Delcam Combining additive and substractive manufacturing requires expertise

Editor: Briggette Jaya

UK – Delcam presented a paper on combining AM and SM at the AM and 3D printing conference held by the University of Nottingham.

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An additive sample.
An additive sample.
(Source: Delcam)

The paper covered one of several case studies undertaken by Delcam to combine the two technologies at the event held in July. The overall conclusion was that AM like other manufacturing technology has pros and cons, and requires experience and specialist knowledge to ensure success. In many cases, AM is being promoted as a ‘one-button-push’ solution that is able to produce a part without the operator having to consider any limitations, Delcam explains.

It adds that cons include the surface finish quality and the lack of accuracy for precise geometry such as holes, and can be solved by using SM (substractive manufacturing) on parts generated with AM. However, these subsequent processes do impact the geometry that needs to be produced at the additive stage. Considerations like reference points and clamping locations do not fit the image of AM but are essential to get the most out of the possibilities the technology offers for series production.

The key to these developments is the digital information needed for each step from product design to completed manufacture. Manufacturing with the new processes still needs engineers, who use CAD/CAM tools to combine AM and SM successfully.