Imagine if you could make a duplicate of any part you needed instantly? Or any part you could dream up on a computer program and then have it printed out in a few minutes. Additive Manufacturing takes the opposite approach of traditional machining. Instead of carving off all the material you don't want like we do now, which is very wasteful wouldn't it be better to add just the material you needed?
I've noticed sometimes when machining parts that more metal is taken away compared with what metal or material is left. That is a lot of waste. I understand we don't like things made out of powdered metal because we've experienced its weakness compared to billet but there is more than one way to skin a cat and I think they'll figure out or already have figured out a better way than what we're used to. They say the EBM piece has the same charecteristics of normal materials.
They can even make hinges and chain link and intricate parts that are connected.
Arcam's Electric Beam Melting (EBM) process is used by NASA, Airbus, and Formula 1 racing teams. Also Walter Reed Army Medical Center just purchased one so they can make implants for our amputated and injured soldiers. They also call this 3D printing.
Perhaps one day Free Form Fabrication will transport people and things around the universe. We'll make a digital copy of people and then reform them where ever they want to go.