3D printing with metal
Design freedom and flexibility thanks to 3D printing with metal
3D metal printing combines the positive characteristics of the flexible object design when printing three-dimensional with the characteristics of metal as a material. The objects are digitally created on the computer with the help of special programmes. Compact components as well as objects with filigree, light or complex structures can be designed. Precisely fitting metal workpieces can be produced three-dimensionally for almost every field of application and every branch of industry.
Thanks to shorter production times with the same stability and durability of the result, costs are considerably reduced compared to conventional manufacturing techniques. Our company FKM Laser Sintering has specialised in the powder-bed-based process, also known as SLM, Selective Laser Melting.
How 3D metal printing works
Three-dimensional metal printing is an additive, tool-free powder-bed procedure, i.e. objects are built up in layers. This means that complex internal structures can also be realised. The source material is a metal powder that is applied layer by layer to a lowerable construction platform. A laser is then used to fuse the powder precisely according to CAD specifications. Layer by layer, the previously digitally defined object is created three-dimensionally, which is then reworked. Modern technology makes it possible to print metal objects in very thin layers, increasing the strength and density of the object at the same time.
Advantages of three-dimensional metal printing
3D metal printing allows complex geometries such as internal cooling channels or grid structures, which is particularly advantageous in the field of lightweight construction. When it comes to obtaining components that are durable and resilient with reduced weight and that also consist of as few individual parts as possible, 3D printing is the optimal solution. Thanks to the high degree of design-freedom, innovative components are created that are used especially in aerospace technology (turbine blades, propellers and more). Spare parts for the automotive industry are also already being produced with the help of 3D metal printing. In contrast to conventional manufacturing processes, the customisation of three-dimensionally printed metal objects is simple and considerably more cost-effective. This is also and especially advantageous in the field of medical technology, for example to produce implants or prostheses specifically for each patient. Another positive aspect is the reduced number of non-moving components that have to be joined or welded together when produced in conventional manufacturing processes. This reduces the susceptibility to defects, especially at the seams, and thus also the maintenance requirements.
Materials used at FKM Laser Sintering
At FKM, a range of metal powders is permanently available for 3D printing of metals. These include aluminium, stainless steel, tool steel, Inconel 718, copper or titanium. Depending on the area of application of the finished component, the optimum materials are available for printing. Aluminium powder is recommended for producing components that have to withstand high mechanical and dynamic loads, as well as for printing prototypes. Powder made of Inconel 718, a nickel-based alloy, is ideal when needing heat-resistant components in the aerospace industry. In the field of dentistry, cobalt-chrome is the material of choice for three-dimensional printing of crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. At FKM Laser Sintering, you have the option to choose the optimal materials for each of your metal printing projects.
Why 3D metal printing at FKM Laser Sintering?
With FKM, you are choosing a company that has been an expert in the field of additive manufacturing for over 25 years. This makes us one of the pioneers for this technology, which is hardly older than our company. Our focus lies on various additive processes. In 3D metal printing, we focus on SLM, in line with our principle of being able to produce fully functional components cost-effectively, even in large quantities. Other advantages of choosing FKM Laser Sintering are our in-house testing laboratory and the possibility of using the new ASR finish process, which automatically removes support structures that cannot be reached manually.