3D Printing in Metals. DMLS.
3D Printing in metals gives product designers and creatives the ultimate material choice.
Metals are 3D Printed using the DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) process. A very fine metal powder is melted with a laser to produce your design layer by layer. Once your design is complete any support structures are removed and any finishing completed. Unused powder is recycled for use on the next model.
3D Printing in Metals via DMLS is an Additive Manufacturing process which can work out more cost effective than traditional 'subtractive' processes. This is especially true with complex or intricate designs which would present a challenge to traditional manufacture.
We offer a full post build machining and turning service on our 3d printed metal parts to optimise parts to your design.
Our clients are using this technology to fabricate prototypes, short run manufacturing, and complex one off designs for science and engineering.
3D Printed Metals. Materials.
We currently 3D Print Metals in the following materials:
- Maraging steel - 1.2709 (Alloy Tool Steel with Ni)
- Titanium - TiAl16V4
- Aluminium - Alsi10Mg (Default)
- Aluminium - Alsi9Cu3 alloy
- Aluminium - NEW. Scalmalloy®RP (AlMgSc) - Aerospace.
- Stainless steel - 1.4542, 17-4 (Default)
- Stainless steel - 1.4404, 316L (SS + Ni with Mo but no Nb + Ti)
- Stainless steel - 1.4859 (High Temp).
- Inconel - In718 (Nickel Alloy - High temp metal)
- Inconel - In625 - NEW. (Nickel Alloy - High temp metal)
- CobaltChrome - NEW. MP1 (conforms to the chemical composition UNS R31538 of high carbon CoCrMo alloy).
- Gold - NEW. Please call for details on 3d printing in Gold 18 KK.
- Copper - NEW. CuNi2SiCr with good thermal and electrical conductivity.
3D Printed Metals. Technical.
Our metal 3d printing service gives you an range of build envelopes of up to 400 x 400 x 360mm in Aluminium. Other materials give the following build envelopes:
- 400 x 400 x 360mm - Aluminium 'large format' (Alsi10Mg)
- 280 x 280 x 350mm - Aluminium 'standard' for faster turnaround. (Alsi10Mg)
- 250 x 250 x 235mm - Titanium
- 250 x 250 x 300mm - Stainless Steels, Maraging Steel, Inconel, Alsi9Cu3, CobaltChrome, Copper etc.
- 80mm dia x 90mm tall - Gold
The published accuracy of the DMLS process is +/- 0.05mm. However this depends on the design of your part, it's build orientation and the material. We suggest a 'real life' accuracy estimate of +/- 0.2mm per 100mm.
Layer thickness is typically 40um for Steels and 50um for Aluminium but may vary depending on machine settings and application calibration.
Walls and Features.
Minimum wall thicknesses depends on material and design geometry but a minimum wall or feature detail of 0.5mm* is suggested. As a general guide round holes and channels may be up to 10mm before they require support structures and changing the shape of internal channels can increase this.
Our metal additively manufactured parts are over 99% solid giving your parts comparable properties to other manufacturing processes. Parts are hermetically sound making them suitable involving vacuum, gas or liquids.
Vacuum leak test results are available, please call or email.
The standard surface finish for DMLS 3d printed metal parts is slightly textured. As an average guide the surface roughness may be around +/- 30 micron, possibly worse where supports have been removed and better on some faces. Additional finishing may be able to give a smoother finish.
Post Build Finishing.
Producing 3d printed parts in metals is much more of an industrial process compared to 3d printing in plastics. Metal parts are subject to a post build heat curing process to relieve internal stresses, wire cut from the build platform, have the metal support structures removed and then subject to final finishing.
Threads are best added as a second, post build process.
Heat Treatment is available as an option as appropriate.
Machining and Turning. We offer a full post build machining service to optimise 3d printed metal parts.
Due to the thermal properties of individual metals, parts 3d printing say in Aluminum will take a different amount of time to build and finish to parts 3d printed in Titanium.
Multiple copies of the same part on a tray will reduce the overall unit cost as will a lower part height. As a rough guide a full tray of parts may take several days to 3d print before post build finishing can start.
* Minimum wall or feature detail for harder materials can be reduced to 0.4mm depending on design.
Quotes & Files.
In addition to the usual .stl file(s) please supply either a stp or igs file plus an engineering drawing (pdf). This extra information will allow us to include any specific finishing or post build machining that may be required.
Designing for 3d printing in metals requires a different thought process for you to maximise the opportunities offered by the technology. To help, we've published a design guide to give you a head start.
Prototype Mountain bike part.
Automotive handle design.
3D Printed Materials
OUR CLIENTS SAY
"Quick response to quotation request. Well packaged part, quick delivery. Very much appreciated as the part was used in a review meeting."
"Parts arrived very quickly and to a very high standard. The small parts I ordered would have been difficult and expensive to make with conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques."