As additive manufacturing continues to mature into a robust production process, complimentary methods of designing for it must develop in parallel. The majority of design engineers have been trained under the conventional education methods of subtractive manufacturing. Switching that paradigm will take more than just adjusting a few rules, but a complete evolution in education and practice. When designers are urged to be creative and innovative, the design box that meets fit, form and function requirements expands exponentially.

Two very detailed articles about designing for additive manufacturing have been published in 3D Metal Printing magazine, written by Caitlin Oswald, an additive-manufacturing specialist with LAI International, Inc.

As designers become familiar with the process, machine and material, they can begin to develop custom support structures—options include use of angling and floating supports, and adding sacrificial materials for thermal consistency. (Source:


Designing for Additive Manufacturing