Metal printing

How it works

A thin layer of metal powder is spread across the build plate. The powder is then selectively melted using a laser or electron beam where the parts are located. The build plate then moves slightly downward and the next layer of powder is spread. The process repeats itself until the part(s) are completely formed. The loose powder is then removed from the parts and recycled to be used in the next print.

Printable materials

  • Stainless Steel - 316L

    A corrosion resistant stainless steel alloy

  • Titanium - 6Al4V

    A high strength, lightweight alloy with excellent corrosion resistance

  • Inconel - 718

    A heat and corrosion resistant nickel alloy

  • Tool Steel - Vibenite 290

    An extremely hard tool steel. Used for high wear applications

  • CoCr Based Tungsten Carbide - Vibenite 480

    A cobalt-chromium based alloy with high tungsten carbide content. Used for high wear applications

Design considerations

  • Volume Reduction

    Minimizing the material volume of a part reduces the material cost and makes the part print faster. Strategies for volume reduction include creating hollow stuctures or, if strength is a concern, our specialized software can replace large solid volumes with a lattice structure. Remember that any internal hollow volumes require holes to allow loose powder to be removed.

  • Minimum Wall Thickness

    Walls down to 0.4mm can be printed.

  • Overhangs and supports

    Support material is required to prevent parts from warping due to the internal stress caused by the printing process. The first layer of the part is always fastened directly to the build plate with supports. From there, overhang angles of up to 45° (measured from vertical) can be printed support free. Very small overhangs greater than 45° and small non-vertical holes can also be printed support free. Supports are made of the same material as the part and are usually removed manually. This increases part cost and impacts surface finish. Supports in internal cavities and hard to reach areas are often impossible to remove.