CMM Inspection for Additive Manufacturing: Is it Applicable?

3 Mins read
CMM Inspection Applicable to Additive Manufacturing
Is CMM Inspection for Additive Manufacturing

Whenever a product/part is manufactured it has to undergo an inspection so that engineers know that the part is perfect or not. While this is not done for each and every part, it is definitely an essential part of the manufacturing process. Coordinate measuring machine (CMM) inspection is one such inspection tool that is employed by companies to test the accuracy of their manufactured products. But have you ever wondered about CMM inspection for additive manufacturing. Is it applicable or not?

Additive manufacturing has changed the game, allowing manufacturers to create parts with intricate geometries that weren’t possible before such as those involving overhanging and complex organic shapes. However, this technology doesn’t yet meet the same level of precision as traditional machining.

That’s why many manufacturers apply CMM inspection for additive manufacturing as well. If you’re looking for high accuracy in your 3D printed parts, getting help from a CMM inspection service provider can be an excellent option.

What Is CMM Inspection?

CMM inspection services use coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) designed to measure the geometrical characteristics of objects, including length, width, depth, and angles.

The machine’s arm has a sensor that moves across the component’s surface and measures points that are then compared to CAD designs, thus determining if the component meets customer-specified tolerances. And CMM inspection is often applied to 3D printed parts to ensure accuracy and repeatability.

What Is Additive Manufacturing?

3D printing
3D printing

According to Eley Metrology, additive manufacturing, or 3D printing as it’s more commonly known, is a manufacturing process where parts are produced by adding layers of material on top of each other. This process allows the creation of complex and intricate shapes with relative ease. Compared to traditional machining methods, additive manufacturing can drastically reduce the time it takes to create a part by a huge margin.

The 3D printing process starts with a digital model or computer-aided design (CAD) file of the part to be created. This model is then sliced into layers, sent to the 3D printer, and used as a guide for creating the final parts. Depending on the type of 3D printer you have, the material used can vary from plastics to metal alloys. The material is ‘extruded’ through nozzles onto the build platform according to the predetermined design.

3D printing is most useful for producing prototypes and low-volume production runs as it’s relatively cost-effective and efficient. However, its accuracy and repeatability aren’t on par with traditional machining methods. The amount of detail and accuracy you can get from 3D printing depends on the printer’s capabilities, which are still limited. This is why many manufacturers use CMM inspection for parts created via 3D printing.

How Can CMM inspection for Additive Manufacturing help?

These machines can measure a variety of features with a high degree of accuracy. They can also measure parts that may be too small or complex to measure with traditional methods. CMM inspection services are typically used in the automotive, aerospace, medical device, and electronics industries due to their precision and repeatability.

CMM inspection for additive manufacturing helps ensure that 3D printed parts meet the required specifications and tolerances. This helps reduce scrap costs, increase production efficiency, and ensure the quality of end products. It also helps manufacturers gain insight into their processes and identify areas needing improvement.

  • Ensures accuracy and test-retest reliability: CMM inspection services can help manufacturers ensure that their 3D printed parts meet the required accuracy and repeatability standards. By using a CMM machine to measure parts that have been 3D printed, manufacturers can ensure that their parts are within the specified tolerances and remain consistent from one batch to the next.
  • Reduces scrap costs: There are many reasons why reducing carbon footprint should be everyone’s priority. The cost is just one of them. CMM inspection helps reduce scrap costs by ensuring that parts are within the required tolerances. This reduces the risk of discarding or re-manufacture parts that have been 3D printed.
  • Provides insight into processes: CMM inspection can provide manufacturers with insight into their processes, allowing them to identify areas that need improvement. This helps them optimize their processes and improve the quality of their final products.
  • Enables manufacturers to take corrective action quickly: CMM inspection helps manufacturers detect errors early in production. This allows them to take corrective action quickly, thus reducing costs and improving the quality of their products.

As you see, CMM inspection is a highly valuable tool for additive manufacturing.


Additive manufacturing has made it easier for manufacturers to create complex parts cost-effectively. However, this process can’t always achieve precision and accuracy. CMM inspection is a powerful tool for manufacturers who need to ensure the accuracy and quality of their products. It’s especially useful in additive manufacturing, allowing manufacturers to achieve precise results that weren’t possible before.

CMM inspection can provide invaluable data on the performance of machines and materials used, helping manufacturers optimize their processes and improve the quality of results. Ultimately, CMM inspection can help manufacturers save time and money while ensuring their components meet customer requirements and specifications. By working with a reliable CMM inspection service provider, you can be sure that your 3D printed parts will meet the highest standards of quality and accuracy.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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