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Additive manufacturing vs machining



Is additive manufacturing actually as good as its reputation? Or is it just a widespread artisanal technology? Is it only suitable for producing prototypes and plastic toys, or can it really be considered a high-tech alternative to machining?


All these questions are asked by people who are involved in mechanical engineering in one way or another and are interested in the production technologies of the future. There is not a clear answer here. Additive manufacturing technology (also called 3D printing) is relatively new, but has already proven itself well. In additive manufacturing, the component is built up in layers by gradually applying or hardening material. Material is added layer by layer to create the final component. Additive manufacturing can save materials because only the material that is actually needed for the component is used. There is less material waste compared to machining. This makes it possible to produce complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to produce using traditional manufacturing methods. 3D printing processes offer great design freedom and open up new possibilities for complex structures, cavities and internal channels. The surface finish of components produced using additive manufacturing is typically not as smooth as that produced by machining and may require additional post-processing steps.


Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, manufacturing, surface finish, surface quality, printing process
Surface quality after additive manufacturing

Machining despite its long history still remains competitive in the manufacturing market. The workpiece is formed into the desired shape by removing material through cutting, milling, drilling, grinding, etc. The smooth, high-precision surface structures created generally do not require any additional post-processing. Machining is significantly more productive when it comes to mass production or the machining of larger quantities of components.

The choice between additive manufacturing and machining depends on various factors, such as the desired end product, the complexity of the design, the material properties, the quantities and the required surface finish. The two manufacturing methods can often be used synergistically to take advantage of the advantages of both approaches. The combination of machining and additive manufacturing, often referred to as hybrid manufacturing, is an innovative method that combines the advantages of both manufacturing processes. These hybrid approaches make it possible to produce complex components that would be difficult or impossible to produce using conventional manufacturing methods. The combination of machining and additive manufacturing, often referred to as hybrid manufacturing, is an innovative method that combines the advantages of both manufacturing processes. Hybrid manufacturing processes allow different functions and properties to be combined in one component. For example, a part can be manufactured using additive manufacturing to create complex internal channels and then added external structures or precision features using machining. Such a combination can also be used for repairs or refurbishment of damaged or worn components. Additive manufacturing can add missing parts and machining will then bring them into precise final shape.

The choice between additive manufacturing and machining depends on various factors, such as the desired end product, the complexity of the design, the material properties, the quantities and the required surface finish. The two manufacturing methods can often be used synergistically to take advantage of the advantages of both approaches. The combination of machining and additive manufacturing, often referred to as hybrid manufacturing, is an innovative method that combines the advantages of both manufacturing processes. These hybrid approaches make it possible to produce complex components that would be difficult or impossible to produce using conventional manufacturing methods. The combination of machining and additive manufacturing, often referred to as hybrid manufacturing, is an innovative method that combines the advantages of both manufacturing processes. Hybrid manufacturing processes allow different functions and properties to be combined in one component. For example, a part can be manufactured using additive manufacturing to create complex internal channels and then added external structures or precision features using machining. Such a combination can also be used for repairs or refurbishment of damaged or worn components. Additive manufacturing can add missing parts and machining will then bring them into precise final shape.


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