it a solid part in binder jetting AM processes.
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.
blueprints A design representing the specific dimensions and production considerations for a part or prototype. Blueprints are created during the design phase of design for manufacturing (DFM).
build material The substance used to create an additive manufacturing part. Build material metal, plastic, and ceramics.
build parameters An adjustable variable that controls an aspect of an additive manufacturing process. Build parameters include layer thickness and deposition rate.
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. Build rates, or production rates, for additive manufacturing are considerably lower than traditional manufacturing.
CAD 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 an STL format for use by additive manufacturing machines.
centrifuges A tool that spins enclosed vials rapidly to separate materials into their individual parts. Specialized centrifuges can be made through additive manufacturing processes without creating specialized tooling or designing new machine setups.
ceramic 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 selective laser sintering (SLS).
chemical Relating to the interaction between substances. Chemical means, such as a chemical bath, can be used to separate support structures made of different material than the part.
chemical bath A specialized solution that an engineer dips an additive manufacturing part into in order to remove support structures. A chemical bath is formulated to dissolve support structures without harming the part.
cladding A protective layer added to a workpiece to improve corrosion resistance and other beneficial properties. Cladding can be added to traditionally manufactured parts using the additive manufacturing process of directed energy deposition.
coatings A protective film applied to the surface of an object to improve its functionality. Coatings improve a part's ability to withstand environmental hazards such as extreme heat or flying debris.
computer tomography A scanning procedure that utilizes specialized X-ray equipment to generate detailed geometric information about an object. Computer tomography can be used to gather information about the internal features of a part as well as its external features.
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.
conceptualization To form an idea about a possible part or manufactured good. Conceptualization is one of the initial stages of design for manufacturing (DFM) or design for additive manufacturing (DFAM).
cubic yard The volume of a cube with sides measuring one yard in length. Most additive manufacturing machines are currently limited to creating objects one cubic yard or smaller.
cure 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 photopolymerization.
curing The process of hardening a material through exposure to heat or another hardening agent, such as ultraviolet light. Curing is used to harden brittle additive manufacturing parts created with powder-based methods.
cutting A machining process that uses a tool to remove material from a workpiece. Cutting is a traditional manufacturing operation.
DED Directed energy deposition. An AM process in which focused thermal energy is used to melt materials as they are deposited on a surface or workpiece. DED often uses an electron beam and powdered or wire metal.
defects An imperfection in a part that prevents it from operating correctly. Defects sometimes appear in additive manufacturing parts when the layers do not adhere to each other correctly.
degrades To break down slowly over time due to exposure to various environmental conditions. A plastic part made through material jetting degrades over time due to ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.
dense Solidly compressed. Dense material transfers heat and energy efficiently.
dental braces A device used to straighten teeth. Dental braces can be created through additive manufacturing 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 rate at which a part is built.
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.
design for manufacturability DFM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating a part that functions correctly and is easy to manufacture. Design for manufacturability, also known as design for manufacturing, involves considering part functionality and the limits of the manufacturing process.
design for manufacturing DFM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating a part that functions correctly and is easy to manufacture. Design for manufacturing, also known as design for manufacturability, involves considering part functionality and the limits of the manufacturing process.
designing The process of creating the actual part specifications. Designing involves creating the blueprints and prototypes for a part.
DFAM Design for additive manufacturing. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating an additively manufactured part that functions optimally. DFAM allows engineers to mostly focus on part functionality.
DFM Design for manufacturability or design for manufacturing. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating a part that functions correctly and is easy to manufacture. DFM involves considering part functionality and the limits of the manufacturing process.
direct metal laser sintering DMLS. An additive manufacturing process that uses a laser to bond successive layers of material in a bed 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.
DMLS 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.
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.
duct A hollow, enclosed space used to convey a substance such as air. A duct with an optimized design can be created through additive manufacturing processes.
ductwork 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 ductwork can be made from large, unified components.
electron beam A narrow stream of focused electrons that create thermal energy. An electron beam is used in a number of additive manufacturing processes, such as direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and directed energy deposition (DED).
electron beam melting EBM. An additive manufacturing process that uses an electron beam to bond successive layers of material in a vacuum-sealed bed of powdered metal. Electron beam melting is more expensive than other powder bed fusion (PBF) methods but produces parts with superior physical and mechanical properties.
electronic A device capable of emitting, controlling, and/or directing an electric current. Electronic devices can be embedded in AM parts to provide illumination, mobility, or the ability to send and receive signals and data.
end-use Designed to be used directly by a consumer or directly in another manufactured product. End-use products created by additive manufacturing include medical implants, custom dental devices, and camera equipment.
engineers 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.
FDM Fused deposition modeling. An additive manufacturing process that builds parts through extruding successive layers of material. FDM is one of the most accessible and affordable types of additive manufacturing, though it creates parts with poor surface finish and has relatively low build speed.
features A distinguishing characteristic that performs a function on a part. Features include grooves, shoulders, hinges, among many others.
forming 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.
fuel systems A component in a motorized vehicle that helps deliver fuel to the engine. Fuel systems components, such as fuel nozzles and pumps, can be made by additive manufacturing processes.
functional complexity The degree to which a part can perform a task immediately after it is manufactured. Functional complexity is limited in traditionally manufactured parts.
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.
functionality The ability of a part to optimally perform a set purpose. Functionality is a key design consideration, particularly for additive manufacturing parts.
fuse 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 an electron beam to fuse metal powder into a solid object.
fused deposition modeling FDM. An additive manufacturing process that builds parts through extruding successive layers of material. Fused deposition modeling is one of the most accessible and affordable types of additive manufacturing, though it creates parts with poor surface finish and has relatively low build speed.
gear A circular, toothed component that engages, rotates, and transmits power to another circular, toothed component when rotated. A gear is usually used as part of a larger energy transfer system, such as a belt drive.
gear train A set of gears arranged to transfer mechanical energy from one part of a mechanical system to another. Gear trains are used in a number of automotive and manufacturing applications, particular in motors.
geometric The linear and curved shapes that characterize a part. Geometric complexity is one of the key advantages of additive manufacturing.
glass A transparent material made from silica and other materials. Glass parts can be created using an additive manufacturing process similar to fused deposition modeling (FDM).
gradation Containing a series of changes in material composition. Gradation allows a part to have different properties at different places in the part.
grain structure The relationship between the small, individual crystals in a metal or alloy. Grain structure helps determine the mechanical and physical properties of a metal or finished metal part.
grinding 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.
gripper A mechanical device that uses rotary and linear actuators to mimic the motion of the human hand. A gripper has a complex shape that can be easily produced using additive manufacturing.
hand drill A hand-held tool used by builders, assemblers, or operators to create holes or drive screws. A hand drill requires combining a number of different types of plastic, which can be accomplished in one operation using an additive manufacturing process, such as material jetting.
hearing aids 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 additive manufacturing part.
hierarchical complexity The amount of variation allowed in the ordering of shape or material composition of a part. Hierarchical complexity allows for numerous and rapid changes in the shape and composition of a 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.
implants 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.
implicit modeling A type of modeling that uses complex mathematical equations to map every point within the boundaries of a shape. Implicit modeling allows engineers to make a detailed map of desired material gradation in a part.
injection molding A shaping process in which resin is heated in a barrel and then injected into a mold. Injection molding uses high pressures to create complex parts.
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.
jigs 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 AM.
joints A point at which two objects or materials are connected, usually facilitating movement between the objects or materials. Joints can be directly manufactured using additive manufacturing with no additional assembly required.
laser 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 photopolymerization, and directed energy deposition (DED).
laser scanning The process of using a concentrated beam of light to generate data about the geometric shape of an object. Laser scanning is used to create a point cloud that can be turned into a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model.
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.
lead time The amount of time it takes from the beginning of a project, including initial design and prototyping, to the completion of the finished part. Lead time can be dramatically shortened through the use of additive manufacturing.
liquid photopolymer A type of fluid plastic that cures and hardens when exposed to light. Liquid photopolymers are used in material jetting and vat photopolymerization.
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 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.
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 jetting An additive manufacturing process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited onto a build platform. Material jetting, or PolyJetting, systems use a photopolymer that is cured by ultraviolet (UV) light.
mechanical Using physical force. Additive manufacturing support structures can be removed by mechanically using pliers to tear away the structures.
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.
metal A hard, strong material that conducts electricity and heat. Metal powders are used in additive manufacturing to create solid, finished metal additive manufacturing parts.
metal cutting A subtractive manufacturing process that uses a tool to create chips and remove metal from a workpiece. Metal cutting methods include turning, milling, and drilling.
microstructure The shape and alignment of microscopic components in a material. Microstructure helps determine the properties of a material.
milling A traditional machining operation that uses a multipoint 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.
modeling The act of making a three-dimensional computer or physical representation of a part. Modeling, such as a dental impression, is used to create an object that can be scanned and turned into an additive manufacturing part.
molding 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.
molds A hollow cavity that holds heated liquid material and imparts its shape on the metal as it cools. Molds with exceptional accuracy can be created using an additive manufacturing process.
net shape 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 further post processing after they are created.
nozzle 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.
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.
physical properties A set of characteristics that describes how a material responds to environmental, thermal, electrical, and magnetic forces. Physical properties describe how a material reacts to forces other than mechanical forces.
planning Assessing the ways to best create the conceptualized part. Planning involves initial considerations of the design and of the practical concerns related to the manufacturing process.
plastic 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.
plating The process of adding a thin layer of metal to serve as a decorative or protective coating on a part. Plating is used to improve the appearance or functionality of some additive manufacturing parts.
point cloud A set of data points for a 3D object. The point cloud for a part is taken from various scanning procedures and used to create a computer-aided design (CAD) model.
PolyJetting An additive manufacturing process in which droplets of build material are selectively deposited onto a build platform. PolyJetting, or material jetting, systems use a photopolymer that is cured by ultraviolet (UV) light.
porous Having many openings or voids. Porous materials act as good insulators.
post-processing A procedure used to clean, improve, or otherwise finish a part for use by a manufacturer or consumer. Post-processing additively manufactured parts includes abrasive finishing, heat treatment, and panting.
powder bed The area of a powder-based additive manufacturing machine that holds granulated construction material and provides the build platform. Powder beds are used in additive manufacturing systems, include binder jetting, selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
powder bed fusion An additive manufacturing process that uses adhesives, heat, or light to bond areas in a container of powder plastic, metal, ceramic, or other material. Powder bed fusion processes include binder jetting, selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS).
powdered 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 additive manufacturing processes.
printer head The moving component on a printer that holds and distributes the part build material. AM machines such as FDM or material jetting have printer heads.
production The manufacturing of a finished part for delivery to a customer. Production is the final stage of design for manufacturing (DFM).
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. Production rates, or build rates, for additive manufacturing are considerably lower than traditional manufacturing.
prototypes A preliminary model of a part used to evaluate the look and performance of a design. Prototypes are used to determine the specifications for the final part.
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 additive manufacturing 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.
raw materials An unprocessed or lightly-processed component used to make the finished part. Raw materials in manufacturing include metal, plastic, and ceramic.
resin 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.
resolution The fineness of detail in a computer-aided design (CAD) model. Resolution helps determine the surface finish quality of an additively manufactured part, with greater resolution leading to better surface finish.
reverse engineering A process that captures geometric data of an existing object to convert it to a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model. Reverse engineering can be used to create an additive manufacturing part from a traditionally manufactured part.
robotic arm A programmable or remote-controlled mechanical device that simulates the movement of a human arm. A robotic arm is used in a variety of assembly and manufacturing applications.
roller chains A chain drive or belt used to transfer mechanical power between machine components. Roller chains are made of interlinking cylindrical rollers.
rolling A forming processes in which a sheet of metal is passed through rollers to reduce thickness and make the sheet a uniform size. Rolling can also be used to improve the properties of a workpiece.
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 additive manufacturing processes.
scaffolding A temporary elevated platform consisting of metal or wooden crosspieces, supports or cables, and metal or wooden planking. Scaffolding allows builders to reach tall worksites, such as the side of a skyscraper.
scanning The act of examining a surface, object, or body part using an electromagnetic beam or other detector. Scanning creates a computer-generated three-dimensional model of the scanned object, which can then be turned into an additive manufacturing part.
scraper bar A rectangular, three-dimensional object that pushes powdered material evenly across a powder bed. Scraper bars, used in powder bed fusion additive manufacturing, place fresh powder over sintered powder so the next layer of the part can be built.
sealing The process of applying an impermeable, nonporous coating to a part to protect it from interacting with other substances. Sealing is used to keep fused deposition modeling (FDM) parts from interacting negatively with the surrounding environment.
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.
selective laser sintering SLS. An additive manufacturing process in which a part is built by heating and solidifying layers of powdered material, usually a polymer. Selective laser sintering parts are strong and durable but usually have poor surface finish.
SLA Stereolithography. An additive manufacturing process in which a part is built by curing layers of a photo-reactive resin with an ultraviolet (UV) laser. SLA, also known as vat polymerization, is often used for making softer parts that require a high degree of customization such as dental aligners or hearing aids.
SLS Selective laser sintering. An additive manufacturing process in which a part is built by heating and solidifying layers of powdered material, usually a polymer. SLS parts are strong and durable but usually have poor surface finish.
smart structures A part or component that can vary and optimize its performance depending on environmental factors, such as applied pressure or temperature changes. Smart structures are made using complex part configurations and intricate layering and gradation of materials.
software Coded instructions or programs that control computer hardware functions and operations. Software is used as a platform to design additively manufactured parts.
solid modeling A type of geometric modeling based on solids in which all visible surfaces of a part are shown. Solid modeling processes, such as computer-aided design (CAD), provide a direct representation of the shape, volume, and mass of an object.
springs A flexible device that yields under compressive force to its original shape when the force is removed. Springs are used to apply force, control motion, and store energy.
stereolithography SLA. An additive manufacturing process in which a part is built by curing layers of a photo-reactive resin with an ultraviolet (UV) laser. Stereolithography, also known as vat polymerization, is often used for making softer parts that require a high degree of customization such as dental aligners or hearing aids.
STL Computer files that represent 3D models as a series of interconnected triangles. STL files are used with additive manufacturing machines.
strength A material's ability to resist forces that attempt to break or deform it. Additive manufacturing processes such as vat photopolymerization creates parts with poor strength.
stress A force that attempts to deform an object. Stress includes compression, shear, and tensile forces.
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 material The substance used to create the support structures for an additive manufacturing part. Support material is often slightly different from the build material so that it can be more easily removed once the part is finished.
support structures A reinforcing component used to hold the weight of an additively manufactured part as it is being constructed. Support structures must be removed from the part after the build is complete.
surface finish The degree of smoothness on a part's outer surface after it has been manufactured. Surface finish quality varies depending on the additive manufacturing process used and the build parameters.
testing The examination of a part to ensure that it performs its intended function and that it can be satisfactorily manufactured. Testing indicates whether the part needs additional planning or if it is ready for production.
thermal input The amount of heat generated during various points of an additive manufacturing process. Thermal input can affect the mechanical and physical properties of a part.
thermoplastic A group of plastics that can be repeatedly heated, cooled, and shaped. Thermoplastics are often used in material extrusion additive manufacturing processes.
three-dimensional 3D. Having height, width, and depth. Three-dimensional parts are created during additive manufacturing processes.
tolerance An unwanted but acceptable deviation from a given part dimension. Tolerance is, in part, determined by the resolution of the 3D part model processed by the additive manufacturing machine.
tooling Assorted tools used in various manufacturing processes. Tooling that can be created by additive manufacturing processes include molds, assembly fixtures, and medical guides.
topology The arrangement of geometric or material components in a part. The topology of additively manufactured parts is particularly complex because it is capable of creating intricate shapes and various gradients of material in a part.
touch-probe technology Scanning equipment that uses a sensitive device that makes physical contact with an object to generate data about the geometric shape of that object. Touch-probe technology is used to reverse engineer traditionally manufactured parts to recreate them using additive manufacturing processes.
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).
ultraviolet 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.
vat An industrial receptacle used to hold fluids. A vat is used to hold liquid photopolymers in vat photopolymerization processes.
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.
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.
wall thickness The amount of material in a flat vertical barrier in a part. Wall thickness must fall within certain parameters for different additive manufacturing processes.
workpiece 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 traditionally machined workpiece.