September 25, 2018

Metal 3D Printing for the Masses

Aerospace manufacturers have been 3D printing interior aircraft parts for decades. With the advent of more affordable metal 3D printing techniques, companies are now beginning to 3D print metal materials for key exterior components.

Metal 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, uses lasers to fuse layers of metals or metal powders together. Companies continue to experiment with different materials, but the most popular metals and metal alloys used in metal 3D printing today include aluminum, stainless steel, copper, titanium, cobalt chrome and gold.

Metal 3D printing helps companies save time and money by cutting labor-intensive steps such as welding and casting. But until recently, the exorbitant cost of the technology itself has restricted metal 3D printing use to major players such as Boeing and GE.

Virtual Foundry was one of the first companies to reduce the barrier to entry into 3D metal printing by developing the Filamet™, a filament that transforms ordinary FDM 3D printers into metal 3D printers with the upmost safety.

 

 

Desktop Metal has also been leading the charge to make metal 3D printing more accessible. Its two metal 3D printing systems encompass the full product life cycle from prototyping to mass production. The Desktop Metal Studio System™ doesn’t have any lasers or powders, so it’s safe for office use.

Access to metal 3D printing continues to expand, but we won’t see metal 3D printers in every house or classroom just yet. The material and manufacturing costs still remain fairly steep, and not all existing designs will translate well.

Want to discover the next big breakthrough in metal 3D printing? Check out the Digital Maker & Fabrication degree program at UAT.

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