Some companies combine additive manufacturing (AM) and subtractive methods to take advantage of what each process does best. For example, the time needed to build this stainless-steel electronic housing was reduced from 52 weeks for an entirely cast part to 3 weeks by machining the base housing and building up the vertical details directly on the housing using AM. (Source: Sandia National Labs)
Eventually, there will be 3D printers that can employ multiple methods of additive/subtractive fabrication along with different materials. Some home-based desktop printers can already use multiple materials (i.e.: ceramics and thermoplastics) and it surely won't be long before multiple printing methods will be incorporated.
A new federally sponsored manufacturing innovation center to strengthen US manufacturing abilities in fiber-reinforced composites has formed, bringing together materials suppliers, OEMs, university R&D labs, and national labs.
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