Today, the materials of metal 3D printers are mostly metal powder. Regardless of whether it is directly used as a raw material for 3D printing or is doped in a wire, metal material can become an essential component of a 3D printer for manufacturing metal parts. This means that the availability of a metal 3D printing material depends almost on the ease with which the metal powder can be melted.
This time I will analyze the three most suitable materials for metal 3D printers and their advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless steel is characterized by high mechanical strength and strong corrosion resistance. From the new industrial manufacturing to the application of 3D printing technology, this metal material is widely used in the production of various industries. The materials for 3D printed stainless steel mainly include 316L, which is exceptionally resistant to corrosion, and 17-4 PH stainless steel, which can be heat treated.
Titanium is a sturdy, lightweight metal that is resistant to heat and chemicals. In general, titanium is extremely challenging to process, making it an ideal material for metal 3D printers. The most common 3D printed titanium is Titanium 64 (Ti-6Al-4V), which can be used for parts with very high strength/weight ratios, such as military, aerospace applications.
Metal 3D printers mainly produce parts from ordinary metals, but they can also make parts from such alloys as Inconel 625, which are particularly suitable for extreme environments. Inconel 625 is a strong, hard, very corrosion-resistant and heat-resistant nickel-based superalloy, and is commonly used in the production of parts such as turbines and rockets. Other types of Inconel, such as Inconel 718, do not have the same heat resistance as Inconel 625. In terms of the difficulty of traditional processing and production methods, the processing of this material is costly. Instead, people can use nickel-chromium alloy powder to process individual parts on 3D printers, which opens the door to the application of nickel-chromium alloys on 3D printers.
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