3D steel printing: definition, technologies, results, the best services

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3D steel printing: definition

Steel 3D printing is an additive prototyping process used for the production of mechanical components based on 3D drawings.

Steel is one of the metals that can be used.

The process belongs to the powder bed fusion 3D printing technique and is similar to the SLS nylon sintering technology.

Unlike the latter, in DMLS, metal powders are used instead of plastic powder.

This allows you to produce functional prototypes with performance almost identical to a final component.

In the last decade, DMLS 3D printing has found widespread use in various industrial sectors, especially:

  • aerospace,
  • aeronautics,
  • racing,
  • automotive,
  • oil & gas.

There are many extraordinary benefits that increasingly favor the diffusion of 3D printing on steel (or other metals), including:

  • Faster times than conventional machining: times are compared to CNC milling machining.
  • Ability to produce unique and complex components: One of its main features is the ability to create parts with complex internal geometry, impossible to produce with conventional metalworking methods.
  • Lightness: with 3D printing it is possible to produce much lighter parts than milling.

Given these elements, it is necessary to always be clear that to produce with 3D printing you need to design according to the logic of additive manufacturing.

Given these elements, it is necessary to always be clear that to produce with 3D printing you need to design according to the logic of additive manufacturing.

The technologies

To date, the main metal 3D printing technologies are direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and selective metal laser melting (SLM).

DMLS works by melting a layer of metal powder using a laser beam, while SLM uses a laser to melt the entire piece of metal.

Both technologies produce functional parts, but differ depending on the pattern design, printing device size, and material characteristics.

The most used metals

Commonly used metals are aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium.

Aluminum is known for its lightness; in 3D printing this material is used to produce prototypes or low-volume components.

Stainless steel is a versatile material, used to produce complex parts with high strength and durability.

Titanium is known as one of the strongest, lightest and most durable materials on the market. Producing titanium parts with metal 3D printing allows you to create complex parts with high precision and strength.

Support structures

The support structure in metal 3D printing is printed in the same material as the piece and is always necessary for:

Aluminum 3D printing
  1. Support prototype construction.
  2. Anchor the model to the platform and prevent it from deforming.
  3. Dissipate heat, which is critical for a reliable 3D printing process.

Our case studies

Every time a customer asks us for advice on the feasibility of a 3D printed prototype, we have the opportunity to analyze whether it is worth using this process and, if so, advise the customer on whether and how to modify the file to optimize production.

FIXING TEMPLATE
HINGE - AUTOMATION COMPONENT

Our services

Our service in the production of 3D printing parts always includes visual feasibility analysis with an operator.

By choice we are wary of automatic online systems because we believe it is appropriate to evaluate the feasibility of the piece by always carefully analyzing the 3D file.

We can produce 3D printed parts in Aluminium, Steel, Titanium, Copper, Inconel on a working area of 250x250x325 mm.

Why choose us

Our distinctive element is the very in-depth knowledge and experience of over twenty years in the design and production of plastic and metal parts.

Having design skills allows us to always critically evaluate the feasibility of a product, and where necessary, report anomalies or changes to files to contribute to the success of production.

Our design team has a very in-depth knowledge of 3D printing technologies on plastic, metallic, as well as ceramic materials.

We also have an internal workshop with 5 axes machining centers: this allows us to always evaluate whether 3D printing is the most suitable process in terms of feasibility, manufacturability, times and costs.

Added to all this is that thanks to our internal workshop, we have the possibility of re-working the printed prototypes to achieve higher precision or make the surface of the pieces smoother.

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