Forge Labs SLS PA2200 03

3D Printing VS Additive Manufacturing

3D Printing vs Additive Manufacturing. What's the difference?

What's the Difference Between 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is 3D printing, but not all 3D printing is Additive Manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing (AM) is often geared towards producing end-use production parts as an alternative to CNC, or other traditional manufacturing processes.  Conversely, the term 3D Printing is generally used to describe processes that focus on the singular production of objects. These technologies include Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printers,  as well some Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) machines.

Additive Manufacturing is used to describe advanced, and scalable technologies such as Selective Laser Sintering, Multi-Jet Fusion, and Direct Metal Laser Sintering. These technologies are geared towards the manufacturing sector and offer a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing methods such as:

  • Faster leader times,
  • More design freedom and
  • Greater cost savings for complex assemblies.

Two key differences that set Additive Manufacturing apart from 3D Printing is that Additive Manufacturing is often both functional and more scalable. This means end-use parts become more efficient and quicker to produce the more parts that are printed. This allows for greater cost savings on larger end-use production run making Additive Manufacturing highly competitive and a suitable alternative to many traditional manufacturing methods. 


3D Printing

Additive Manufacturing

SLA, DLP, FFF, PolyJet



3D Printing

Additive Manufacturing

Prototypes, Master Patterns, Concept Models

End-Use Parts, Functional Parts, Volume Production