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Glossary of Additive Manufacturing Processes

Aerosol Jet Systems

This process uses a mist generator to atomize whatever material is to be used. From there the material is directed by a flow guidance deposition head into the desired pattern. This particular process can be used to create electronic, structural and biological patterns.

Digital Light Processing (DLP), Micro Light Build (MLB)

This process uses micro-mirrors, or a micro-electronic mechanical systems (MEMS) shuttering system, to reflect and project ultraviolet light through 3D-CAD-created masks to solidify layers of various photopolymers.

Direct Metal Deposition (DMD)

This process uses powdered metals and a focused laser to accrete layers of metal into the desired shape. A variety of metals can be produced using this process, including tool steel, nickel-based superalloys and other dissimilar metals.

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

This process uses laser-sintering to create objects from plastic polymers or sand. With the proper equipment, DMLS can also use metals that are generally considered uncastable.

Drop-on-Demand (DoD), 3D Investment Casting, MultiJet Modeling, Thermojet

This process is used to create detailed casting molds. It works by spraying heated wax, or a wax-like plastic, (which starts in granular form) through print heads to build up the mold.

Electron Beam Melting (EBM)

This process uses powdered metal and a powerful electron beam to accrete layers of metal into the desired shape. The electron beam is directed by electromagnetic coils in place of optics and moving parts.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

The devices that use this process heat and extrude a filament of thermoplastic material and layer it into the desired shape, along with any necessary support structures. Support structures are designed to be soluble and wash away in a water-based solution. Materials used in this process include ABS plastics, polycarbonates and polyphenylsulfone.

Film Transfer Imaging (FTI)

During this process, a thin layer of photo curable plastic material is accreted onto a reciprocating film carriage. As the carriage moves, a cartridge deposits a new layer, which is then imaged with ultraviolet flash photography.

Laser Consolidation (LC)

This process uses an Nd:YAG laser, powder feeder and a CNC carriage to build the desired object a layer at a time.