About Industrial Metals

Direct metal 3D printing allows you to create functional prototypes and mechanical parts from various metals and alloys.

Industrial metals are laser sintered from metal powder. Available materials include aluminum, stainless steel, bronze and cobalt chromium.

Example parts

Industrial Metals

Strengths

  • Functional prototypes and end-use parts
  • Complex designs with intricate details
  • Mechanical parts
  • Moving and assembled parts

Limitations

  • Cavities within design (unless making use of escape holes)

Design rules to remember when printing with Industrial Metals

SLS design rule: Embossed and engraved details

Embossed and engraved details

1 MM

For embossed and engraved details, we recommend a minimum line thickness of 1 mm and a depth of 1 mm.

Tip: if you are putting text on your design, use a bold sans-serif font for readability, such as Arial Bold.

SLS design rule: Escape holes

Escape holes

2 MM DIAMETER FOR ONE ESCAPE HOLE

As Metals are built up from powder, all the cavities in your design will be filled with powder. It’s a good idea to hollow your model to save costs and add some holes for the powder to escape.

Tip: having multiple holes makes it easier for the powder to escape, as we can carefully blow air through you model.

SLS design rule: Minimum detail size

Minimum detail size

1 MM

Binder jetted metals are highly accurate, up to 1 mm is enough to create clearly visible details.

SLS design rule: Minimum feature size

Minimum feature size

3 MM (OR 1 MM FOR SMALLER OBJECTS, OR IF CONNECTED ON BOTH SIDES)

The minimum feature size for printing with Metals is 3 mm. If your model is smaller or your feature is a thin wire connected on both sides, you can go slightly thinner to 1 mm, otherwise we recommend at least 3 mm thickness.

SLS design rule: No supports needed

No supports needed

Metals printed by binding together powdered material using a binding agent. The powder acts as support material while building up your print, therefore no support structure is needed, providing you with maximum form freedom.

SLS design rule: Wall thickness

Wall thickness

3 MM (OR 2 MM IF SUPPORTED)

The model's wall must be thick enough to support the model. We recommend working with a minimum wall thickness of 2 mm when the wall is connected to other walls on two or more sides, and 3 mm if it’s only connected one side.

Metals are printed using Selective Laser Melting technology

Selective Laser Melting creates objects from thin layers of powdered material by selectively melting it using a high power laser. The process takes place in a low oxygen environment in order to reduce thermal stresses and to prevent warping.

Industrial metals are best used for high-tech, low-volume use cases from prototyping to creating end-use parts. Metal 3D prints are comparable to traditionally manufactured parts in terms of chemical composition, mechanical properties (static and fatigue) as well as microstructure.

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