Additive manufacturing involves creating materials by building up layers in the desired shape using either Computer Aided Design (CAD) software or 3D object scanners. The subset techniques include 3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping, and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS). Although the terms additive manufacturing and 3D printing are sometimes used interchangeably, 3D printing can be defined as making a product using any printer technology. Rapid prototyping involves creating test designs, functional components and moulds.
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) can be broken down into 3 sub-methods which are Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The first two methods involve merging the particles in the material without achieving a full melt, SLS is used for non-metal and DMLS is used for metal materials. SLM uses metal materials and involves and full melt process meaning the end result is non-porous.