Comparison of metal 3D printing and traditional crafts such as casting and forging

In recent years, metal 3D printing has become more and more widely used. This technology is still developing, but it can already play a lot of roles. Compared with traditional processes such as casting and forging, it also has certain advantages.

Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of it compared with traditional crafts such as casting and forging!



 Advantage 1

Lightweight possible

Due to the small molding restrictions, 3D printing can give full play to the role of generative design and topology optimization. In the design stage, the unnecessary parts of the parts are reduced through algorithms, so that the printed parts can be lightweight, and then manufactured by 3D printing.


Can build complex shapes

Metal 3D printers create objects layer by layer, using the most common example of powder bed fusion, where a laser is used to repeatedly melt and solidify metal powder bit by bit. The molding limit is relatively small, and complex structures such as lattices can be fabricated.

Therefore, some parts that cannot be demolded and the tool cannot enter for cutting can be manufactured by 3D printing. Additionally, metal 3D printed parts are already stronger than cast parts, and are approaching forged strength as technology continues to advance.



Small number of parts, high work efficiency

The 3D printing process has a high degree of design freedom and can give full play to the role of design. It can not only reduce unnecessary parts, but also integrate multiple parts into a whole, improve work efficiency and reduce energy consumption.



Advantage 4

Short lead time

When the number of parts is relatively small, or only one piece is required, 3D printing not only shortens the production time, but also costs less per unit. Therefore, metal 3D printing is suitable for making prototypes or small batch production.


After reading the advantages, let’s take a look at its disadvantages.

Disadvantage 1

Average surface finish

The surface finish of 3D printed parts is rougher than traditional processes, and it needs post-processing to achieve an ideal surface finish.


Not suitable for mass production

When the production scale reaches a certain number, the economic benefits of metal 3D printing will decline, and it is currently not up to the task of mass production.


 Disadvantage 3

Not suitable for printing large-sized objects

Due to the existence of thermal stress, metal 3D printing is currently not suitable for printing large-sized objects, which are prone to warping and other phenomena.

However, the current new metal 3D printing represented by jet technology has overcome this difficulty, but the popularity is not enough at present. In the future, metal 3D printing can also make large parts.


In general, metal 3D printing is a good complement to the current metal technology. With the continuous improvement of its technology, it is believed that the application will be more extensive in the future.

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