If you’re interested in manufacturing, chances are you’ve heard the terms additive and subtractive. Just how are these two things different though?
Interested parties would do well to learn the difference between additive manufacturing vs subtractive manufacturing. Doing so can help you understand how 3D printing and CNC machining compare to traditional machining practices.
Read on to learn more about the difference between the two types of manufacturing.
The Definition: Additive Manufacturing vs Subtractive Manufacturing
Are you wondering “what is additive manufacturing?” Additive manufacturing (AM) is often referred to as 3D Printing. It is a process of making a three-dimensional object from a digital file.
It constructs structures by adding material in layers until the full item is formed. Each layer represents the final item as a thinly cut horizontal cross-section. 3D Printing is a rapidly growing field with a wide range of applications.
Subtractive manufacturing (SM) is a manufacturing process where parts are created by removing material from a solid block. This can be done using a variety of tools like those in https://wilcomfg.com/, including lathes, mills, and grinders.
The process is often used to create features that would be difficult or impossible to create. The process uses other manufacturing processes. These include adding complex contours or creating hollowed-out sections.
3D Printing is the opposite of SM. With 3D printing, there is no need for expensive tooling or molds. And you can produce objects with very complex geometries.
Hybrid Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Subtractive Manufacturing (SM) are the two most common types of manufacturing processes. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
AM is typically used for low-volume production or prototyping. While SM is for mass production.
AM is also well suited for complex geometries or products with many internal features. SM on the other hand is better for simpler geometries.
Hybrid Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing (HASM) is a process that combines both AM and SM. It takes advantage of the strengths of both processes.
HASM is well suited for both low-volume production and mass production. It can create products with complex geometries and internal features.
Material Options and Speed
AM is generally more expensive and slower than subtractive methods. Additionally, it is for a wider range of materials. This includes plastics, metals, and even ceramics.
SM is typically faster and less expensive than additive methods. Additionally, SM is only for certain types of materials, such as metals.
Surface Finish Choices
Both processes are methods of fabricating parts from raw materials. The choice of surface finish will depend on the application for the part.
A smooth surface finish may be desired for aesthetic applications. While a rougher surface finish may be desired for parts that will be subject to heavy wear and tear.
Choosing the Right Type of Manufacturing
In conclusion, additive manufacturing vs subtractive manufacturing is two very different processes. But both processes have their advantages and disadvantages. So, when choosing which process to use, it is important to consider the specific needs of the project.
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