Metal 3d printing is the future of industries as it brings more agility, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness to manufacturing. Those days are gone when only large-scale businesses used to leverage metal printing to drive more innovations.
With growing demands, 3d printing technologies are getting more prevalent across industries, and you can also benefit your business. Whether it’s prototyping or full-fledged batch manufacturing, this advancement can let you accomplish your every goal. If you are a beginner to additive manufacturing and wondering what its benefits and available options are, then we’ve got you covered.
On this note, let’s explore How metal printing works, its advantages and available technologies that you can use in your business.
How Does the Metal Manufacturing Technique Work?
The functioning of metal 3D printing is straightforward similar to other technologies. The first thing to know is that multiple metal 3d printing technologies are available in the market. You need to pick the best option based on your requirements. As each process has its unique characteristic and mechanical properties, you need to choose one that fits your requirements.
Broadly, there are two fundamental categories of this advancement — laser metal deposition and powder bed technologies. These are the most popular and used technologies that transform your business at scale.
The powder bed technologies use a power bed on which the powdered metal is fused to create the required parts. On the other hand, metal deposition technologies work by adding layers of materials until the design is ready. Before we dive into technologies that you can use in your business, let’s explore their benefits and popular materials.
Metal 3D Printing Benefits
Metal 3d printing offers a wide range of benefits to companies and helps them grow business at scale; some key advantages are:
It Can Work on Complex Designs
Metal additive manufacturing eases complex design manufacturing and management. From simple to complex, it works on all types of designs and their production. It can also be used to 3d print complex prototypes for testing at the early stages of design. In addition, the lead time associated with metal parts decreases dramatically through the introduction of metal additive manufacturing.
Using metal additive manufacturing, companies can customize products at scale. For example, 3d printing metal parts with customized geometry help companies gain a competitive advantage over others. In addition, metal additive manufacturing helps reduce overstock & provide customizable components in the aftermarket.
Scalable Production Capacity
3D metal printing helps companies experiment with different geometries leading to improved product performance with strength & flexibility. Metal additive manufacturing is scalable and helps in a significant reduction of time & cost. Regardless of the company’s size, metal 3D printing production helps them generate higher profitability.
Ideal Metal 3D Printing Technologies for Your Business
Metal 3D printing services are highly personalized, thanks to a wide range of available technologies. You can take the first step towards this technology by picking any suitable technology listed below:
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) is a powder-bed selective laser melting process used to produce three-dimensional (3D) parts directly from any thermoplastic or metallic powder.
A DMLS machine consists of a high-power laser source used to print parts in a bed of metal powder. The temperature needed to melt the metal powder is between 1500°C to 1600°C. The metal powder is fully supported by a high-performance thermoplastic binder that holds the 3D parts together. This technology is ideal for creating functional prototypes in limited quantities.
Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
The power of the laser used in 3d printers differs from this technology from DMLS. In this method, the 3d printer melts the powder metal completely, so the cooling process takes more time. It’s an ideal technology to use highly durable and expensive materials like Titanium.
Binder jetting is another popular metal additive manufacturing technology in which the printer fuses the metal powder by using a binding agent. It is done after each layer is printed, and then it’s cured to solidify the material. Once the 3d printing is completed, engineers move the build box into the curing oven.
Popular Metal 3D Printing Materials
There are several metal materials available in the market. However, if you are getting started, below are some readily available materials:
- Cobalt chrome
- Precious metals
Why Choose Metal 3D Printing?
Metal 3d printing is the future of manufacturing, and there are several reasons you need to integrate metal additive manufacturing.
- Using this technology, companies can create lightweight parts with complex geometries.
- Faster turnaround time compared to many conventional processes
- There is no need to stock inventory as it’s a full-fledged on-demand manufacturing method
- Compared to traditional methods, the material wastage is significantly lower in metal 3d printing
- It’s an environmentally friendly process that delivers higher efficiency
How To Prepare A 3D Model For 3D Printing?
Like any other method, you first need a 3D model for the design you want to print. If you’re only trying this technology, then you can download various templates from the internet. However, if you need to print something custom, then you should know 3D modeling. Then, using CAD software, you can 3d model your design and convert it into an STL file that is ready to print.
Once you have the file, you can start printing the file or either outsource it. Several companies offer quick and affordable 3d printing in Perth and many other places.
Metal 3d printing can accelerate your manufacturing business and boost profitability. By integrating this advancement with current processes, companies can take a step towards Industry 4.0. In future, as this technology becomes more accessible, the use cases will grow significantly.