The Exciting World Of Metallic 3D Printing

The Exciting World Of Metallic 3D Printing

Posted By: Ryan Moran Published: 25/01/2018 Times Read: 1618 Comments: 0

There was a time when metallic objects were manufactured using only a single traditional manufacturing method.

But call it a gift of technology, you could now use a 3D printing kit to form the most beautiful 3D objects at home. Have you heard about metal 3D printing?

If you haven’t, let us know this technology a bit closer and know various aspects related to it.

Metal 3D Printing:

Just a short roundup.

As the name implies, the additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology used to manufacture products with various kinds of metals and alloys such as titanium, stainless steel, bronze, iron and gold etc. is known as metal 3D printing.

The printers that are currently in use are mostly commercial 3D printers and the one for the home uses is yet to hit the markets.

The technique could be used for hoards of applications such as utensils, jewelry, sculptures, metallic prototypes and innumerable other such products.

Major Metallic 3D Printing Technologies:

Currently, metallic objects are manufactured uses 3 most prominent technologies which are as follows:

Powder Bed Fusion: In this, an energy source such as laser helps to fuse the atomized powder (the one which is in the form of perfectly spherical, tiny particles) so as to develop layers of the desired objects. Powder Bed Fusion is currently the most popular method of metal 3D printing and is also known by the names Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS).

Metal Binder Jetting: In this technique, the layers of an object are formulated by affixing the metallic particles with the help of glues and melting (sintering) them on high-temperature kilns, similar to ceramics. This is one of the fastest and a relatively cheap method to produce large-sized structures.

Metal Deposition: This 3D printing technology uses an extruder nozzle to send a concentrated stream of metal powder. The powder gets melted by the laser action and it then gets solidified as desired. Metal deposition technique could be effective to form large objects, but which do not have much of intricate details.

So, if you think of printing metallic objects, you could get the best commercial 3D printer kit that utilizes any of these technologies.

3D Printing Materials:

There are hoards of metals and alloys that are currently in use in the industries. Some of these are as follows:

Major Metals:

•Aluminum

•Titanium

•Copper

•Iron

•Brass

•Gold

•Silver

•Platinum

•Nickel

•Cobalt

•Chromium etc.

Major Alloys:

•Steel

•Stainless steel

•Bronze

•Sterling silver

•Metallic plastic

•Inconel

•Cobalt Chrome etc.

And just as each and every above element has a specific attribute, it could be required to get a specific commercial 3D printer that suits the properties of your desired materials.

Metallic 3D Printing Filaments And Its Properties:

You are well acquainted that you need a specific 3D printing kit to print metallic objects and there are specific filaments too. However, no matter what kind of metallic filament you obtain, there are some properties of these which you always need to mind:

•Each metal has its own specific finish and appearance. Choose the one which you intend.

•These are highly durable and non-soluble.

•They could be used to print jewelry, sculptures, artifacts and several other objects

•The normal print temperature ranges somewhere between 195oC and 220oC

•These are not considered safe for edible products

•These do not shrink much when cooled

•You do not require a heated bed, similar to many plastics

•3D printing with metals is a bit difficult and it needs some considerations to ensure smooth working.

•If you take a digital 3D image that is meant to print with plastics, chances are that you do not succeed. You could be required to employ some design-related changes.

•Similarly, the designs meant of CNC milling too are not compatible with metallic 3D printing. The former ones would have more volume and using it for 3D printing would involve a lot of costs.

•If you stand to compare the finished products that used traditional methods, against those which were 3D printed- both of these would have a lot different properties.

Best Applications Of Metallic 3D Printing:

You could be using a Prusa 3D printer kit at home, but might not be acquainted that even the business giants such as BMW and Audi etc. use 3D printing technology to manufacture their products.

Some of the common applications of metallic 3D printing are as follows:

•Healthcare Sector: The medical industry has always reaped huge benefits with applications such as dental implants etc. The advantage is, the products could be formulated to fit the individual needs of the patients.

•Accessories Sector: The jewelry manufacturers have now switched from resin 3d printers to direct metal 3D printing due to low wastage and high efficiency.

•Aerospace Sector: The aviation industry has long been manufacturing aircraft parts with the help of 3D printing technology. Ge-AvioAero was the first 3D printing factory that manufactured aircraft components in full swing.

•Automotive Sector: As already mentioned, many of the automotive companies such as FCA, Audi and BMW etc. are already using the 3D printing technology to manufacture the desired vehicle components.

Benefits Of Metal 3D Printing:

Metallic 3D printing could be highly beneficial since:

•It offers consistent results and is reliable enough

•The created objects are lighter in weight, but do not lag in durability

•The objects are strong enough

•It involves the least amount of waste

•You can print the most intricate and complex structures in utter ease

Drawbacks With Metal 3D Printing:

Having mentioned everything, let us see the drawbacks associated with the technique:

•It could be a complex method, not easy to understand

•Still a new technology; has not hit the homes yet

•It could involve a lot of time

However, with time, you could see all these drawbacks eliminated and metal 3D printing technology set to rule the production industry with yet more advantages than it currently promises.


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