Machining for Additive Manufacturing

Even though one is “subtractive” and one is additive, CNC machining and additive manufacturing are not competitors.


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Even though one is “subtractive” and one is additive, CNC machining and additive manufacturing are not competitors. In fact, CNC machining is often essential for successfully applying additive manufacturing to producing end-use metal parts. Greg Morris, CEO of additive manufacturing specialist Morris Technologies (recently acquired by GE Aviation) makes that very point in this video.

In fact, CAD/CAM supplier Delcam reports that additive manufacturing recently led to a high-profile application of its software. The French research center PEP, as part of a project aimed at applying additive manufacturing to make mold tooling, recently purchased a Roeders high speed machining center for finishing tooling components made this way (such as the one in the photo). The machining programs for these additively produced parts will be created in Delcam’s PowerMill.

The software company actually has various connections to additive production. Another involves Fabrisonic, a maker of ultrasonic additive manufacturing machines. This equipment uses PowerMill to write the “toolpaths” that, in this case, add material on instead of subtracting it away.