How Metal 3D Printing works

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3D printing technology isn't new, it has been around for long time. But the latest technological achievements allows the users to push the limit and step into the time of metal 3D Printing. Although, 3D printing is an old technology but it has been only good for producing small scale stuff and was mainly used by hobbyists who produce one off-design experimental part. Let's see how metal 3D Printing Works

The metal 3D printing was a slow and expensive process but as the time passed and new technologies emerged, it has become cheap and easy to use.

How Metal 3D Printing works?

Well, there are two types of Metal 3D Printing, SLM (Selective Laser Melting) and DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). The working principle of both is quite similar. Both technologies use laser to melt the particles and bond them together is desired shapes but the major difference is how the particles bond with each other. In SLM, particles have a single melting point and SLM melts the particles completely in order to bond them together. While the mixtures used for DMLS have particles with varying/different melting points.

The manufacturing process by using both technologies is same. When I say both, I mean SLM and DMLS.

  1. The manufacturing/build chamber is filled with an inert gas (usually argon) and heated up to the required temperature which is suitable for the manufacturing process.
  2. A layer of the mixture is sprayed on the building platform which is then scanned by a laser in the pattern of the part that needs to be manufactured. The laser heats up the mixture up to the point where its particles bond with each other.
  3. After the first layer, the mixture is sprayed again and the whole process repeats until the part is fully complete.
  4. Once the chamber cools down, the part is taken out, support structures are removed and the part is cleaned for the use.

3d Metal Printing

Benefits of Metal 3D Printing:

The major benefit will be to the manufacturing industries who will be able to lower down the cost of inventories by not producing items in bulk quantities and storing them which will induce cost. Imagine producing the only part required within minutes rather.

Space exploration is another area which will greatly benefit from the advancements in the 3D printing technology. Astronauts can print the tools and parts that are required right on the spaceship or the destination where they are headed for exploration rather than sending parts or tools from earth. Carrying fewer items to the destination will save fuel costs.

Medical industry will have the option to print pocket friendly artificial body parts for amputees and help them live their live normally again.

All the benefits and the advancements that I have mentioned in this article are just tip of the iceberg. There are many more possibilities where 3D printing technology will prove to be useful in the near future.

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