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Additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing

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3 Creating a model and building an artefact

There are often parallels drawn between AM and construction methods such as building a house out of bricks, the building of the pyramids or even creating a Lego model. These parallels are easy to see. For example, constructing a Lego model is in essence an additive process. The factor that makes AM different is the requirement for a direct link between the design modelling process and the manufacturing process (Figure 6).

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Figure 6 Flow diagram of typical additive manufacturing operations

There is no need to invest money in tooling. Nor is there a need to create prototypes. In the past, AM would have required a design to be converted into a CAD file format as a separate step. However, it is now commonplace for the design process to be completely contained within a CAD system, meaning no further step is required.