Additive manufacturing technologies, also known as 3D printing, have demonstrated the potential to fabricate complex geometrical components, but the resulting microstructures and mechanical properties of these materials are not well understood due to unique and complex thermal cycles observed during processing. The electron beam melting (EBM) process is unique because the powder bed temperature can be elevated and maintained at temperatures over 1000 °C for the duration of the process. This results in three specific stages of microstructural phase evolution: (a) rapid cool down from the melting temperature to the process temperature, (b) extended hold at the process temperature, and (c) slow cool down to the room temperature. In this work, the mechanisms for reported microstructural differences in EBM are rationalized for Inconel 718 based on measured thermal cycles, preliminary thermal modeling, and computational thermodynamics models. The relationship between processing parameters, solidification microstructure, interdendritic segregation, and phase precipitation (δ, γ′, and γ″) are discussed.