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Aluminum 3D Printing

By i3dadmin

3D Metal Printing (Additive Manufacturing) Gives The Ability To Create The Nearly Impossible: With Limitations

Marc Saunders, Director – Global Solutions Centres at Renishaw, recently discussed how Additive Manufacturing (AM), a specifically 3D metal printing, can give us the ability to create components from designs that would be nearly impossible to produce conventionally.

As he points out, it’s not as simple though as having “unfettered freedom” to do whatever we want.  There are capabilities and limitations.

Mr. Saunders does a great job pointing out some key design considerations for laser melted metal parts. Here’s a few he points out:

  • Feature Size
  • Surface Finish
  • Overhangs
  • Lateral holes
  • Minimizing supports
  • Residual stress and distortion

Give the article a read in order to get the details on these key considerations.  As Marc point out,

“AM gives us huge freedom to design parts differently, but we do need to be aware of some of the characteristics and limitations of the process, so that we create parts that can be built successfully.

The DfAM rules described above are not too onerous in practice, and actually encourage us to consider ways to make parts that are lighter, faster to build, and more cost-effective.

Modern design and build preparation software helps enormously to find an optimum design, orientation and support strategy so that we can produce consistent parts economically. “

 

By Erin Stone

3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero

3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero

Whats is the definition of “game changer” for metals manufacturing? Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), a 3D printing process that eliminates binding agents and uses 400-1000 W lasers to melt micro powders together, layer by layer until a 3D CAD model of a part is built, is one of the 3D manufacturing processes that are the the epitome of “game changer” according to Hod Lipson or Cornell University.   Read more

By Erin Stone

Just How Small Can DMLS Print?

Just How Small Can DMLS Print?

3D metal printing is in its element when it comes to production parts at micro scales. While machine development is focusing on creating DMLS paltforms that can print parts over 14″, Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), current DMLS capabilities are perfect for small, complex parts. 3D printing enables i3D MFG™ to deliver integral tiny, complex parts in Aluminum, Titanium, Maraging Steel, Stainless Steel and Inconel to Aerospace, Prosthetics, Medical Devise, UAV/UAS, Rocket/Spacecraft, Oil & Gas, Firearms, and Recreational Gear industries. For the part shown, a .015″ (15 thousandths of an inch) high latticed geometry was grown in Maraging (tool) steel. Machining the tiny part out of such a tough metal was expensive and problematic. Since DMLS build parts from mirco powder layers, laser melted together one micro layer at a time, 3D printing precise micro geometries is not much more difficult than printing large bulky parts – in fact, the larger the mass on a DMLS machine, the greater the risk of delamination and failed builds.

DMLS Micro Parts in Production Quantities

Currently, DMLS can accurately and repeatably manufacture parts as small as .030″ in Aluminum and Inconel and .015″ in Stainless Steel, Maraging Steel and Titanium. Additionally, complex assemblies of small to medium-sized  parts can be printed as a single part, eliminating weld lines, gaskets and fasteners. With micro parts, this can be a huge savings in precision assembly labor. Combine that  with a cost effective means of manufacturing small, complex parts in ferrous and non-ferrous metals ranging from Aluminum that does not register on the HRC scale to Maraging Steel that can be heat treated to 54 HRC, and the design innovations are astounding. Exotic metals also become affordable because DMLS does not produce the 30-70% scrap that traditional machining operations might. Contact i3D™ to learn more about our DMLS, Wire EDM, 3D Scanning and Design-for-3D serv

Material Process Applications

By Erin Stone

Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?

Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?

The short answer is YES. The longer version is, that DMLS powder performance is highly dependent on the expertise of the machine operator and 3D engineering design. i3D™ Manufacturing specializes in DMLS powder performance and applications. As the EOS Material Process Applications (MPA) partner, i3D™ is proactive in using open parameter sets on its machines to achieve varying densities, analyze layer performance, and optimize part quality. Densities can range to nearly 100% allowing for post process of DMLS metal parts in all of the same ways machined and cast parts are treated.

 

Not all DMLS Powders are Created Equal

Uniform particle size and shape is the ultimate goal.  Making sure that your DMLS provider knows the atomization process and resulting powder quality of their materials is a critical question. Read about AMA’s process. Ask the provider how they sieve their powders between builds. It makes a big difference in the quality of the part. Also ask about the material change-over procedures and powder storage conditions. Keep in mind, junk in, junk out. Below is a list of stock metal powders i3D™ uses. We also work with custom DMLS powder creation and applications such as Monel K 500 and Ti 6-2-4-2.

Aluminum (AlSi12) – better flow through the machine and very little residual Si. Great for thermal properties and weight considerations. Equivalent to 6061 billet. Fastest building and most cost effective material.

Titanium (Ti64) – i3D™ mastered DMLS titanium and recommends it for weight reduction and strength considerations. No waste 3D printing makes Titanium a highly cost effective DMLS material.

Inconel 718 – Widely used for aerospace applications. Highest reflectivity with excellent strength and corrosion resistance. Medium build speed with properties much like steel.

Stainless Steel (15-5, 17-4 & 304) – Strong and great corrosion resistance. The one draw back is that steel has a slow build time and is often a less cost effective option.

Maraging (tool) Steel – Hardens to 58 HRC after heat treat. Excellent choice for mold tool and production tool needs.

By Erin Stone

Heat Sinks are an Ideal DMLS Application

Heat Sinks are an Ideal DMLS Application

Conformal cooling channels manufactured out of 6061 Aluminum open up amazing possibilities for heat sink applications. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) metal 3D printing cost effectively allows aerospace, oil & gas, and automotive engineers not only to easily manufacture cooling channels, but to produce conformal micro channels that traditional manufacturing cannot achieve. Since DMLS powder is a 6061 Aluminum equivalent, the thermal conductive properties are also well matched. With held tolerance’s off the machine of +/- .004 and a process that builds parts with highly complex internal geometries, compact heat sinks that maximize surface area and air flow are possible. DMLS melts metal powder layers together to nearly 100% density, also making these innovative heat sinks manufacturable using 3D metal printing.

Study Shows DMLS Most Effective Way to Produce Heat Sinks

A recent Plunkett Associates study looked at a variety of methods to build more efficient heat sinks and it concluded that, “The five best performing heat sinks were built using DMLS.”  They further concluded that all five cases showed a consistent heat source temperature when compared to traditional extruded and stamped 2D processes. A different IOP Science study examined the impact of DMLS surface roughness on heat sink performance and concluded, ” Our results offer an evidence of the possible impact of DMLS on electronic cooling since a 50% and 20% enhancement (compared to milled samples) is observed for flat and finned heat sinks, respectively… These results open the way for a huge boost in the technology of electronic cooling by DMLS.”

i3D MFG™ has produced several successful heat sink projects for a variety of aerospace and UAV companies using our DMLS Aluminum. In addition to the conformal cooling channels and the surface roughness advantages, client can also produce multiple designs on one build for testing and then come back and do production runs on the bets performing design. i3D™ also 3D prints in Titanium, Stainless Steel, Maraging Steel, and Inconel.

By i3dadmin

DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING (DMLS) FOR CAVITIES AND CORES

You needed your Injection Mold Tooling when? Yesterday??

The Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process has been rapidly gaining recognition as perhaps one of the most powerful technologies available in the additive manufacturing world. The recent material parameter developments coupled with outstanding resolution and speed of fabrication are making DMLS cavity and core inserts a very successful tool that can be used to shorten lead times, reduce costs and push multiple projects through in the same amount of time that one project normally takes. i3D Manufacturing can print mold cavity and core inserts within days, giving end-use customers competitive advantages in real time-to-market, product development, and small batch production. Our Aluminum, Maraging Tool Steel and Stainless Steel mold tools can be post processed in all of the same ways as cast or machined parts, from polishing to welding to anodizing. 
 

Interchangeable Cavity and Core Insert Blocks

i3D™ owns North America’s first EOS M290 DMLS 3D Printing machine. As an official Material Process Applications (MPA) for EOS, i3D™ prides itself on its DMLS material and 3D print application innovations. Our interchangeable mold tool cavity and core universal base provides injection molders flexibility in switching out cavity and cores in small and medium batch runs at economical tooling and change-over costs.
 
With the latest, highest quality equipment i3D™  is able to achieve densities at nearly 100%, allowing for any finish requirements to the various 3D printed cavity and cores. Lattice and honeycomb designs specially tailored for optimal part cooling and heating add more value to the mold block design options. Injection molders can offer their clients tool design, manufacture, and part production in as little as 3 weeks. The process is all on-shore, protecting customer designs and avoiding costly tool change expense. Rapid Injection Tooling is often used as a bridge between prototyping and production but, not always. If you have low volume injection molding requirements, rapid tooling could be the answer for you. 
 
Aluminum (AlSi12)
AlSi12 is our most common DMLS Aluminum powder and is perfect for projects with good thermal and low weight considerations. It is an optimal metal for parts with thin walls and complex geometries
Maraging “Tool” Steel (MS1)
Our Maraging Steel powder has excellent strength and mechanical properties. MS1 is a pre-alloyed, ultra high strength powder most commonly used for tooling applications. Its chemical composition corresponds to U.S. 18% Ni, Maraging 300, European 1.2709 and German X3NiCoMoTi 18-9-5. After heat treatment, MS1 typically has a 50-53 HRC.
Stainless Steel (PH1)
PH1 is a medical grade, sterilisable, corrosion resistant steel. It is primarily used in Medical, Firearms, Energy and Automotive applications. After heat treatment, PH1 hardens to 40-45 HRC. Our Stainless steel equivalents include 15-5, 17-4 and 316. Parts made from EOS Stainless Steel PH1 can be machined, spark eroded, welded, micro shot peened, polished and coated if required.
 

      

i3DMFG 3D Printing For Aerospace

By Erin Stone

DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts

DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts

Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) 3D printing was featured first as an excellent rapid prototyping tool and then as a new manufacturing advancement in two 3D Printing Industry News items over the past two days. So which is it, prototyping or production parts? The fantastic news for designers, engineers, and production managers is that DMLS has been a phenomenal rapid prototyping tool for functional metal parts for years and now it is also a proven metal manufacturing method for complex parts ranging from turbines to heat exchangers.

DMLS Rapid Prototyping Saves Valuable Weeks of Development Time

As Scott Grunewald points out in his article, “This (DMLS) rapid prototyping allows newly developed components to be test installed, articulated and checked for clearance and movement tolerances. The final models can then be used to create the drawings and manufacturing guides that define construction materials, inspection requirements and post processing features. This portion of the process is so fast that the final part is just being completed by the time the approved drawing is released.” Innovations can be tested in working models, using titanium, inconel, tool steel, stainless steel or aluminum and then tweaked and retested in a matter of days. DMLS parts near 100% density, making them comparable or denser than machined or cast parts. 3D metal printing, like other 3D printing methods allows multiple 3D models to be built at the same time without contending with expensive CNC programming time. Aerospace giants like GE and Lockheed Martin have invested in hundreds of DMLS machine to take advantage of this competitive advantage.

DMLS is Now a Proven Manufacturing Method for Production Parts

While GE and other aerospace players have used 3D prototyping for years, they have also increasingly starting using DMLS for production runs. Sigma Components’s news  about its funding and partnership with Rolls Royce to utilize DMLS to manufacture complex functional parts for use in end products highlights the untapped potential 3D manufacturing brings to production. DMLS has progressed in its speed and reliability to the point of becoming a viable process for Sigma to “…redesign and develop lightweight pipe end fittings that use 3D printing and additive manufacturing to reduce the weight of traditionally manufactured components and minimise part and manufacturing costs.” However, to achieve its full potential, designers and engineers must shift their perspective to Design-for-3D, eliminating traditional manufacturing design constraints.

i3D MFG™ is focused on helping its customers realize these manufacturing advantages. With a full team of 3D engineers, as well as its designation as the EOS Material Process Application partner, we not only offer 3D manufacturing, but new DMLS powder development, parameter development, and of course, rapid prototyping.

i3DMFG Metals For Additive Manufacturing

By i3dadmin

Oregon Welcomes i3D MFG™ 3D Metal Printing

Oregon Welcomes i3D MFG™ 3D Metal Printing

Why would a new small business opening in The Dalles, Oregon be newsworthy to Aerospace Manufacturing and Design Magazine? Aerospace is big in the Pacific Northwest and the UAV/UAS giant Insitu is located 20 minutes from i3D™ Manufacturing’s Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) factory. 3D metal printing has emerged as a critical component in aerospace, rocket, and UAV design and manufacturing, but until 2014, there were no Northwest DMLS service providers. Insitu, Boeing, and the like were forced to use services thousands of miles  away, reducing some of the lead time and cost advantages 3D printing is known for. Oregon is defined by innovation and i3D™’s 3D printing technology is at the forefront of advanced and additive manufacturing. DMLS moves 3D printing from the prototyping realm into true production parts manufacturing. DMLS parts are used in final assemblies by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, GE, etc. In addition to aerospace, i3D™ also provides parts for medical and dental device applications, firearms accessory manufacturers, the energy and recreational gear industries, and automotive parts users.

The Future of Manufacturing

In 2013, manufacturing accounted for 28% of Oregon’s economy, over $65 billion in output. So, its not surprising that the Portland Tribune and Portland Business Journal also featured i3D™ in their Summer 2014 publications. As opposed to traditional, or subtractive manufacturing where parts are carved out of billet, the additive manufacturing process starts with 20-40 micron layers of powdered metal and uses a laser to melt thousands of micro layers together, one layer at a time based on a 3D CAD model – adding material only where the model dictates.  The no-waste process enables parts to be built that cannot be traditionally manufactured, including complex geometries, lattice and honeycomb structures, conformal channels, and single part builds of multi-part assemblies. i3D™ prints stock metals including Titanium, Aluminum, Inconel, 15-5 and 17-4 Stainless Steel, and Maraging Tool Steel as well as custom powders created for specific customer applications. The Dalles has a long history of metal manufacturing and gave i3D™ a warm welcome to its community and the Columbia River Gorge region. Both The Dalles Chronicle and Gorge Technology Alliance celebrated i3D™’s headquarters locating in Oregon. 

DMLS Stands Out as 2015 Focal 3D Printing Technology
3D Printing Takes the Cost of Complexity to Zero
Just How Small Can DMLS Print?
Material Process Applications
Is DMLS Metal Powder the Real Thing?
Heat Sinks are an Ideal DMLS Application
DIRECT METAL LASER SINTERING (DMLS) FOR CAVITIES AND CORES
i3DMFG 3D Printing For Aerospace
DMLS Matures from Rapid Prototyping to Production Parts
i3DMFG Metals For Additive Manufacturing
Oregon Welcomes i3D MFG™ 3D Metal Printing