3d metal printing process

3D Metal printing has had big impact on the manufacturing industry, used to build prototype or finished product of complex designs. As opposed to the traditional subtractive process, 3D metal printer requires very little raw material to create an object, so this options have considerably cut down the cost of the production. Moreover, 3D metal printing of late has become a more precise process.

So, 3D metal printing is the fastest and most reliable manufacturing options in the market.
But, how 3D metal printing works? The process follows different phases, depending on the specific technology used. In all cases, the main “matter” is metal powder.

This is an example for 3D printed Stainless Steel:

A thin layers of Stainless Steel powder is spread out in the printer.
A printing head deposits binder on the first layer in accordance with the mathematical informations of the 3d digital model.
A heating lamp dries the layer. A new layer of powder is spread out and a new layer of binder deposited. The layer is dried. The phases are repeated until reaching the complete shape.
The model is now very fragile & porous. It is put in a curing oven for 24 hours. To harden the model, is necessary infuse it with bronze and cure in oven at high temperature. Supports are then removed and the model is given its finish.

A more sophisticated process uses laser or electron beam instead of binder to join layers of metal powder. 3D printed Titanium, for example, is obtained using DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sinthering) or EBM (Electron Beam Melting) process . Products obtained using these process have mechanical properties comparable with products obtained with classical subtractive process, and have high grade of precision.
The range of products that can be manufactured keep growing, with more and more metal materials that can be used in the 3D printer.

3D metal printing is used in the medical industry for the creation of prosthetics, orthodontic and biomedical parts. In Aerospace industry some parts have been replaced with those obtained by 3d metal printing.

Today, there are many developers who are working on open source projects to create low cost 3D printers for metal. So, not only for industrial manufacturing, but also for the small scale manufacture.
An example of a small business is offered by 3D printing services dedicated to designers and artists. Shapeways, imaterialise, Ponoko, which also offer printing of 3d metals. Jewelry, miniatures, sculptures, can be easily created and offered for sale directly by opening a shop on the web portal of the service.
The future will be this? Definitely. We are living in a real industrial revolution. (Almost) all things will be built with this technology, reducing costs, energy use, and giving us the freedom to imagine forms not bound by the limits of the manufacturing process.

an example of 3d metal printed

Metal 3D-Printing to build lighter airplanes | EADS Innovation Works
Before and after: Two versions of a hinge for a jet-engine cover illustrate the capabilities of 3-D printing. The one in the background is made with conventional manufacturing methods. The printed shape in the foreground weighs half as much. (read more cunicode.com)

a model realize into 3d metal titanium

A complete replacement jaw made of 3D printed titanium (read more fellowgeek.com