Before any great product idea can be launched, an important question must be asked: how can this product be made? Designing in such a way that your product can be cheaply and efficiently produced by well-established methods is a sure way to improve a product’s chance of success in the marketplace, and with incredible innovations in additive manufacturing, exotic materials, and more, the realm of what’s possible continues to expand.

To fully embrace the possibilities of additive manufacturing in addition to the traditional methods of subtractive manufacturing, new ways of thinking are needed at every step of the design process. The fundamental difference between these two processes is that additive manufacturing creates products through the addition of base materials layer by layer, whereas subtractive manufacturing creates products by removing parts of a material, generating waste material in the process. Due to the nature of both methods, the mediums that a designer can use, as well as the speed and efficiency of product are vastly different between the two processes.

The legacy of subtractive design is evident in the fundamental tools of design, most notably in the computer-aided design (CAD) programs we use to give products their shape and form. The language of these programs are spoken in terms of cuts and extrudes, revolutions and sweeps; terms that align with subtractive manufacturing techniques. With the incredible ability of additive manufacturing to capture complexity and smooth forms, the field of product design has begun to adopt the terminology traditionally used by modeling programs, the language of meshes, sculpting, and supports.

Not only do new methods of manufacture change the ways we can make and improve existing products, but they also change the very ideas we have about what products can be, and open doors to product designs that not too long ago would remain trapped in the realm of the impossible.

Design Interface Inc. can show you what is possible. Our forward-thinking solutions for product design, package design, medical device design, graphic design and photography unlock the value of your ideas as we communicate your message and goals. See more here: