The purpose of this module is to provide the reader with an overview of the fundamentals of additive manufacturing, implications to the industry and the applications to the aerospace field. The module presents an introductory overview of the most important aspects of additive manufacturing along with a comparison with traditional manufacturing methods. A brief evolution of AM (Additive Manufacturing) technologies, with special focus on 3D Printing, is also described with the methods and materials used in today’s industry and aerospace applications.
After completion of the module, the reader should be aware of the main advantages and difficulties of additive manufacturing, especially 3D Printing, in today’s industry and aerospace applications. The reader should also have an understanding of some of the most important AM methods and materials that are commonly used. Also the reader will have a grasp on the potential that this technology holds for the future.
The main concept behind additive technologies is to "stack layers" of material to reproduce a tridimensional object as showed in Figure 1.
Figure 1: AM process by Stacking Layers - Conversion of a solid model of an object (a) into layers (b), only one layer is shown .