2. Design thinking (Design for Additive Manufacturing or DfAM)
AM builds (or prints) from CAD models by adding materials layer by layer. This process is a very different approach from most traditional forms of manufacturing, which remove or subtract material to form the desired shape — often with the desired shape modified for the best means of machine mass production in mind.
AM frees designers from this mass production mindset. The layer-based additive nature allows for higher degrees of customization and complex geometries. These provide you with the flexibility to integrate features into complex parts without the simplification needed for most conventional mass production methods.
This freedom and flexibility mean that designers can conceptually think much differently when working in AM, offering more of an opportunity to design from a "blank slate."
However, AM still has its own considerations, whether it is the materials selection, support or build strategy, or choice of which process to use for a given project. The most important aspect of design for AM is to identify and take full advantage of the tools (generative design, topology optimization, consolidation or lattice structures) that best leverage the benefits of the additive process.