In recent decades, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing (AM), has grown exponentially to become an exciting emerging manufacturing technology across multiple industries. This article explores metal printing, which is revolutionizing the additive manufacturing landscape.
3D printing is a comparatively novel technology that is changing the face of manufacturing. Designers can use 3D printing to create parts from different materials, such as polymers, ceramics, and metals.
In addition to this multi-material printing capability, 3D printing offers significant benefits to companies and hobbyists alike, including freeform design capabilities and significantly reduced material waste compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing processes. Aerospace, the automotive industry, and clinical science are some areas that utilize this technology.
The industry has many types of 3D printing technologies, including inkjet printing, fused deposition modelling, stereolithography, digital light processing, electron beam melting, multi-jet melting and selective laser sintering.
What is metal 3D printing?
Thanks to recent advances in many related additive manufacturing technologies, 3D printing metal parts has become a viable venture in the manufacturing industry. The ability to rapidly prototype and replicate complex metal parts with minimal waste provides significant opportunities for industries such as the automotive industry.
The metal is usually prepared into a powder before producing printed parts. Some methods extrude heated metal rods according to pre-programmed geometries, building parts one layer at a time.
3D metal printing technology
In recent years, 3D metal printing has advanced by leaps and bounds, opening up many opportunities for producing parts from various metal materials. Listed below are some common 3D metal printing methods.
- Direct metal laser sintering
The powder metal bed is affected by powerful carbon monoxide lasers, and these 2 lasers can track the final part geometry. The technology can be used on various materials and was one of the first 3D methods developed.
Parts are printed layer by layer, with the powder bed moving downwards as each layer is produced. The layers are bonded during this process, and printing continues until the complete part is produced.
- Selective laser melting
In SLM, the powder bed particles are melted rather than sintered. Due to the high heat required, SLM is a very energy-intensive process that may induce internal stresses in the final product. However, SLM produces parts that are stronger and denser than DMLS. SLM can print parts in cobalt-chromium alloys, nickel alloys, tool steels, stainless steel, and titanium.
Cold spray additive manufacturing
Another unique 3D metal additive manufacturing method, cold spray additive manufacturing, produces printed products without heating, sintering or melting. Instead, metal powder is burned on the substrate layer by a supersonic gas jet. The high speed causes the layers and materials to fuse, plasticizing on impact.
Robots are used to control material injection and manufacture complex parts precisely. One of the main advantages of cold spray additive manufacturing is its speed, which is superior to more traditional 3D printing processes.
3D metal printing is an emerging field of additive manufacturing that is useful for many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and biomedical. Several processes have been developed in recent decades to build high-performance parts with complex structures.
Metal powder printer’s wide range of applications
Aerospace industry: Metal powder printers can manufacture high-quality, high-strength aerospace components, such as aircraft engine parts, rocket engine parts, etc.
Automotive industry: Metal powder printers can manufacture automotive parts, such as engine elements, brake system parts, etc.
Medical field: Metal powder printers can manufacture medical equipment, such as surgical instruments, dental instruments, etc., and customized medical implants.
Jewellery and artwork production: Metal powder printers can produce various complex metal artworks, jewellery, etc.
Architecture and engineering fields: Metal powder printers can manufacture architectural models, engineering components, etc.
Scientific research field: Metal powder printers can be used for scientific research experiments, such as materials science, chemistry and other fields.
Personalized customized products: Metal powder printers can produce customized products, such as personalized watches, mobile phone cases, etc.
Education: Metal powder printers can be used in teaching experiments to help students better understand manufacturing and materials science.
Luoyang Tongrun Nanotechnology Co, Ltd., as a global chemical material purveyor and manufacturer with over 12 years of experience, is highly trusted for providing high-quality chemicals and nanomaterials such as graphite powder, zinc sulfide, nitride powder, calcium nitride, Ca3N2, 3D printing powder, concrete foaming agent, etc.
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