THE GUIDE TO METAL 3D PRINTING

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Using 3D printing technology to print metal

As a result of rapid technological advancements, metal 3D printing has seen a massive increase in recent years. As a result of the rapid advancement of technology, many innovative startups and suppliers have come up with new and increasingly affordable 3D metal printing processes. In addition, they have come up with more and more compatible materials.

There are many industries that are taking advantage of 3D metal printing, including the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. This is because it allows the creation of extremely complex metal parts at a relatively low cost compared to traditional manufacturing processes.

There have been many improvements made to metal 3D printers in the past few years. As a result of hybrid systems, metal deposition, recovery materials, and many other innovative projects, the process has become more efficient than ever before. The purpose of this guide is to help explain everything you neeprinting. This includes 3D printing, as well as the main companies involved, the uses of metal 3D printing, and much more!

Technologies related to 3D printing

In spite of the fact that powder fusion technologies have been around since the early 1970s, they are based on a relatively simple principle, where a power source sinters or melts metal powders to produce a finished piece, layer-by-layer. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) is the most well-known metal 3D printing technology based on this principle, which was patented by ERD and EOS in the 1990s and which has been used extensively since then.

A major metal 3D printing technology that can be compared to FDM is Direct Energy Deposition (DED). It is a method that involves the construction of metal parts through the use of a CLAD laser. By using a laser beam to weld the parts together during the welding process, powder is projected from the nozzle. This powder is then melted at the outlet by a laser beam. It is possible to print directly onto a piece or part with this method, which is not possible with most other processes. The technology is used by companies such as BeAM, Sciaky, and Optomec.

During the 1990s, a revolutionary hybrid manufacturing method called stratification was developed by CIRTES that combined machining and additive manufacturing. First of all, we create an STL or CAD file that is then sliced into layers before the supports are inserted into the model. The metal layers are then manufactured, either by micro-milling, laser cutting, wire cutting, or another means by which the metal layer is manufactured. As soon as the layers are assembled, the final product is formed from the assembled layers.

There is another metal additive manufacturing process known as cold spraying, which is also known as cold spraying. By using this method, metal powders are joined by projecting them onto a support, without heating them up in any way. The metal powder is secured with the help of helium in this projection. Due to the use of helium, this metal 3D printing method is only used on a very rare basis, as it is a very expensive method.

There are some manufacturers who have developed their own patented technologies which are different from the ones we mentioned earlier in this article. In this regard, we can mention Vader Systems’ liquid metal 3D printing technology as well as Pollen AM’s Metal Injection Molding (MIM) technology. You can find all the most recent technologies here.

 

Metal 3D Printing Materials

The most commonly used material in metal 3D printing is aluminium, mainly in alloy form. Aluminium is useful as it offers good resistance whilst being light. It is mainly used when keeping weight down is essential, such as in the aeronautics and automotive industries. Steel is also popular, especially in industrial applications. Steel has superior mechanical properties and a high-quality surface finish. This is why it is the most popular metal for 3D printing.

For medical applications, there are also metals such as gallium, cobalt-chrome, and titanium, which are corrosion-resistant and biocompatible.

Jewelry is mainly made of precious metals. 3D printing can create complex jewelry from gold, silver, and bronze, despite their high costs. However, the main challenge is in the finish.

 

Applications of Metal 3D Printing

A metal 3D printing process is currently used within the industry to create tool components and finished parts in sectors such as the aerospace and automotive industries, among others. In addition to saving weight and lowering costs, 3D printing can also be used to produce aircraft components and rocket motors. The use of 3D metal printing has also been found in the medical field, where it has been used to create implants for analysis, especially in the dental field. It has even been shown that metal additive manufacturing can be used to design boat propellers in the marine sector!

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