Additive manufacturing means manufacturing an object through the successive addition of material. This is contrary to the typically imagined “subtractive” manufacturing process that begins with a mass of material and removes material until the intended form is created. Usually, products or parts created using additive manufacturing are done so layer by layer.
There are seven categories of additive manufacturing recognized:
As you can see, additive manufacturing is not limited to just 3D printing. In fact, 3D printing (material extrusion) represents only a fraction of additive manufacturing techniques available today.