Top 10 Stories of 2018

Additive manufacturing's advance into production, metal 3D printing and machine learning top the list of this year's most-read stories.

Each year, the editors of Additive Manufacturing look back at the page view analytics for the past year to determine which online stories were the most popular among readers. Some years, this list is wide-ranging and varied. In other years, it is a microcosm of clear industry trends.

The 2018 list is of the latter variety. Our top stories lean heavily toward metal 3D printing, and metal 3D printing of end-use parts, at that. However, tooling applications and polymer printing are also represented. But perhaps most telling is the story that tops our list, a feature article that dives deep into the promise of machine learning for AM. The story of additive’s advance is increasingly one that unfolds alongside other emerging technologies. We expect to see more interplay between AM and machine learning, AI, automation and other advances like this in 2019.

  1. How Machine Learning Is Moving AM Beyond Trial and Error
    The characteristics of a metal 3D-printed part produced in a powder bed process are potentially affected by laser power, laser speed, laser spot size, pass overlap, composition of the powder, melt point...and numerous other variables. And that’s just for one AM method. Our top story for 2018 explores why AM’s variables make it ripe to benefit from machine learning and artificial intelligence.

  2. Postprocessing Steps and Costs for Metal 3D Printing
    This is the second year in a row that an article about postprocessing has occupied the number 2 slot in this list. AM users have largely accepted that a 3D-printed part is also likely to be a heat-treated, machined or otherwise finished part. Contributor Dr. Timothy Simpson offers tips for processing metal parts after they come out of the printer.

  3. 10 Impressions of Formnext 2018
    The 2018 edition of Formnext was remarkable for its size and variety, but most of all for how it showcased AM’s maturity. Subtle gains in technology, changing roles for material suppliers and enterprise-level software were among the trends our editors spotted at the show; find the whole list at the link above.

  4. Roush Uses Engine Cylinder Head to Prove Out Additive Manufacturing
    Roush was in the process of commissioning a new metal AM machine when the idea came to 3D print and test some critically stressed parts. Just by chance, the team had been working on a cylinder head at the time and decided to see how a 3D-printed version of this part would perform. They share their results in this story.

  5. Printing Solid, Simple Metal Parts in Minutes, Spee3D Process Is Competition for Casting
    Spee3D has developed a “supersonic 3D deposition” strategy to build metal parts. But the company doesn’t see other metal 3D printing processes as its competition. Company co-founder and CEO Byron Kennedy explains how and why Spee3D is instead competing against casting.

  6. 5 Lessons About Additive Manufacturing We Can Learn from This Part
    A 3D-printed titanium bracket is more than just a functional part; this workpiece illustrates some fundamental points about additive manufacturing, topology optimization, materials, postprocessing and more.

  7. 3D-Printed Parts Said to Outperform 17-4 PH Stainless Steel
    How do 3D-printed parts match up to conventionally manufactured materials? In this case study, ITAMCO compares 3D-printed parts made with EOS 17-4 PH IndustryLine metal powder with heat-treated 17-H stainless steel.

  8. 3D-Printed Sneakers Gaining Traction
    3D printing is gaining ground in the consumer market, particularly in footwear. Contributor Heather Caliendo breaks down the major players in 3D-printed sneakers and the various ways they are pursuing additive manufacturing.

  9. In Additive’s Evolution, Aerospace Proves the Fittest
    “Hype” is still an issue in additive manufacturing today, but there is one industrial sector that has produced AM success stories for years: aerospace. Incodema3D details its strategy for meeting the demands of this exacting industry with 3D printing expertise and vertical integration with sister companies.

  10. 3D-Printed Tooling Offers Durability for Precast Concrete
    3D printing is changing how tooling is made in a range of industries, including concrete. Gate Precast shares its experience using carbon fiber-filled ABS forms made on large-scale 3D printers to manufacture more than 900 concrete windows for a NYC building.

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Editor's Pick

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Stories from 2018

Additive Manufacturing editors share their favorite stories of AM users, 3D printing applications and adjacent technologies from the past year.