6 Common Misconceptions About Additive Manufacturing

6 Common Misconceptions About Additive Manufacturing

Debunking Outdated 3D Printing Myths

At Alchemy Industrial, our main methodology is to challenge and re-examine prior assumptions. We call it “first principles thinking:” we unabashedly ask a lot of questions [link to Discovery blog post] to get down to the fundamentals of what a client is really trying to accomplish. We prod, try, and test every facet of information we have, from the  prototypes we create to bigger-picture truths about the additive manufacturing industry.

Through this process, we’ve found that there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding 3D printing. Because additive technology is relatively new and constantly evolving, many people are unclear about the limitations and capabilities of 3D technology. 

Here are 6 top additive manufacturing myths that Alchemy Industrial is only too glad to dismiss:


6 Common Misconceptions About Additive Manufacturing

1. 3D printing is only for hobbyists or prototyping. 

It’s time to put to rest the misconception that 3D printing is for one-off projects only. Additive technology is 100% capable of mass production, not just show part prototypes. Many industries, including oil and gas, use additive manufacturing for mass-produced part fabrication.

2. Additive materials can’t withstand extreme environments.

The creation of super polymers has made it possible for thermoplastic materials to replace traditional metals in additive manufacturing. These #stronglikemetal polymers can tolerate high and low temperatures, and they’re resistant to chemical and mechanical stressors as well. 

3. Additive manufacturing is expensive.

Just because additive is a newer technology doesn’t mean it has to be pricey. Settings on 3D machines allow you to “set it and forget it,” and there’s no need for repeat take-downs and set-ups like there is in subtractive machining. Plus, additive allows you to design what would have been 2-3 separate parts in subtractive manufacturing into just 1 part—saving you lead time and assembly costs.

4. Additive technology is too complicated.

With the right printing partner, nothing is too complex! If you’re new to 3D printing, you don’t always have to start with extreme services. You can begin with something simple like jigs and fixtures to familiarize yourself with the process.

5. Designing for 3D printing requires a specific skill set.

The great thing about additive technology is that new software is in development all the time. These software upgrades make it easier for engineers to design for 3D printing, even without prior experience. 

6. The metal additive industry isn’t ripe.

It’s true that using metal in additive fabrication was a risky proposition as recently as a few years ago. But the technology has improved significantly and quickly. Industries are beginning to adopt metal into additive manufacturing, and the aerospace, automotive, and oil and gas sectors are rife with opportunities for metal additive.


Additive technology is getting better and better everyday, so don’t make assumptions based on outdated research. To find out if additive is the right manufacturing process for your part or product, don’t hesitate to give us a call

Wondering if you could redesign a part with more updated additive technology? Get an additive manufacturing assessment from us today.