According to a recent article featured on DesignNews.com, 3D printing continues to grow in popularity with powder metals as a new medium. Using additive manufacturing (AM) methods such as 3D printing (versus subtraction methods such as milling and machining), “new products can be developed and manufactured with material properties and geometries that are difficult or impossible to achieve with subtractive methods.” In addition to the material savings, the “building-up” process also provides the ability to print internal cavities and greatly improve part strength that meets aerospace demands.
The article, entitled “3D Printing Using Powder Metals: Choose the Right Process for the Right Application,” describes a company that produced a stainless steel electrical housing and managed to reduce the build time from 52 weeks to 3 weeks by using 3D printing methods.
Currently, the two most common technologies for AM are “Powder Bed” and “Blown Powder.” The Powder Bed method is more widely used for smaller, more complex parts as it provides a better surface finish. Blown Powder methods are used to add materials to existing parts and building parts that have higher mechanical property requirements.
Some questions DesignNews proposes to the aspiring 3D metal printer, and that might be useful for Prospector Metals Search users, as well, are:
- What additive manufacturing (AM) applications are needed in my organization?
- What part size do I need to build?
- What materials do I want to use?
- Can my designs benefit from metal composites or graded metal structures?
- How important are material properties for my application?
Have you started to use 3D Printing as an method in manufacturing? If so what process do you find to be most effective for your use? We’d love to hear your comments below.
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