An overview of metal 3D printing materials

3D printing is used in different spheres of human activity, and the main material for the creation of three-dimensional models is not only plastic, but also metal. The technology involves the production of three-dimensional objects by depositing material in accordance with the characteristics of the digital model, embedded in a computer. The technique involves the interaction of computer technology and complex specific equipment – a 3D printer. In this article we will review the technology and give you an overview of metal 3D printing materials.

Types of 3D printing and metal printing applications

To create three-dimensional objects out of metal is resorted to using the technology of selective sintering under the influence of the laser. In this case uses a special powder, fused in layers to recreate the exact geometry of the original model. The cost of metal modeling is an advantageous argument in favor of the selective sintering technology. Powder surfacing is therefore increasingly being used in industry, including the automotive and aerospace industries.

The essence of technology of 3D-printing metal

The essence of 3D metal printing technology is as follows. A very thin layer of heated metal powder is applied to the work platform. It consists of metal chips, water and an organic binder. The particles are sintered with the previous layer and with each other in those places which correspond to the 3D-model. Printing is done in a special chamber without oxygen access, where the high temperature is maintained at a certain level.

After one layer is finished, additional composite material is applied with a roller and the next layer is formed until the finished product is created. At the same time excess material from the layer is not removed, but remains as a support for subsequent constructions. This allows the creation of hinged elements and other geometrically complex structures. During the firing process, organic matter and water evaporate, which leads to 10-30% shrinkage, which is always taken into account in 3D modeling.

Types of metals used in additive manufacturing

Modern additive manufacturing techniques involve about twenty tested and ready-to-use materials, including tooling, stainless, heat-resistant alloys, aluminum and titanium alloys, medical cobalt-chrome and titanium.

Since there are a lot of metals, and each of them has certain properties, one metal can be replaced with another based on the technological tasks. For example, if a titanium alloy needs to be used in the process chain, the technologist can choose from a variety of titanium alloys with the properties needed to produce a specific product.

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