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Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are the creation of a three-dimensional (3D) object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model by adding consecutive layers of material atop each other. It differs from traditional machining techniques, which rely on the removal of material by methods such as machining, cutting and drilling.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing can improve customer service, speed time to market, reduce distribution costs and enable mass customization by allowing local subcontractors—or even customers—to create components using onsite printers, using designs licensed by a manufacturer. It can also reduce environmental waste by recycling old products into the raw material for new printed products.